Economic crisis, pandemic, content oversupply due to stream, screens and more screens. Despite all this, the theater survives, the one in the flesh, that of the ephemeral present and shared with strangers. Or, better yet, is more alive than ever. At least that shows a record summer box office in Buenos Aires and is doing very well in Mar del Plata.
According to the producer Carlos Rottemberg, perhaps the most experienced producer in the sector, the Buenos Aires theater scene this summer 2023 looks like “the best in the history of the city of Buenos Aires”.
From the hits of via Corrientes to the off-circuit halls, the program is full of quality shows which, in many cases, fortunately, can exhibit the coveted little sign of “There are no more locations“.
In Buenos Aires, one of them is Married with children, at the Gran Rex, one of the previews that the public has been waiting for since before the pandemic, loaded on the great success that television has given it for 17 years. Guillermo Francella, Florencia Peña, Luisana Lopilato, Marcelo De Bellis, Darío Lopilato and Jorgelina Aruzzi reign meters from the Obelisk with the record (another) of eleven weekly functions.
On the podium they are followed by two other works that were already doing very well since their premiere last year, such as the comedy immaturewith Adrián Suar and Diego Peretti, in Nacional Sancor Seguros, and the wonderful piafat the revamped Liceo, with Elena Roger shining alongside her cast in the recreation of Edith Piaf.
This overview of the commercial circuit, according to data from the AADET (Argentine Association of Theater Entrepreneurs), takes into account collection data, audience attendance, average ticket and cinema occupancy. For this reason, sometimes the opera that earns the most (for the price of the tickets) is not always the one that necessarily attracts the most spectators, even if they are very close.
several decades ago, the three summer months were a desert, in theatrical terms, for Buenos Aires. Over the years, according to Rottemberg, the situation has reversed, in part because large refrigerated theatres, such as the Gran Rex, the Opera, the Broadway or the Metropolitan, They had dedicated themselves to the cinema and now they open the doors to the theatre.
Even the times of the holidays have shortened and today those who stay in Buenos Aires, they look for shows like during the rest of the year. And, to this, spectators who arrive as tourists in the city, from other areas of the country or from other countries, are added, increasing the flow of spectators.
“First, in Buenos Aires, a successful summer season meant selling between 180,000 and 200,000 tickets“, explains the entrepreneur. “This year, according to the data recorded up to January 29, still speaking of the commercial circuit, They have already exceeded 200 thousand and February is still ahead“.
It works differently like Other setbacks of Mastropiero de The luthiers (in what led to the farewell of the iconic group), Lezama Parkthe work in which they are protagonists Louis Brandoni AND Edward Whitedirected by Juan José Campanella, with performances at the reopened Politeama, a few blocks from the Obelisk.
In this Buenos Aires summer of theatrical effervescence they also celebrate comedy Tom, Dick and Harrywhich marked the directorial debut of Nicholas Cabre and which has duplicated functions; AND Two crazy auctions, with Soledad Silveyra and Verónica Llinás; Freud’s last sessionwith Luis Machín and Javier Lorenzo, e naked, with renewed cast
Different proposals like Artwith Pablo Echarri, Fernán Mirás and Mike AmigorenaMellera Lauriente, I am my wife, My mother, my girlfriend and I, The Grönholm method, The anatomy lesson, Yes but no, single, Nanutria, the gocho de oro, AND more comedyMoreover, They too are having a good season.
The trend of this year’s box office explosion is measured by comparing the current numbers with those of the summer of 2020, before the pandemic which, in the same period, reached 42,000 tickets.
Precisely, Covid has paralyzed theatrical activity for more than a year and a half, as it had never happened before, raising an absolutely bleak panorama for both artists and producers and all the people associated with the activity, even for the public who have missed out on the fascinating theatrical rite.
Having overcome that trauma (in economic terms there are still consequences), the theaters have welcomed back the public, who, perhaps as a sort of anti-depressant effect, he turned to shows more than ever of the third city with the largest number of theaters in the world, such as Buenos Aires. That is why, for the most part, comedies prevail.
The happy scene
On the other hand, regarding Mar del Plata, the figures recorded by AADET were also comforting and auspicious. The halls of La Feliz have summoned an audience equal to that of the beaches of the seaside resort, maintaining the tradition which, for decades, has been part of the ritual of those who spend the summer by the sea.
Almost all the operas that started the year in the theaters of Mar del Plata, even before tackling the second fortnight, had to add functions: they did Divorce, with Luciano CastroPablo Rago, Natalie Pérez and Carla Conte, in Mar del Plata; The Jennyin the Mar del Plata debut of Wali Iturriaga, at the Neptuno; lost mind, in the Atlas; AND full word (with Gabriel Rolon)in Bristol.
“In Mar del Plata it can be said, already at this point, that it’s a recovered season“, says Rottemberg. “The numbers of this first month of 2023 are comparable to those of January 2020. Jennyby comedian Wali Iturriaga, was the big surprise for the number of spectators it attracts, while the one who collects the most is Divorce“.
According to the numbers, in a general panorama, the musical dracula AND lost mind they were neck and neck. AND type, I have lived your experienceby José María Muscari, e Scrambledwith I’m sparseThey follow closely.
This season’s programming has been very varied and this also allows the competition to be more balanced as there are options for all audiences. However, in Rottenberg’s analysis, this is likely to be the case Mar del Plata’s final season numbers are more similar to 2019, which was a bit weakerbut there is an explanation.
“Last December, when the season started, there was a week lost in that month due to the World Cup and the end-of-year celebrations coinciding with the weekends, which meant that there were no shows right at the days with the greatest number of people,” emphasizes the producer.
Added to this what happens in the last week of February, which coincides with the carnivalwhere generally there are fewer spectators and, with the start of the lessons, too.
While the casts enjoy full halls, in February the Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires and the Teatro Nacional Cervantes will start offering shows, both official and also a series of proposals from the independent circuit which contribute so much to the identity and quality of the activity in the city.
As a curious and even symbolic fact to inaugurate this beautiful season, on January 7 after the second performance of Divorcein Mar del Plata, the president of the AFA, Chiqui Tapia, took the stage and shared with the cast and audience the World Cup, recently won by the Argentina national team in Qatar. A joy almost transformed into an auspicious spell.
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.