Jennifer Chen

About Jennifer Chen

Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jennifer studied Law and moved to New York City at age 24, where she still practices law and writes for abovethelaw.com. Jennifer's profession may be in the land-of-legal, but her passion is for Broadway where she can write about subjects as diverse as Broadway union contracts to show reviews.

Forest Whitaker to Make Broadway Debut in “Hughie”

Eugene O’Neill’s 1964 Two-Character Play

forest whitakerForest Whitaker is a very well-known screen actor. He won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the BAFTA Award for his performance as the dictator from Uganda named Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland. His upcoming film roles include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Shack, and Story of Your Life, all filming presently or recently. However, this famous performer has never before appeared on Broadway – until now. In spring 2016, Forest Whitaker will star in Eugene O’Neill’s 1964 play Hughie. The play only has two characters; the second actor has not yet been announced. The play is to be directed by Michael Grandage, the British stage director and producer whose eponymous company – the Michael Grandage Company – will produce along with Darren Bagert and the Shubert Organization. Grandage is well known not only for his own directing work, but also for running the prestigious Donmar Warehouse theatre in London for many years. This will be a seminal production for him as well, as it will be his company’s second major production on Broadway. The first was The Cripple of Inishmaan in 2014, which starred Daniel Radcliffe and which Michael Grandage also directed.

A Night Clerk and a Hustler Take Center Stagehughie playbill

Hughie is the story of a hustler named Erie Smith (who will be played by Forest Whitaker). The play is set in a midtown hotel in the summer of 1928. Smith essentially delivers a long monologue throughout the entire play to the night clerk at the hotel, a man named Charlie Hughes. The monologue centers on how upset Smith is that the previous night clerk, a name named Hughie, has died and that his luck has since worn out. The play was originally written in 1942, but did not arrive on stage for its premiere until 1963 in Bath, England. Hughie was then first produced on Broadway in 1964 starring Jason Robards as Erie Smith; Robards was nominated for the Tony Award for his performance. Robards then revived this role in Berkeley, California in 1975, and Jack Dodson played Charlies Hughes. That same duo also revived their performances in 1981 at the Hyde Park Theatre Festival, and in 1991 at the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island. Therefore, this is a big move for the producers to cast an entirely new pair of actors in this production, which has not been seen by a major audience in ove two decades, and not on Broadway in over five decades.

Forest Whitaker Has Made a Career on the Screen

Whitaker’s first ever attempt at acting was on stage, in the play Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. However, this was in high school. Since becoming a professional actor, he has principally performed in film and television. He first lead role was in the Clint Eastwood film Bird, where he played the musician Charlie Parker. For that performance, he earned a Golden Globe nomination and the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. He then starred in Downtown alongside Anthony Edwards and Penelope Ann Miller. He also starred in The Crying Game directed by Neil Jordan, where he played a captive British soldier named Jody. In Robert Altman’s film Pret-a-Porter in 1994, he was a member of the cast that won the National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble, which was the first time that award was ever given out. Since then, his major roles have included Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Wong Kar-Wai’s The Follow, Joel Schumacher’s film Phone Booth, and then the lead role in Lee Daniel’s The Butler in 2013. His Broadway debut will therefore certainly be eagerly awaited.

“It Shoulda Been You” Closes on Broadway

Final Performance Sunday, August 9th at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre

it shoulda been youOn March 17, 2015, It Shoulda Been You began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The official opening night took place on April 14, 2015, in time for consideration for the 2015 Tony Awards. However, the show received no Tony Awards nominations. Although they did receive the chance to perform a number from the musical at the awards ceremony, word of mouth never picked up to an adequate degree following this exposure, and ticket sales remained mediocre throughout the run. Therefore, at the end of June, it was announced that the final performance for this wedding musical with a twist would be Sunday, August 9, 2015. The show is conceived by Barbara Anselmi, with a book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, and a musical score by Barbara Anselmi. Furthermore, the show was directed by David Hyde Pierce, who happens to be the husband of Brian Hargrove. Though he did not appear onstage, David Hyde Pierce was by far the biggest name involved with the production, as he is renowned for his acting roles in such television shows as Frasier, such films as Wet Hot American Summer and The Fisher King, and such Broadway productions as Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Curtains, and La Bête. Nevertheless, having this name behind the scenes did not boost ticket sales for the show as much as if he had been onstage.

Mixed Reviews for a Fun-Loving Wedding Comedyit shoulda been you

When It Shoulda Been You opened on April 14, 2015, it received mixed reviews. Ben Brantley of The New York Times commenced his review with the single word, “Oy.” This musical comedy set at a Jewish wedding did not win over this prestigious critic, who concluded his review by stating that the latter day twist (of the gay element) did not make this cocktail of clichés any less flat. The New York Post likewise stated that the show “lacks laughs” in the headline, finding the songs disposable and the plot twist improbable. The New York Daily News gave the show two stars out of five, calling it a harmless diversion that “shoulda” been better. Marilyn Stasio in Variety found it awfully funny, but admitted that nothing was particularly clever about the show. Vulture found the show not quite dead of laughs, but rather on life support. Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-, admitting that the grande dames of this show – Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris – deserve some applause. In any case, the overwhelming sentiment of these reviews is one of disappointment, and that did not allow this show to stick around for long enough to make its money back.

Mediocre Box Office Throughout the Run

In the final week of ticket sales, the week ending August 9, 2015, It Shoulda Been You made its highest weekly gross of the run. With a gross of $494,033, the show brought in 49.85% of its gross potential, and filled up an average of 84.9% of the audience. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission was $71.85. However, at the low point of the run, the show only brought in $272,693, which represents 27.51% of its gross potential. All in all, the show never appeared to have the makings of a box office hit. However, the show’s capitalization was fairly low compared to most shows, and though the Broadway run will not make profits, the future market for licensing this show is optimistic. With a low cost to run and a fun-loving family sentiment, It Shoulda Been You may be a top pick for regional and amateur theatre licensing, allowing the investors to make back a bit more of their money.

“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.

“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.

Silvercup Studios to Open New Bronx Location

New Hub for New York Based Television Shows and Films

silvercupSilvercup Studios, the largest film and television production center in New York City, has been based in Long Island City, Queens since 1983, when it took over from the former Silvercup Bakery in the building. Founded by brothers Stuart and Alan Suna, Silvercup was originally used primarily as a site to film music videos and commercials, but it has become much more predominantly used for television production in recent years. For example, Silvercup is famously the site where HBO’s Sex and the City filmed their six seasons, as well as the primary site for ABC’s Hope & Faith as well as FX’s Rescue Me. Other television shows to use the space over the years include Girls, Madam Secretary, 30 Rock, Gossip Girl, Big Lake, Elementary, Fringe, Mad Men, The Michael J. Fox Show, Person of Interest, The Sopranos, and Ugly Betty. With this storied history, the complex is looking to expand and has found its new site in the South Bronx, in the Port Morris area of the borough. The new facility will be 115,000 square feet in size, and operate as a full service studio complex. The warehouse is located at 295 Locust Ave., nearby the Bruckner Expressway as well as the Bronx Brewery. This new facility will be known as Silvercup North, and will open its doors in 2016.

Bronx Revitalization and New York Tax Incentives

silvercup

The new Bronx site

The project is slated to cost $35 million in order to build the new production studios with 50 foot ceilings as well as offices and shops. These facilities will be able to encompasses two-story high sets, and will have the highest ceilings of any facility in New York City. The South Bronx, which has long been a troubled area, is finally entering a period of long-expected gentrification. In 2014 alone, real estate investors put $2.39 billion into the borough, which is 39% higher than 2013 and 55% higher than 2012. This will create many new jobs for New York City, with a lot of temporary construction work, as well as hundreds of additional jobs in the production industry. The Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. is supportive of the new studio, eager both for the economic development as well as the helpful branding of the Bronx image. One of the reasons it is worthwhile for Silvercup to build a new studio is that production tax incentives in New York State are generous at the moment. Though this can change from year to year, New York currently offers producers 30% of their budget in refundable tax credits, up to $420 million allocated for below-the-line expenditures, and $7 million allocated for post-production. This is as long as the production follows all the detailed rules to qualify, including shooting 75% of production in state.

Television Shows Moving to the New Site

Time will tell which shows begin to film in the new Bronx site, but chances are that many will move not just from Silvercup’s Studios in Long Island City, but also from other locations including out of state. Many television shows, including some from NBC, are currently filmed in Stamford, Connecticut, where the present tax incentive offering is 30% in transferable tax credit for spends over $1 million, with up to 50% of production days in the state of Connecticut. Provided that Mayor DiBlasio and Governor Cuomo uphold matching the benefits that these shows currently get in Connecticut, chances are that the new Silvercup North facility will bring back some shows to New York.

“The Audience” Completes Its Run

An Irrefutable Success Story

the-audience-300x300On February 14, 2015, The Audience began previews on Broadway. It officially opened on March 8, 2015 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The play was written by Peter Morgan and starred Helen Mirren, reuniting the Oscar winning team from the film The Queen which dealt with the same subject matter. The director was Stephen Daldry, who also directed Skylight this same season. Audience members flocked to this play, which had excellent sales throughout its run. On April 13, 2015, it was announced that the show had recouped its initial investment of $3.4 million. That is particularly outstanding for a straight play to perform so well, earning back its capitalization in only eight weeks. The show earned two Tony Awards, that for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Helen Mirren, as well as that for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Richard McCabe. It was also nominated for Best Costume Design of a Play for Bob Crowley. The play transferred to New York following an excellent West End run in 2013, as well as international screenings of the National Theatre Live version in cinemas. On May 5, 2015, yet another production began in the West End starring Kristin Scott Thomas in the lead role.

Record Sales For Final Week Ending June 28thhelen mirren the audience

On June 28, 2015, the Broadway production of The Audience concluded its run. That week, the show brought in $1,425,523, which was an increase of $219,205 from the week before. This outstanding increase was mostly due to the fact that the show played an extra performance, totaling eight, whereas it had only played seven performances each week throughout the rest of the run. It is therefore even more remarkable that the show recouped so quickly, as most shows play eight performances per week as the standard. Nevertheless, in addition to this extra performance in the final week, the show made even more money per performance. Whereas the show brought in 114.11% of its gross potential in its penultimate week, the final week brought in the outstanding gross that amounted to 118.49% of its gross potential. Therefore, the show managed to squeeze out even more dollars per available seat in the theatre for each of the eight performances. In the final week, the average audience capacity was 101.8%. With a top ticket price of $323.00, the average paid admission was $163.67, up from $158.48 the week before. Overall, it is clear that this show made an extraordinary profit for its investors and producers, operating in profits for the majority of its run, in addition to all the moneymaking opportunities from the London productions.

Helen Mirren Might As Well Be The Queen of England

Helen Mirren was lauded for every instance in which she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to winning the Tony Award for her performance in The Audience on Broadway, she won the Olivier Award for the same role in the West End, and she also brought home the Academy Award for portraying Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s screenplay for The Queen. This is only the third time that Helen Mirren has appeared on Broadway. Her previous outings were in 2001 to 2002 as Alice in Dance of Death, as well as in 1995 when she portrayed Natalia Petrovna in A Month in the Country. However, her London and screen credits have made her a household name, and the Broadway production of The Audience has secured her position as royalty in the minds of audiences, both American and British alike.

Howard Stern to Leave “America’s Got Talent”

Announcement Made Wednesday on His Radio Show

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Pictured: Howard SternThe extremely successful radio personality and actor Howard Stern has been on the judging panel of America’s Got Talent since 2011, when he took over the position from Piers Morgan in the show’s seventh season. He has continued to sit on the judge’s panel for the eighth, ninth, and tenth season. Presently, he judges alongside Mel B from the Spice Girls, Heidi Klum from Project Runway, and Howie Mandel from Deal or No Deal. Stern is best known for hosting his own radio show on Sirius XM radio since 2006, before which he hosted his show since 1986 on national syndication. He is also well known for the film Private Parts and his television show The Howard Stern Show. He has made mutterings before about wanting to depart from America’s Got Talent due to his overcommitted schedule, but this time he seems serious. He is also known as an extremely well compensated television star; he appeared in Forbes magazine alongside America’s Got Talent executive producer Simon Cowell as first place on the list of America’s highest paid television personalities. The article stated that Stern earned $95 million between June 2012 and June 2013. Nevertheless, there comes a point when money doesn’t mean much anymore, and Stern has announced that he is reassessing his career priorities, and that this is his last season.

The Impact on “America’s Got Talent”AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Pictured: Howard Stern

America’s Got Talent had made some sacrifices to accommodate Stern’s busy schedule, in light of his strong pull with a wide range of market demographics. Specifically, the show relocated from Los Angeles to New York City’s Radio Music Hall, so that Stern could be across the street from his radio studio where he records his Sirius XM show. With Stern gone, the show may very choose to relocate back to Los Angeles. As for who might replace him, Stern was quick to suggest his best option: Simon Cowell. He said that Simon wants the job, anyway. However, as much as Stern is known as a man who tells it like it is, he did not reveal that an agreement had officially been made with the network. He said that he was too f—ing busy, and that he is undergoing his own career evaluation. It was reported that Stern was given until July 4th to decide if he will be renewing his contract. Every year so far, he has ultimately decided to re-up his season to season contract, persuaded by the large paycheck he is being offered. He claimed he really did struggle with the decision to sign on this year. Nevertheless, the press has interpreted Stern’s recent comment on his radio show as sounding more serious than ever before. We may therefore see a different face at the judge’s table next season.

America’s Got Talent

America’s Got Talent has been running on NBC since 2006. The show is executive produced by Simon Cowell, the man behind many other reality shows including Britain’s Got Talent, Pop Idol, The X Factor, and American Idol. America’s Got Talent differs from some of these other shows as the contestants can perform a range of activities, not just singing. In addition to vocal performance, the huge range of acts includes dancers, comedians, magicians, ventriloquists, technology-based performance, and anything that demonstrates a unique and magnficient talent.

“Skylight” and “Fish in the Dark” Recoup

Tony Winning Revival “Skylight” Recoups Its Investment

skylight posterAmong the shows this season that have earned enough profits to recoup their initial capitalization, Skylight managed achieved this crucial marker of success in the week before the Tony Awards. The show has been running in previews since March 13, 2015 at the John Golden Theatre, and its official opening night was on April 2, 2015, after which it earned magnificent reviews. Skylight has been regularly bringing in grosses between $700,000 and $800,000 per week since this opening, with the highest weekly gross yet achieved this past week, the week ending June 14, 2015: $865,346. For the first time, the show broke through the 100% of gross potential mark, bringing in 100.85% of its gross potential with an average paid admission of $134.87. Though it was not revealed what the initial capitalization was for this show, the producers Scott Rudin and Robert Fox have done well for themselves, as recoupment was announced on May 31, 2015. It may have helped that this week the highest paid admission was raised from $297.00 to $323.00, but it is nevertheless undeniable that audience members were keen to catch this show before its closing next week on June 21, 2015.

Tony Snubbed Play “Fish in the Dark” Also Recoupslarry david  jason alexander

Unlike Skylight, which recouped after earning rave reviews and significant recognition from the Tony committee, Fish in the Dark achieved this honor after earning none of the other accolades. Fish in the Dark, written by and starring Larry David, began previews on February 2, 2015, and opened on March 5, 2015 at the Cort Theatre. This play has more than just financial success in common with Skylight; both plays are also produced by Scott Rudin, who certainly knows how to pick them. Fish in the Dark received a mixture of negative and blasé reviews, and it was not nominated for a single Tony award. However, Larry David still had the honor of presenting the Tony Award for Best Musical at the ceremony, alongside Jason Alexander who has recently replaced him in the starring role of Fish in the Dark. Despite a lack of success in the press and awards, the play achieved success in the way that ultimately matters most to producers: financial success. Recoupment was announced on May 20, 2015. Although the producers would not specify what the capitalization was, Variety speculated that it was between $3 million and $4 million, due to the large cast and A-list talent involved. The highest gross achieved thus far by Fish in the Dark took place in the week ending June 7, 2015, the week approaching the Tony Awards, when it brought in $1,246,196, representing 119.73% of its gross potential. The top ticket price is a whomping $497.00, and the average paid admission that week was $142.98. Still, since Jason Alexander took over in the following week, grosses have significantly diminished.

Skylight’s Tony Success

Skylight was nominated for seven Tony Awards, but only won one; still this was arguably the most coveted of the awards for which it was nominated: Best Revival of a Play. The other nominations it received were Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Bill Nighy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Carey Mulligan, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Matthew Beard, Best Scenic Design of a Play for Bob Crowley, Best Lighting Design of a Play for Natasha Katz, and Best Direction of a Play for Stephen Daldry. Daldry, who also directed the highly acclaimed and financially successful The Audience, was nominated just for Skylight. However, in this case the Tony voters believed that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, for it won the Tony Award that sums them all up: Best Revival. Fish in the Dark, on the other hand, received no Tony Awards, but made an even bigger splash at the box office with weekly grosses over $1 million every week in which Larry David appeared.

“Doctor Zhivago” Concludes Run Early

Shuttered After Only 26 Previews and 23 Regular Performances

doctor zhivagoOn May 10, 2015, Doctor Zhivago played its last performance in a very short Broadway run, which began with the first preview on March 27, 2015. After the opening night on April 21, 2015, it became clear that Doctor Zhivago would not be surviving based on the commendation of the critics, as there was almost unanimous agreement that the show was not very good. Based on Boris Pasternak’s novel from 1957 of the same name, and immortalized on screen in the 1965 film directed by David Lean and starring Julie Christie and Omar Sharif, this epic musical set during the Russian Revolution just couldn’t cut it in this competitive Broadway season. Playing at the Broadway Theatre, the show was directed by Des McAnuff (700 Sundays, Jersey Boys, Jesus Christ Superstar), and choreographed by Kelly Devine (Rocky, Rock of Ages). In addition, the book is written by Michael Weller (Spoils of War, Loose Ends), with music by Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden), and lyrics by Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amy Powers (Sunset Boulevard). Still, the pedigree of its creative team could not save this musical, which failed to receive any Tony nominations or pull any significant weight at the box office.

Unanimous Discontent Among Critics and Tony Votersdoctor zhivago

This show was the third to announce its closing following disappointing results from the Tony nominations. The first was Living on Love, which also received zero, and the second was The Heidi Chronicles, which only received one nomination for Elisabeth Moss, in the category of Best Actress in a Lead Role in a Play. Even with poor critical response, Tony recognition can sometimes save a show just enough by boosting its renown among theatregoers. In this case, Doctor Zhivago had no luck in either account. When the reviews came out, all major critics gave it a thumbs down. Charles Isherwood at The New York Times asked in his review, “Is it over yet?”, proclaiming the show to be turgid, baggy, and expositional. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter compared it to a poor man’s Les Miserables. David Cote of Time Out New York did the same, referring to Doctor Zhivago as a pale juggernaut in comparison. Jesse Green from Vulture wanted to affirm once and for all that sprawling European novels do not make good musicals, as evidenced by this failure. Furthermore, Joe Dziemianowicz from the New York Daily News called it an “epic miss.”

Struggles at the Box Office

In the show’s last week of performances, the week ending May 10, 2015, Doctor Zhivago reached its peak at the box office, which amounted to $537,474. That represented only 44.79% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $247.00, the average paid admission that week was $62.66. Even with such discounting, the average audience capacity was only 72.5%. Though these numbers are not as dire as some other shows that continue to run, the producers made the decision to close the show upon the announcement of the Tony nominations, as they could not imagine the musical gaining any more traction. With a capitalization of $12 million, the show was reported to have brought in a total gross of less than $2.7 million, not to mention running costs. However, there is still hope for the 50 odd producers, many of them first-time Broadway producers convinced to invest in this production, as the show may be able to make back some of its money on further productions and tours, both nationally and internationally. At least, the brand name should hold some weight on tours around the world.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/17/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

An Overall Excellent Week on Broadway

In the week ending May 17, 2015, the entire Broadway box office saw an increase of $2,179,880 from the week before. With 33 shows running, that is an average increase of $66,056.97 across the entire industry. Of these 33 shows, 30 of them saw an increase in sales this week, and only three saw a decrease in sales in comparison to the previous week. The largest increase was seen by the musical On the Town, which increased by $412,136 from the week before; this is due partly to the fact that the show had four performances the week prior, but also this is an increase in comparison to two weeks before, when the show had brought in $501,640. After On the Town, the next biggest increase was seen by The Lion King, which went up by $264,769 to reach its weekly gross of $1,966,567. The third biggest increase was seen by a show that has newly begun previews, An Act of God, which went up by $260,979 to reach its weekly gross of $738,682. In addition, Wicked went up by $132,403, and Wolf Hall Parts One and Two went up by $103,691 to reach its weekly gross of $734,344.

Greater than 100% of Gross Potential

This past week, three shows demonstrated such high demand that their weekly box office grosses reached over 100% of the gross potential. This is due to the fact that on top of selling out of full price tickets, the show managed to sell enough premium price tickets to push the shows over 100% of their potential. Interestingly, only one of these is a musical – The Book of Mormon – but two are plays: The Audience and Fish in the Dark. All three of these shows have been major hits since they began their runs. The Book of Mormon has been running for several years, generally with remarkable financial success. This past week, it brought in $1,534,408, which represents 110.31% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $477.00, the show’s average paid admission was $175.50, which is greater than the top ticket price for some shows. The Audience and Fish in the Dark are both new shows this season with limited runs. Whereas The Audience received good reviews and several Tony nominations, Fish in the Dark received mixed reviews and zero Tony nominations, instead relying on the star power of its writer and lead actor Larry David to account for the financial prowess. This past week, The Audience brought in $1,194,528, which represents 113.00% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $323.00, the average paid admission was $157.67. As for Fish in the Dark, it brought in $1,208,230, which represents 116.09% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $497.00, the average paid admission was $138.57.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending May 17, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-05-17-15-1

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $577,859 6,143 84.66% $94.07
AIRLINE HIGHWAY $180,476 3,591 71.59% $50.26
ALADDIN $1,467,090 13,788 100.03% $106.40
AN ACT OF GOD $738,682 6,489 80.63% $113.84
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,280,111 13,417 99.89% $95.41
BEAUTIFUL $1,124,463 7,979 97.21% $140.93
CHICAGO $667,974 8,184 94.72% $81.62
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,067,924 10,846 90.14% $98.46
FISH IN THE DARK $1,208,230 8,719 101.57% $138.57
FUN HOME $587,716 5,985 102.48% $98.20
GIGI $493,858 7,301 65.94% $67.64
HAND TO GOD $427,117 5,533 88.44% $77.19
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $448,280 5,207 73.87% $86.09
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $418,416 6,231 76.96% $67.15
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $639,751 6,545 75.96% $97.75
JERSEY BOYS $686,201 6,998 71.23% $98.06
KINKY BOOTS $1,017,917 9,947 87.32% $102.33
LES MISÉRABLES $675,325 8,800 78.07% $76.74
MAMMA MIA! $730,105 8,317 89.16% $87.78
MATILDA $846,868 10,693 93.34% $79.20
ON THE TOWN $614,881 9,756 65.07% $63.03
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $582,568 5,794 100.31% $100.55
SKYLIGHT $775,421 6,392 99.63% $121.31
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $950,418 12,436 93.25% $76.42
THE AUDIENCE $1,194,528 7,576 101.24% $157.67
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,534,408 8,743 102.52% $175.50
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $766,673 7,641 93.82% $100.34
THE KING AND I $1,001,947 8,376 100.00% $119.62
THE LION KING $1,966,567 13,508 99.32% $145.59
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $883,247 10,859 84.57% $81.34
THE VISIT $211,430 3,981 55.23% $53.11
WICKED $1,601,725 13,959 96.56% $114.74
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $734,344 6,711 60.66% $109.42
Total $28,102,518 276,445 87.13% $99.28

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