In the Heights did not have the familiar subject matter that Hamilton has, which suggests that Hamilton might be an even bigger Broadway hit. But, while Miranda’s scores have succeeded, why have scores of other genres not? Techno, rap, punk, hip-hop or even country, among other genres, are not the traditional Broadway style and have not faired well commercially. Since Hair, rock and pop rock have grown in popularity with Broadway audiences. Rock, along with jazz and classic show tunes, have become the Broadway norm, but these other genres have not as much.
Country has had a difficult time finding success on the Broadway stage. Ring of Fire, a jukebox musical featuring the music of Johnny Cash, completely flopped, closing after only 57 performances in 2006, and Hands on a Hardbody, a country-tinged musical based on the documentary of the same name, closed after only 28 performances in 2013.
Holler if Ya Hear Me, the most recent rap musical, which featured the lyrics and poetry of rapper Tupac Shakur, closed after 38 performances last summer. The demographics of Broadway audiences probably play a role in this seeming lack of success for shows with different musical genres. The average age of the Broadway theatergoer during the 2013-2014 season was 44, with over 28 percent of theatergoers falling into the age bracket 50-64. These genres are, typically, more popular with young people, who often cannot afford the typical price of a Broadway ticket, and generally opt for cheaper options, such as student rush.
If these other genres want to succeed on Broadway, they need to find a way to appeal to these age demographic — such as a familiar story — to increase ticket sales among young people by lowering the cost. Otherwise, Hamilton is sure to fall into the list of shows that flopped on Broadway.