Birmingham Broadway Series

The Birmingham Broadway Series (BBS) was a non-profit group that organized local performances of national touring productions of Broadway plays and musicals as well as educational outreach programs for area school students. The series was founded in 1990 by Martha Sykes with seed money from AmSouth Bank, Alabama Power, South Central Bell, AT&T and Sonat.
The series sold 2,000 subscriber packages for the first season but was hurt by low individual ticket sales, leading its partner broker to withdraw. The group organized its second season independently, but fell deeper into debt. It then partnered with a new booking company, switching to less costly mid-level productions while it worked to cultivate its subscriber base.
In 1995 the group surveyed the community at large and found that the market was most interested in bigger productions. It partnered with SFX Entertainment to bring major shows like Miss Saigon, Cats and Phantom of the Opera to Birmingham, often early in their touring schedules. The gambit worked and Birmingham Broadway Series counted, at its peak, over 7,500 annual subscribers and nearly $7 million in gross receipts.
SFX, which became Live Nation, founded a rival series in 2006 under the umbrella of the national “Broadway Across America” production company. When Broadway Across America-Birmingham was subsequently acquired by Key Brand Entertainment, all cooperation with BBS was dissolved. Beginning in late 2007 the two were competing for Birmingham’s limited Broadway audience. The Birmingham Broadway series canceled its Spring 2008 performances of The Drowsy Chaperone and Ring of Fire and ultimately folded in April 2008.

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