“An Act of God” Wraps Up Its Run

Jim Parsons Plays Final Performance on August 2, 2015

an act of godOn May 7, 2015, An Act of God began previews at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54 theatre, although the show is not a Roundabout production. An Act of God is written by David Javerbaum, directed by Joe Mantello, and stars Jim Parsons in the role of God. The producers include Jeffrey Finn and the Shubert Organization. The official opening night then took place on May 28, 2015. The show opened just too late to be considered for Tony Awards nominations this past year, although it will be eligible for the following year’s awards. However, the Tony committee generally has a fairly short term memory, with even shows that ran in the fall season given less notice than those from the spring season. Therefore, with this show opening and closing all within the summer of 2015, it may be difficult for the Tony committee to remember it as a competitive show for the nominations in June of 2016. In any case, An Act of God was a hit, at least from a financial perspective. On July 15, 2015, it was announced that the show had recouped its initial capitalization of $2.9 million, and is now running in profits. In addition, the show received fairly positive reviews after its opening on May 28th. Therefore, from almost all perspectives, the show is a critical and commercial hit.

Excellent Box Office from Day Oneact-of-god-broadway-jim-parsons

In the first partial week of performances for An Act of God, the show brought in 93.01% of its gross potential. Those numbers dipped slightly throughout the following weeks of preview performances, but in the weeks following the show’s opening, the numbers were back up in the range of 85 to 90% of the show’s gross potential. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending July 26, 2015, the show finally broke through the 100% mark of its gross potential, and in addition it brought in over $1 million at the box office for the first time. That week, the weekly gross was $1,011,538, which represents 100.37% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $349.00, the average paid admission was $130.47, also the highest average ticket sale in any week yet. In addition, the average audience capacity reached a peak of 96.3% average across the eight performances. With just one week left of box office figures to report, chances are these numbers will continue to creep upwards as ticket buyers realize this is their last chance to see Jim Parsons live on Broadway in the estimable role of God.

Jim Parsons: A Big Box Office Name on Broadway

If An Act of God demonstrated anything about the type of show that sells well on Broadway, it can be gleaned that Jim Parsons is a big box office name. The other factors involved in the production leave nothing particularly remarkable to conclude, such as the small cast led principally by one actor (often a difficult sell on Broadway), the playwright being a well regarded name within TV circles but one whose name doesn’t mean much to most Broadway ticket buyers, and a show that opened after it would be eligible for Tony Awards consideration. Jim Parsons also had a great chance to shine in his last lead performance at Studio 54, that time in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Harvey. His only other performance on Broadway to date was a supporting role in The Normal Heart, where the lead role was played by Joe Mantello, who is also the director of An Act of God. When Parsons played that same role in the HBO film version of The Normal Heart, he was nominated for an Emmy Award. All in all, Parsons has won the hearts of America, and we are sure to see him again on Broadway as soon as he has a break in his busy television and film schedule.

“Fish in the Dark” Concludes Its Run on Broadway

A Mega Box Office Hit That Took Broadway by Storm

fish-in-the-dark-logo-no-tix_300On August 1, 2015, Fish in the Dark will play its final performance on Broadway. The show began previews on February 2, 2015 at the Cort Theatre, and officially opened on March 5, 2015. Written by and originally starring Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm, creator of Seinfeld), the show was a major box office draw from the first day. Before the show even began its first preview, it had brought in over $11 million at the box office. This was by far the highest advance of any show this spring season on Broadway. By the opening on March 5th, the advance was reported to be $13 million. On May 20, 2015, it was announced that the show had recouped its initial investment which was never revealed to the press, but was expected to be somewhere between $3 million and $4 million. The reason it took so long for the show to recoup despite such an extraordinary advance is due to the high cost of running the show, which in no small part is due to the high salary given to Larry David himself. When Jason Alexander took over for Larry David on June 9, 2015, the box office receipts dropped $400,000 for the week, and stayed fairly constant until the end of the run. However, Jason Alexander also earned a significantly lower salary, allowing the show to stay afloat despite this drop in ticket sales.

Mediocre Reviews and Poor Awards Recognitionjason alexander larry david

Despite this astounding box office success, the show received mediocre reviews upon its opening. The New York Times found the show to be an excuse to glorify the fame of Larry David, but that the comedy was not his best. Other critics were as impressed as ticket buyers, including David Cote from Time Out New York, David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter, and Matt Windman from AM New York. However, the overall critical response did nothing to dissuade ticket buyers, many of whom had already made their ticket purchases before the reviews came out. Furthermore, Fish in the Dark received no Tony Award nominations, further confirming that the show was not the best Broadway has seen by any stretch of the imagination. However, the producers of the Tony Awards ceremony did give a nod to Larry David’s impact of the Broadway industry this season, as he was given the chance to present the final award of the evening, that for Best Musical to Fun Home.

Jason Alexander Didn’t Hold a Candle to Larry David

When Alexander took over for David on June 9, 2015, the weekly box office gross dropped by $403,563. Whereas David’s final week brought in a weekly gross of $1,246,196, representing 119.73% of the show’s gross potential, Jason Alexander’s first week had a weekly gross of $842,633, which represented 80.97% of the gross potential. With very minor fluctuations, the gross through Alexander’s run has stayed constant, that is until the last reported week of box office figures: the week ending July 26, 2015. That week, the show’s weekly gross went down by $185,258 to a figure of $716,936, which represented only 68.89% of the show’s gross potential. This is by far the lowest weekly gross to date. However, chances are the sales will pick up in the final week ending August 1, 2015.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/26/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

A Downturn from Last Week’s Excellent Grosses

In the week ending July 26, 2015, the overall Broadway industry took a dip of $1,183,075 from the week before. Of the 28 shows presently running, only 11 saw an increase in ticket sales, whereas 17 saw a decrease in ticket sales. Furthermore, the increases were much smaller than the decreases. The biggest increase was seen by Kinky Boots, which brought in $41,850 from the week before. In contrast, the biggest decrease was seen by Hedwig and the Angry Inch which went down by $275,979 from the week before. Furthermore, The Lion King saw a decrease of $211,515, Fish in the Dark saw a decrease of $185,258, The King and I saw a decrease of $183,813, Wicked saw a decrease of $165,183, and The Book of Mormon saw a decrease of $149,069. Still, most of these large downturns were seen by the highest grossing shows. For instance, though The Lion King decreased by $211,515, it still brought in a weekly gross of $2,408,501 and was the highest grossing show of the week. Therefore, it is not so much that this past week was a poor one on Broadway, but rather than the week prior was excellent in terms of ticket sales.

“Hamilton” Continues to Rake It In

This past week was Hamilton’s second week running on Broadway, and it is still in previews. This week, it earned $14,075 more than the week before, bringing in an excellent weekly gross of $1,302,511. That represents an astounding 111.51% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of the comparably low amount of $275.00, the average paid admission was $140.21. This demonstrates that no discounting is taking place for this hot new musical with book, music, and lyrics by, and also starring, Lin Manuel-Miranda, the creator of In the Heights. Hamilton has been very buzzy since its Off-Broadway run at the Public Theater, which is also the origin theatre of Fun Home which took home the Tony Award for Best Musical this past season. At this rate, if the reviews are as excellent as the buzz, Hamilton should be a shoe-in for the Tony Award for Best Musical next year, though that is almost an entire year away. Its success may even be enough to dissuade producers who are developing new musicals to rush their shows to Broadway, and they might be inclined to wait until the following season when there is a less obvious contender for this prestigious award. This past week, Hamilton was filled up to 100.5% of audience capacity on average in the Richard Rodgers Theatre, which is up from 100.3% from the week before. It doesn’t hurt that President Obama was widely reported to have since this show in previews. When the show opens on August 5, 2015, it may become even more difficult to snag a ticket.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 26, 2015:broadway show ticket analysis week ending 7-26-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $546,611 6,831 94.14% $80.02
ALADDIN $1,831,846 13,818 100.01% $132.57
AMAZING GRACE $297,904 5,243 56.40% $56.82
AN ACT OF GOD $1,011,538 7,753 96.33% $130.47
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,429,500 12,819 95.44% $111.51
BEAUTIFUL $986,399 7,769 94.65% $126.97
CHICAGO $674,699 8,023 92.86% $84.10
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,162,145 11,659 96.90% $99.68
FISH IN THE DARK $716,936 7,716 89.89% $92.92
FUN HOME $805,369 6,105 103.13% $131.92
HAMILTON $1,302,511 9,290 100.47% $140.21
HAND TO GOD $339,642 4,527 73.30% $75.03
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $405,108 5,576 92.29% $72.65
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $404,467 5,864 72.43% $68.97
JERSEY BOYS $683,286 7,158 72.86% $95.46
KINKY BOOTS $951,252 9,666 84.85% $98.41
LES MISÉRABLES $812,848 9,664 85.73% $84.11
MAMMA MIA! $932,929 9,403 100.80% $99.22
MATILDA $1,133,454 11,462 100.05% $98.89
ON THE TOWN $476,502 8,194 54.66% $58.15
PENN & TELLER ON BROADWAY $1,237,512 10,824 82.80% $114.33
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,067,457 11,664 87.46% $91.52
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,505,083 8,748 102.58% $172.05
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $867,969 7,712 94.70% $112.55
THE KING AND I $969,161 7,127 85.09% $135.98
THE LION KING $2,408,501 13,570 100.01% $177.49
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,090,134 12,182 94.88% $89.49
WICKED $2,002,632 15,201 98.66% $131.74
Total $28,053,394 255,568 89.41% $105.83

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2015 nytix.com

“Amazing Grace” Continues Fight Against The Odds

A Tuner About the Origins of the Famous Gospel Song

amazing graceAmazing Grace began performances following the Tony Awards, thereby relinquishing its chance of competing for the biggest honors given to Broadway shows. However, it was more than the timing that has given Amazing Grace a difficult shot at succeeding on Broadway. Upon the show’s opening this month, it was reviewed negatively by all the major publications. Furthermore, its box office has been dire, with the show bringing in no more than 29% of its gross potential in any given week since the start of previews on June 25, 2015. With the July opening, the negative reviews demonstrate that word of mouth is not likely to give this show a boost in its financial figures. Amazing Grace was conceived over a long period of development by a Broadway newbie, Christopher Smith. Smith co-wrote the book along with Arthur Giron, and he also wrote the music and lyrics. A former cop, Christopher Smith came across the origin story of the famous gospel tune “Amazing Grace” and decided to craft it into a musical. As John Newton was a slave trader turned abolitionist, the story was found to be inspirational as well as connected to a familiar tune.

A String of Negative Reviews Upon Openingamazing grace

However, despite the potential for this show to make a big splash due to its name recognition and historical significance, it has flopped in terms of critical response. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times found the show to be an overstuffed history lesson combined with melodrama, although he admitted that the timing of the show was conveniently close to President Obama’s well recorded singing of “Amazing Grace” to the national public. David Cote from Time Out New York was equally dismayed by the production, as he bemoaned the fact that $16 million went to a poor imitation of Les Miserables, whereas that money should have partially gone to script doctors to fix the storyline. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter was no more complimentary, though he admitted the show was sincere in its attempt to represent the true story of a repentant slave trader who wrote a famous hymn. Robert Kahn of NBC New York remarked that Christopher Smith was ambitious in his Broadway attempts, but did not appreciate how the song “Amazing Grace” did not appear until the end of the musical. Finally, Matt Windman of AM New York was astonished that this show made it to Broadway, deeming the entire construct of the story to be an unlikely prospect for this level of theatre production.

Poor Box Office to Match the Poor Reviews

In the last reported week of box office figures, Amazing Grace brought in $321,914, which represents 29.32% of the show’s gross potential. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission was only $46.43, demonstrating a large amount of discounting. Still, this is the highest gross the show has brought in thus far. In its first week of previews, the weekly box office gross was $200,392, and the grosses have crept upwards each week since. Still, with such negative reviews, it is unlikely that Amazing Grace will be able to earn much higher grosses than it has been earning. Between the difficult summer season, where most theatregoers are tourists who prefer the big long-running musicals, and the negative response from theatre critics, this show is going to have a tough time sticking around even until the end of the summer season.

“On the Twentieth Century” Closes on Broadway

Tony Nominated Best Musical Revival Plays Final Performance

on the twentieth centuryKristin Chenoweth may not have won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical, but she did have her moment of stardom at the Tony Awards this year. Along with Alan Cumming, Kristen Chenoweth hosted this year’s Tony Awards, but she presented the award for which she was nominated to Kelli O’Hara, for her well-deserved performance in The King and I. Kristen, on the other hand, was nominated for her performance in On the Twentieth Century, which played its final performance this past week. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards in total, also including Best Revival of a Musical (which went to The King and I), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Andy Karl (which went to Christian Borle for Something Rotten!), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (which went to An American in Paris), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (which went to The King and I). Still, On the Twentieth Century concludes its run on somewhat of a high note, having received fairly good reviews after its opening on March 15, 2015, and performed to satisfactory if not excellent results at the box office. At the end of its run, the show had played 144 performances, in addition to 33 preview performances.

A Fluctuating Box Office that Never Hit GoldON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

In its final week of performances, the week ending July 19, 2015, On the Twentieth Century brought in $571,895 at the box office, which represents 69.56% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $229.00, the average paid admission was $98.81. Still, the overall audience capacity for the final week of eight performances averaged to 100.2%, showing that the musical had enough draw to bring in a range of theatre goers who may not have been willing to pay top dollar, but were excited to see this hilarious romp starring Kristen Chenoweth. The highest weekly gross earned by this show took place in the week ending May 24, 2015 as the Tony Awards were approaching. That week, it brought in $621,043, which represented 75.54% of its gross potential. That week, the show filled up to 99.8% of its audience capacity, again representing a fair but not insane amount of discounting. The lowest weekly gross in a full week of eight performances took place in the week ending March 8, 2015, while the show was still in previews and before it had a time to spread word of mouth through reviews. That week, the weekly gross was $364,904, which represented 46.87% of the show’s gross potential. The audience capacity was still filled up to 88.0%, showing a strong draw even in the tough times.

An Unlikely Revival that Made a Big Splash

On the Twentieth Century may not be the most well known musical in contemporary musical theatre, but it certainly is more well known now after this Roundabout Theater Company production. The show premiered on Broadway in 1978, and then was revived in 2005 for a one-night only benefit production at the New Amsterdam Theatre. However, the majority of the theatergoing public was only reminded of this show for the 2015 revival. With a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and a score by Cy Coleman, On the Twentieth Century falls into a period of musical theatre history when many great hits were made. With Kristen Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher’s excellent performances at the helm of director Scott Ellis, this show is sure to be remembered for a while longer.

“Penn & Teller on Broadway” Opens at the Marquis Theatre

Famous Magician Duo on Broadway for Limited Engagement

penn and teller posterPenn & Teller on Broadway played its opening night performance at the Marquis Theatre. This famous magician duo has been in residence at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for 14 years, and it is a rare treat for them to come to Broadway. In this case, they were able to swing a quick engagement just over a month in New York. Penn, whose full name is Penn Jillette, is always the one who talks onstage, whereas Teller, who just goes by the single name Teller, is mute onstage. In this classic reimagining of their act, they incorporated many of the most famous magician tricks, such as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and sawing a woman in half. They also incorporated the use of technology, at one point asking an audience member to videotape a certain trick so that it can be projected on a large screen for the entire audience to see. In an interview, Penn explained how this New York engagement is an opportunity for them to make their act a little more intellectual, in an effort to appeal to a New York audience rather than the usual Las Vegas crowd. This show is directed by John Rando, who has also directed Broadway shows including On the Town, A Christmas Story: The Musical, and Urinetown.

A Mixed Review by the New York Timespenn and teller

In Ben Brantley’s review of Penn & Teller on Broadway in The New York Times, he did justice to the profundity with which Penn and Teller have infiltrated themselves into the contemporary American cultural mindset. The review begins by explaining that the duo has been performing together for 40 years, and yet they seem as fresh and relevant as ever. This is partly due to the fact that the magicians, while holding down their gig in Las Vegas for 14 years, also have made several television shows that have solidified their inclusion in the continued cultural zeitgeist. For example, they had a long running series on Showtime called Penn and Teller: BS, and more recently they began a new show called Penn and Teller: Fool Us on ITV in Britain and the CW in the U.S. In Brantley’s review, in addition to remarking on this wide reach of the famous magicians, he also commented that their acts were not entirely new or surprising. While some may have appreciated the relatability of the common acts such as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the choice also bespeaks a lack of creativity.

A Fairly Successful Start at the Box Office

In the first two weeks of performances, which are the only two weeks of box office figures that have been reported thus far, Penn & Teller on Broadway show a significant increase. In the first week, the week ending July 12, 2015, the show brought in $1,075,289, which represented 62.40% of its gross potential. In the second week, the week ending July 19, 2015, the show saw an increase of $150,111, bringing the weekly gross to $1,225,400, which represents 71.11% of the show’s gross potential. This past week, the average audience capacity was 70.0%, which is a decrease from the first week’s average audience capacity of 78.6%. However, the average paid admission went up to $120.37 this week from $114.64 the week before, resulting in an overall increase in ticket sales for this past week. Overall, it is clear that Penn & Teller are a major box office draw, even as visitors to New York from their usual home of Las Vegas, and that as word of mouth spreads, the box office will most likely continue to creep upwards.

Ryan Seacrest’s “Knock Knock Live” Fails To Ignite

FOX TV’s Knock Knock Live Show Review

knock knock liveAt 9PM on July 21 2015, Ryan Seacrest’s new TV show Knock Knock Live beamed out , live, over the Fox broadcast airways for the very first time and now it all seems a blur. Knock Knock Live is Seacrest’s bid to remain on the broadcast air long after American Idol has died and gone to heaven, which will be in early 2016. The format of the show is basically a feel-good, let’s give away lots of sponsors prizes to people who are deserving by knocking on their doors and surprising them. The show roped in a couple of stars like the rapper Common and soccer star David Beckham. Kellie Pickler (from American Idol fame) co-hosted. The show consisted of hearing back stories of deserving families and then showing them being surprised by one of the celebrities with a easy challenge and then a big prize. Some of the people who nominated the families also got prizes. In a bid to keep the in-studio audience entertained, one of the families in the TV studio was also surprised.

Sponsors Galore

Knock Knock Live had an amazing slew of major sponsors that included Ford, Sprint and Meineke who gave away cars, iPhones and buses for teachers to pick up their students. The show often felt akin to when Oprah gave out all those cars (but later turned out that it was Chevy the gave away the cars). The same format played off here, with Seacrest giving away over half a million dollars worth of prizes of OPM (other peoples money). One such money giveaway was hilarious with Seacrest’s team spraying money into the street using a fan out the back of a truck and having the winner get on their hands and knees in the street to pick up the money in the dirt and grime and whatever else was there. The use of an armored truck is also hysterical, especially when the cash amount is only $25,000. Homeowners all over America will now be using armored trucks to take them to their condo closings as their bank checks are worth way more than $25k

ryan seacrest at knock knock liveTwitter Sphere Reacts

Twitter sphere was quick to react to the show with claims that all the “surprised” fans at home were all remarkably well dressed. Each man had on a shirt and tie and the women were wearing their Sunday best with full makeup – not one person was in their boxer shirts or covered with paint or sweat, indicating that all the families were tipped-off in some way prior to the “surprise”. Fox probably didn’t want anything to go wrong on the debut of a live show. With the sheen off the surprise, the show lacked any genuine surprises and many questionable moments appeared in the show. One obvious fake surprise came when one of the hosts came to the door of the neighbor who nominated someone else. That neighbor acted totally surprised, yet a veritable riot had been happening outside their house for the last thirty minutes with over 50 TV crew, 100 neighbors, four TV trucks and an armored truck. Even the other neighbors down the street had seen the show on TV and came out, how did the nominated neighbor not know anything? Clearly they did.

Seacrest is Charming Host But Lacks Comedic Skills

Ryan Seacrest is no stranger to fake-ality TV shows, especially given his mastermind of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Knock Knock Live may have landed in that genre given its less-than-honest surprises. There were many moments in the show that a more talented host could have used to comedic effect, but Seacrest is just not-that-kind-of-host and the show often came over as bland, if not banal. Kellie Pickler shone brightly in this show that gave her an outlet for her upbeat and winning personality. It was clear to all that while this show may not last, she just passed the interview for something bigger and better. Pickler had talked about doing The View with Whoopi Goldberg, but that seems a step down for this bright and talented star on the rise.

In-Studio Audience Experience

The In-Studio audience did not have much fun on this show as anticipated as all the action was either pre-recorded or shown live on the giant screens in the studio. Only Seacrest was in the TV studio with the audience, and he is not exactly an electric personality. The audience members described the experience as only slightly better than America’s Funniest Home Video’s, but at least each audience member was paid $40 for their six hour experience on the show debut. Audience was gathered by OnSet productions, who are considering raising the pay rate for the audience, as it was a stretch to get five hundred people to come to this show, where very little live-action happens. Even with the extra money, they do not anticipate on making the show any more interesting for the in-studio audience.

Back Story Format Lifted From American Idol

david beckhamThe “feel good” format of the show is unlikely to sustain good viewership over time as there was very little raw entertainment in the show, just one family back story after another – with each family getting a bunch of money at the end. The back story format grew and grew on American Idol and many feel that is what ultimately did it in. NBC made the same mistake with their TV show AGT (America’s Got Talent) and their Olympics coverage, too much back-story makes the whole subject matter slow-paced and bland. During the initial TV show pitch meeting, it is reported that Fox executives often heard the terms “low brow bonanza” and ” feel good format” and they thoroughly bought into the concept. If the plan was to aim the show at individuals who think that “investing in your future” means buying a lottery ticket, then they hit that demographic perfectly. The problem is that advertisers do not necessarily want that demographic and once the sheen is off this show, they will depart, especially given that Neil Patrick Harris’s similar TV show, Best Time Ever is just around the corner and that is being produced by the masters in this genre,  ITV America.

Simon Cowell’s Suggestions Ignored

Simon Cowell had been asked for his informal input on the show and had been vocal about significant changes that would need to be made to make this show a long-term success. An insider indicated that Cowell stated that Seacrest just wants to be Mr Nice Guy, which after a little while, becomes boring and not edgy or interesting in any way. Cowell suggested that an additional character be introduced (perhaps he was referring to himself) who would arbitrarily decide whether or not the family could keep the money they just won. The reality would be that they would get the money anyway, but on TV they would be denied just to see the reaction in some macabre They Shoot Horses Don’t They kind of way. “Seacrest needs a bad guy to counter his Mr Nice Guy personality, otherwise he is a bit boring” Cowell is quoted as saying.
Where is Brian Dunkelman when you need him.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/19/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Right Away, “Hamilton” Is a Run-Away Hit

In the week ending July 19, 2015, Hamilton began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. After playing a highly acclaimed run Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, it transferred with its first preview on July 13, 2015. Though it only played seven performances in its first week, rather than the usual 8, it brought in a weekly gross of $1,288,436. That represents 110.30% of its gross potential, and the average audience was filled up to 100.3%. With a top ticket price of $275.00, the average paid admission was $138.94. This is an extremely good achievement for a musical in its first week of previews, especially one that opened in the height of summer without the Tony Award buzz to boost it forward. Hamilton has been highly buzzed for many months, and there were even talks about bringing it to Broadway before the Tony Awards this year, but the creative team decided to wait until July in order to finely tune the piece. Furthermore, this allowed the Public Theater’s other masterpiece, Fun Home, to win Best Musical without competition from Hamilton, and now Hamilton will certainly be in the running for that award next year. This show is Lin Manuel-Miranda’s newest concoction, following his success with In the Heights, although this show is more controversial, and also more enticing, due to its reimagining of an important historical figure.

An Overall Excellent Week on Broadway

Including the $1,288,436 that Hamilton brought to the table in its first week of previews, the week ending July 19, 2015 saw an overall increase in ticket sales of $3,458,042 from the week before. Of the 29 shows currently running, 27 of them saw an increase in ticket sales, and only two decreased by a small amount. Following Hamilton’s powerful entrance onto the scene, the next biggest increase in ticket sales was seen by The Lion King, which brought in $311,125 more than the week before to reach a gross of $2,620,016, Wicked, which brought in $267,724 more than the week before to reach a gross of $2,167,815, and The Book of Mormon, which brought in $203,287 more than the week before to reach a gross of $1,654,152. Also, all three of these hit musicals played 9 performances this past week, up from the usual 8 which they played last week. Furthermore, Penn & Teller on Broadway continued to creep up in box office, bringing in $1,225,440 which is an increase of $150,111 from the week before. Other six figure increases were seen by The Phantom of the Opera, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Les Miserables, Beautiful, and On the Twentieth Century. Though On the Twentieth Century had been performing fairly poorly, it played its final performance on July 19, 2015, and this announcement of the final week was enough to bring the last week’s gross up by six figures to $571,895.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 19, 2015:Broadway show ticket analysis week ending 7-19-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $538,813 6,783 93.48% $79.44
ALADDIN $1,833,662 13,818 100.01% $132.70
AMAZING GRACE $321,914 6,933 74.58% $46.43
AN ACT OF GOD $990,023 7,713 95.84% $128.36
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,439,179 12,878 95.88% $111.75
BEAUTIFUL $1,023,705 7,835 95.46% $130.66
CHICAGO $638,796 7,791 90.17% $81.99
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,164,664 11,844 98.44% $98.33
FISH IN THE DARK $902,194 8,099 94.35% $111.40
FUN HOME $817,665 6,120 103.38% $133.61
HAMILTON $1,288,436 9,273 100.28% $138.94
HAND TO GOD $344,030 4,598 74.45% $74.82
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $681,087 6,552 92.95% $103.95
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $392,500 5,725 70.71% $68.56
JERSEY BOYS $709,588 7,430 75.63% $95.50
KINKY BOOTS $909,402 9,393 82.45% $96.82
LES MISÉRABLES $801,902 9,692 85.98% $82.74
MAMMA MIA! $909,862 9,342 100.15% $97.39
MATILDA $1,110,520 11,439 99.85% $97.08
ON THE TOWN $501,525 9,178 61.22% $54.64
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $571,895 5,788 100.21% $98.81
PENN & TELLER ON BROADWAY $1,100,653 9,144 69.95% $120.37
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,111,321 12,095 90.69% $91.88
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,654,152 9,828 102.44% $168.31
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $920,865 7,923 97.29% $116.23
THE KING AND I $1,152,974 7,971 95.16% $144.65
THE LION KING $2,620,016 15,100 98.93% $173.51
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,064,460 12,031 93.70% $88.48
WICKED $2,167,815 16,815 97.67% $128.92
Total $29,683,617 269,131 90.73% $106.77

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2015 nytix.com

New York TV Show Pilots On The Rise

Hollywood loves to add its own level of fanfare to its latest TV shows that are in the Pilot stage, but in the New York area, TV production companies like to keep the new TV shows in pilot-stage on the down-low. Sometimes the reasoning for the secrecy is because they do not want to the show to go off half-cocked if the show is picked up. Other times it is because the celebrity is doing something that is off-contract, or may be embarrassing (or damage) their e-score rating if it flops. It seems that well known celebrities do not like to advertise what projects they are working on when on the East Coast, but the second they are in LA, their PR people cannot wait to tell the world via their social media accounts.

THE AL ROKER SHOW

al roker in black and white suit on red carpetAl Roker has been uber-busy. He has been working on a new show for NBC Universal, in between the gig he has at NBC on Today and the Wake Up With Al show, Roker has been developing The Al Roker Show that has filmed a number of episodes in the Stamford Media Center at 307 Atlantic Street in Stamford, CT. Al Roker’s self-titled new TV show uses a game show format and is similar to the likes of The Newlywed Game, The Pyramid Game  and Clue (All Born back in the 1970’s in Hollywood) in which couples ask questions and test their spouses knowledge about each other. Al Roker and his PR group has been tight lipped about the show that is under development but it is being exec-produced by Terence Gray (The creator of the New York Television Festival) The PR is being handled by Jon Harris at Jon Harris and Associates and the show producer is Tiffany Trigg. Audience management was provided by the LA based OnSet productions, that have scant New York TV shows to their credit. They had to resort to pay $60 to each audience member to make them go out to the Connecticut studios to watch them tape the show. Lord knows how cheap it is to tape a show in Stamford, CT – but when you have to bus-in a paid audience, all the economical value goes out of the window. Also the quality of a paid audience shifts the dynamic of the show. Now they are being paid to laugh, which, everyone knows, comes over the TV tube as closer to canned laughter than natural audience reaction.

Roker first made his name as a weather anchor in 1974, working for a CBS affiliate WHEN-TV in Syracuse, New York. Since 1996, he has been the weekday weather forecaster on NBC’s The Today Show, and since 2009 he has hosted an early morning show every weekday on The Weather Channel called Wake Up With Al. Al is beloved for his creative approaches to forecasting the weather, often done outside the studio, as well as his success as an actor and as book author.

KNOCK KNOCK LIVE and BEST TIME EVER

knock knock liveLike a modern-day version of the Mad TV vs SNL ratings war in the 1990’s, Ryan Seacrest’s Knock Knock Live, currently in production in LA appears to be a straight copy of Neil Patrick Harris’s, yet to be shot, Best Time Ever on NBCSeacrest’s Knock Knock Live show debuts on Fox on July 21, 2015. This TV show dodged the whole pilot phase and went straight into production, beating Patrick-Harris and NBC by a solid eight weeks, which, in TV terms, can be an eternity. It is not clear how Fox got to use the trademark format owned by ITV productions for its British show Saturday Night Takeaway, but if the initial Knock Knock Live tapings are anything to go by, it uses exactly the same formula including the “live from your living room” format to surprise viewers at home. At this point it will be a surprise for some, but after a while, as both shows become established, the surprise may wear off and one of the shows will ultimately fail. With Seacrest lacking any on-stage talent other than show hosting and losing his American Idol gig in 2016, he will be desperate to make this work as he cannot live off Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s money (a show where he is the exec producer) for very long. Patrick Harris, on the other hand, may be coming to the party rather late, but he brings tremendous talent to his show, but with NBC calling the shots, they may over-produce the show and sabotage him with the content constraints they have put on other shows (Americas Got Talent being a great example of how they mess things up). If the NBC execs can keep their hands off the show, they may well have an SNL style winner. best time ever with neil patrick harrisFox’s TV ratings will be boosted tomorrow night by the amount of ITV and NBC executives who will be tuning in to see how good the show is and how many bits have been lifted from Patrick Harris’s show. It remains to be seen if anyone else will watch in the notoriously soft summer of viewership. Lacking creative originality, Seacrest has used some of the household names he helped create on the American Idol show namely Kellie Pickler and Adrienne Bailon, as co-hosts. Seacrest gets to be first on TV, Patrick Harris brings his stage talent later.TV viewers may tire quickly if Seacrest’s show just gives  Let the battle royale commence.

Knock Knock Live is produced by Dick Clark Productions and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment. Seacrest, Fuller, Michael Herwick, Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Stijn Bakkers and Nicolle Yaron serve as executive producers. The new show series will premiere on Tuesday, July 21 at 9:00 p.m. on Fox and will be broadcast on the same night each week. Best Time Ever is produced by ITV Studios America and NBC Entertainment. Executive Producers on the show are Neil Patrick Harris, Orly Adelson, Siobhan Greene, Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly and David A. Hurwitz. The latter three individuals are all producers of the British version of the show: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.Glenn Weiss is directing the show.

“Hamilton” Begins Previews on Broadway

Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hit at the Public Theater

hamiltonOn July 13, 2015, the highly anticipated new musical Hamilton began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. The official opening night is scheduled for August 6, 2015. With book, lyrics, and music by Lin Manuel-Miranda (In the Heights), Hamilton had its New York premiere at the Off-Broadway Public Theater in the East Village, with previews beginning on January 20, 2015, its official opening night on February 17, 2015, and wrapping up performances on May 3, 2015. The show was directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, who are the same director and choreographer as for the Broadway production. The show is inspired by the life story of United States founding father Alexander Hamilton, and is specifically based off of the biography Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow. Chernow has served as the historical consultant for this production. When the show premiered Off-Broadway, critics far and wide hailed it as a magnificent achievement. With so much buzz, the producers considering bringing it to Broadway in time for Tony Awards consideration in 2015. However, with the Public Theater’s Fun Home also competing for Best Musical (which it ended up winning), and with the creative team of Hamilton believing more work could be done to perfect the musical, the show’s Broadway transfer was delayed until the summer.

Lin Manuel-Miranda Stars in His Own Musical in the Title Rolehamilton

Not only did Lin Manuel-Miranda write the book, lyrics, and music for Hamilton, but he also takes to the stage in this production, playing the role of Hamilton himself. There is also an alternate actor to play Hamilton on select performances, that is Javier Muñoz. This weekend in particular, President Obama and his two daughters attended the matinee performance of Hamilton on Saturday; this day was scheduled to be a day when Miranda sat in the audience to watch the show, and on which Muñoz would perform the title role. Even though the Obamas came for this performance, Miranda stuck to his original plan and sat in the audience to watch his show for the first time as an audience member. The concept of this show is a fresh take on the story of Alexander Hamilton. Rather than being rooted in the principally white background of the forefathers of this country, Miranda opted to embrace the racial diversity present in modern day America, incorporating R&B, jazz, hip hop, tin pan alley, and contemporary Broadway style music into his compositions. The casting incorporates a vast amount of racial diversity, and the show has been praised for its cultural reimagining of this time period.

A Stellar Supporting Cast and Creative Team

In addition to Lin Manuel-Miranda in the title role, the cast includes Jonathan Groff as King George, Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette, and Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler. The scenic design is by David Korins, the costume design is by Paul Tazewell, the lighting design is by Howell Binkley, the sound design is by Nevin Steinberg, and the hair and wig design is by Charles G. LaPointe. Overall, this cast and creative team is sure to make a big splash on Broadway, and even though they missed the Tony Awards this time around, the buzz this show is generating implies that it will be a major contender at the Tony Awards in 2016.