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“Behind the Scenes:” An Empirical Investigation of Broadway Show Success Factors

By Alexander Sanfilippo   

This paper analyzes the impact of financial and objective factors on Broadway show success. The analysis differs from previous literature through its exclusive focus on Broadway productions that open between June and February, so defined as the “Pre-Season,” as well as its attempts to establish causality through an instrumental variable regression. Two other methods of analysis are also used in accordance with past research: an ordinary least squares regression and relative risks hazard model. The results demonstrate the significant impact of first week attendance on long-term show success and reiterate the essential function of the Tony Awards in Broadway survival. This paper also introduces the positive impact of ticket pricing on show survival. Discussion on the implications surrounding the difficulty of obtaining show-specific budget data concludes the paper, arguing that this should be an area of future focus and collaboration between researchers and Broadway producers.

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Advisors: Professor James Roberts, Professor Brad Rogers, Professor Kent Kimbrough| JEL Codes: C4, C41, C26

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