The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman is heading to Broadway at the end of 2020 and producers sell tickets without knowing which theatre the show will perform


The Music Man is heading back to Broadway for its third revival and is set to open at the end of 2020 starring some big Broadway stars, including Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. This will be the show’s fourth time on Broadway and the show is already selling tickets despite not yet having a designated Broadway theatre. This is both a unique and bizarre situation that has not been seen on Broadway in a very long time. Telecharge.com is selling its tickets to The Music Man, but the official website (and the phone representatives) say that the show will be playing at "a Shubert owned Theatre" but fail to clarify where it will actually appear.

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The Music Man with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster
The Music Man with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster

The Music Man Delivers Stunning Cast, Catchy Music and Incredible Set

The Music Man stars Hugh Jackman as Harold Hill and Sutton Foster as Marian Paroo. Hugh Jackman is an Emmy, Tony, and Grammy winner well known for his stage career and his prolific film career, including his box-office hit Les Miserables. His upcoming role pays tribute to his very first stage performance in 1983 as ‘Salesman Number 2’ in a school production of The Music Man. His current co-star on Broadway is Sutton Foster and she is a two-time Tony Award winner, known for her exceptional leading roles in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. The Music Man production is filled with an all-star cast who are directed by four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks. The remainder of the cast and creative are a Broadway powerhouse full of Tony accolades and Broadway box office success. The Music Man begins previews on September 9, 2020 and is set to open in the following month on October 15, 2020. Tickets for The Music Man with Hugh Jackman went on sale on September 14, 2019, a full year before the show opens and are now available at: Music Man Tickets

The Five Iterations of The Music Man Over The Years

The Music Man was previously on Broadway in 1957, 1980, and 2000. The story was also developed for the silver screen in 1962 and was a made-for-TV movie in 2003 that was shown on ABC. The Music Man initially debuted on Broadway in December 1957 and quickly became a critical hit, leading to five Tony Awards including the award for Best Musical. The show finally closed in 1961 after 1,375 performances and was quickly followed by a film adaptation in 1962. The film was critically acclaimed and was nominated for six Oscars, winning the award for Best Musical Score. The show’s first stage revival in 1980 failed to find the same success as its Broadway predecessor, lasting for just 21 performances over a three-week run that starred Dick Van Dyke. The show returned to Broadway again in April 2000, this time receiving eight Tony nominations including Best Revival of a Musical. The success of the second revival, which ran for almost 700 performances, led to a television film adaptation in 2003 which starred Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth and aired with mixed reviews. Chenoweth’s performance in this made-for-tv version is cited as one of the reasons that she got her break as the lead in Wicked.

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Determining The Broadway Theatre For The Music Man

The Shubert Organization’s Telecharge.com is selling tickets to The Music Man, although they have not yet released the information regarding what Broadway theatre the musical will actually be shown in. This lack of a notification of keeping theatre-goers in the dark makes Broadway fans question the ethical business practices of the Shubert’s. One ticket customer asked “Why would they try to get me to spend hundreds of dollars on a ticket, when I don’t even know where the show will be?” During this time of theatre uncertainty, Broadway fans who would normally buy their tickets at the theatre box office to avoid the booking fees and to get the best seats, cannot do so as there is nowhere to go.

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Comparing the Theatre Fundamentals to Predict the Theatre for This Show

Telecharge.com (the official ticket seller for The Music Man) has not released any specific information about which theatre the musical will go into yet, but there are some clues they have made public. Right now, The Shubert Organizaion and Telecharge sells tickets without knowing a theatre for show to perform. At the top of the home page of The Music Man website, on the ticket and information page, it states the show will be at “a Shubert Theatre”. Other Broadway sources have indicated that the theatre owner is The Shubert Organization, so it is anticipated that they will be the eventual landlord. The Telecharge.com Music Man “Theatre Chart” tab shows a fictitious theatre map with a large orchestra section and a mezzanine section that has three different seating segments. A rough estimate of the seat map, that includes both sections of this fictional theatre, shows that Telecharge is offering about 1200 seats per show to potential theatre-goers.

The Shubert Organization may add more sections to the map in the future, after they officially announce a theatre. As of now there is no balcony section or “rear” mezzanine section indicated on this theatre seating map. Telecharge also makes the statement to customers: “Tickets will not be sent out until a theatre is assigned. While we do not anticipate any changes, if necessary you will be contacted by Customer Service.” If the Shuberts do not pick a theatre soon they may get many angry customer service calls, resulting from the lack of information and possible ticket bait and switch.

In an attempt to determine the eventual theatre, it is necessary to compare all 17 Shubert-owned Broadway theatres to the information that has been provided for the show so far. Twelve of the theatres have far fewer seats than what is shown on the Telecharge seating chart, so they are out of contention to host The Music Man. These theatres include: the Broadhurst Theatre, the Cort Theatre, and the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre, which are much smaller than what is needed for this particular show. Both the Broadway Theatre and the Majestic Theatre are way too big to host a production like this and both of them already have successful shows playing in them already.

The Winter Garden Theatre has a seating layout that is very similar to the Music Man’s fictitious seating map, but has four sections in the mezzanine as opposed to the three mezzanine sections indicated on the fictitious seating map. This theatre is also currently playing Beetlejuice The Musical, which is doing very well. The Shubert Theatre has a similar amount of seats to the fictitious seating map and it follows a very similar layout. The theatre’s orchestra section has exactly the same amount of rows as the fictitious seating map and the only substantial difference is that the Shubert theatre has a balcony section, while the fictitious seating map does not have one. This theatre is also currently hosting To Kill a Mockingbird which has been a top selling Broadway show since it opened. The Imperial Theatre also fits the bill quite well, as it has plenty of seats for the show and does not have any upcoming shows planned at the same time that The Music Man is set to open. The only problem is that the Imperial Theatre’s mezzanine is nothing like the fictitious seating map’s mezzanine section, as it has a “rear” section and is broken up into nine total segments.

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The Most Likely Broadway Theatres For The Music Man

There are three different theatres that closely match the The Music Man’s theatre requirements. These theaters are: the Winter Garden Theatre, the Shubert Theatre and the Imperial Theatre. Each of these theatres roughly match the seating selection chart for the show and they hit the mark for number of seats in the house. None of them are a perfect match-up, as each of them miss the mark on one or more factors. Each of these theatre choices have the scenarios outlined below:

Scenario 1: Winter Garden Theatre

The Broadway theatre that fits the bill the closest for The Music Man is the Winter Garden Theatre. This theatre would make the most sense for the show to go into, because it has more than enough seats in the theatre. The theatre currently has 1533 seats and it is more than equipped to handle the production. This theatre has hosted similar shows before with past Broadway show royalty including, Mamma Mia! and Cats. This theatre only has an orchestra and a mezzanine, just like the Telecharge fictitious seating chart. However, the Winter Garden has four segments in the mezzanine, unlike the three mezzanine segments shown on the Telecharge seating map. Choosing this theatre may induce a headache for Telecharge if it is selected. This is because the theatre would have to rearrange the seating layout or reassign ticket buyers to new seats, and both processes are costly and cumbersome. Selecting this theatre would also mean that the Shubert Organization would effectively have to announce that Beetlejuice is moving theatres and the Shuberts would have to find another theatre for that show. If Beetlejuice moves theatres, the producer, Scott Rudin, would be asked to pay for ticket sales losses of the show while the show is moving and any ongoing losses. Or worse still, by announcing that The Music Man is going into The Winter Garden Theatre, Beetlejuice will be forced to close.

Scenario 2: Shubert Theatre

The Shubert Theatre has a seating map that is closest to the fictitious seating map from Telecharge. This theatre has the same amount of seats in the orchestra, but has a balcony unlike the proposed ticket map. If the Shuberts were to pick this theatre, they would have the least amount of customer service calls to make. This is because all they would have to do is offer additional balcony seating tickets to the map rather than rearranging the theatre’s seats or asking current customers to move seats. The only problem with selecting this theatre is that right now the show To Kill a Mockingbird is playing here and that is a top selling Broadway show. It has ticket sales that typically rank within the top three best selling shows week over week. If The Music Man were to come here, Mockingbird would either have to move or close. Scott Rudin, who is producing Music Man, would have to pay Mockingbird for any lost ticket sales during the move. This could be a very costly deal with losses in the eight figure range.

Scenario 3: Imperial Theatre

The Imperial Theatre, much like the Shubert theatre, has the same number of rows in the orchestra that the proposed Telecharge seat map has. The only major difference is the number of seats in the mezzanine section of the theatre. There are nine different sections in the Imperial Theatre’s mezzanine which includes a “rear” mezzanine section, while The Music Man seating chart only shows three sections in it. Currently the Broadway show Ain't too Proud is playing at this theatre and this is both a popular show and is open-ended. For the Shuberts to select this theatre they would have to rearrange the mezzanine or contact the thousands of customers who have already purchased their tickets and ask them to switch their seats, or a mix of the two.