Jennifer R Jones

About Jennifer R Jones

With over 20 years experience in the Broadway field, including marketing, production, development and show investment, Jennifer R Jones is an all-around subject-matter-expert in the Broadway business. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and her iMac and tries to see at least five Broadway shows per week.

Fall Gears Up for Slew of New NYC TV Shows

Neil Patrick Harris’ “Best Time Ever” Premieres Sept 15th on NBC

neil patrick harris best time everIn fall 2015, a lot of changes are afoot on network television. Neil Patrick Harris, the beloved star of stage and screen from such shows as Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch and CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, has a new variety show coming to NBC. The name of this show has been announced: Best Time Ever. The variety show will be based off of the British program on ITV called Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. A teaser was shown during this year’s Super Bowl, which thoroughly excited Harris’ huge fan base, but the name and premiere date were only announced recently. This past week, NBC set its fall premiere dates and Best Time Ever is set to begin a week before the rest of the shows. Best Time Ever will launch on Tuesday, September 15th at 10:00pm, after the finale of America’s Got Talent. For the majority of its run, however, it will be at the 8:00pm slot on Tuesdays. The variety show includes a mixture of comedy, musical numbers, performances, sketches, and celebrity guests, and therefore is suitable for an early evening demographic. The rest of the NBC new programming will start the following week.

“Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Daily Show with Trevor Noah”late show stephen colbert

As for late night television, two programs are launching their new hosts this fall. Stephen Colbert, who has been on leave from late night since wrapping up The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, will premiere his new part as host of the Late Show on September 8, 2015 on CBS. This also marks a summer break for Late Show, as David Letterman hosted his final episode of Late Show with David Letterman on May 20, 2015. Over the summer, the network opted to air reruns of sitcoms rather than reruns of Late Show, so that fans will be eager for the new host after having been without any episodes for the summer. Colbert’s first hosts have not yet been disclosed, but he has launched a podcast and website while his writing team is busy conceiving the new show, as well as the Colbert demeanor without the faux daily show with trevor noahconservative Colbert character from The Colbert Report. In addition, the Daily Show on Comedy Central will be undergoing a shift in leadership. Jon Stewart steps down with his final episode airing August 6, 2015. After a short break, Trevor Noah will step into his shoes, with the first show airing September 28, 2015. Trevor Noah was a controversial choice for the Daily Show replacement, as he is a 31 year-old relatively inexperienced comedian from South Africa. After the announcement was made, there was a bit of a backlash on social media with some fans declaring him a racist and anti-Semite. However, this is likely a resistance to anyone replacing the beloved Jon Stewart, and Comedy Central stands behind their choice of Trevor Noah as a new face on their network.

Dr. Phil to Launch New TV Show in Fall 2016dr phil

Looking ahead to the following fall, Dr. Phil McGraw, best known just as Dr. Phil, has partnered with DailyMail.com to launch a new syndicated television show. Like much of the content currently on the site, this show will focus on celebrity news. It is not yet clear whether Dr. Phil will be a regular on-camera presence on the show, only that he will appear if the Daily Mail wants to run interviews he has done for his own show, Dr. Phil. The producers of this new show will be Dr. Phil, his son Jay, and Carla Pennington, who is the executive producer of Dr. Phil. The show will most likely be based in New York, although there are plans to have studios in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Sydney. The new DailyMail show will be distributed by CBS, which also distributes Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil declared that he saw an opportunity to create something utterly unique, unlike anything else on TV. Further details are yet to come to describe exactly what this will be.

“Skylight” Completes Run on a High Note

Tony Award Winning Best Revival Concludes Run

skylight posterOn June 21, 2015, Skylight played its final performance of its Tony Award winning run. It had been running since it began previews on March 13, 2015, and opening night took place on April 2, 2015. Skylight is a play by David Hare (The Year of Magical Thinking, The Vertical Hour) the premiered in the West End in 1995, followed by a Broadway premiere in 1996. The 2015 revival at the John Golden Theatre is likewise a transfer from the West End, where Stephen Daldry’s production ran in 2014. Stephen Daldry is the extremely prolific theatre director whose credits this season alone also include the highly acclaimed Broadway production of The Audience, as well as earlier productions on Broadway of Billy Elliot: The Musical, An Inspector Calls, and Via Dolorosa, the last of which was also written by David Hare. This revival of Skylight was nominated for seven Tony Awards, taking home only one but a prestigious one: the award for Best Revival of a Play. Of the three actors in the play – Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy, and Matthew Beard – all received nominations for their performances, which were, respectively, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. Stephen Daldry received a nomination for his direction, and the scenic designer and lighting designer were also honored with nominations.

Recoupment and Escalating Box Officecarey mulligan bill nighy skylight

On May 31, 2015, Skylight announced that it had recouped its initial capitalization, which is suspected to be in the realm of $3 million. Its highest weekly gross was achieved in the final week of performances, when the show brought in $927,539, representing 108.09% of its gross potential. The penultimate week was also an excellent one for Skylight’s box office, bringing in $865,346, which represents 100.85% of its gross potential. Though it took the final two weeks to reach the heights of 100% or higher of gross potential, the box office throughout the run was really not bad. With only two minor exceptions, every single week showed an increase in box office from the week before. In the first full week of eight performances, the week ending March 29, 2015, the weekly gross was $618,692, representing 76.54% of its gross potential. The only two occasions where the box office took a dip from the week before were the week ending May 10, 2015, and the week ending May 31, 2015, which were the insignificant decreases of $12,606 and $16,475, respectively. Therefore, ticket buyers became more interested in Skylight as the run went on, due likely to positive word of mouth, reviews, and then the announcement of Tony nominations and wins.

Another Coup for Scott Rudin

The lead producers of Skylight were Robert Fox and Scott Rudin. Rudin is known for his excellent productions of both new plays and revivals, generally starring a major Hollywood name. This season alone, Rudin was also responsible for the already recouped Fish in the Dark, the highly acclaimed A Delicate Balance, and the excellent revival of This Is Our Youth. He also had a hand in The Audience, The River, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. In previous seasons, he has mounted such hits as The Book of Mormon, Death of a Salesman starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Motherf**ker with the Hat, and countless others. Therefore, an investment with Rudin is generally a good bet, as is buying a ticket to a show that he has produced.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/14/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Fish in the Dark” Took Major Hit with Jason Alexander Replacing Larry David

In the week ending June 14, 2015, Larry David’s blandly reviewed but heretofore top-selling comedy Fish in the Dark brought in $842,633 at the box office. This is a decrease of $403,563 from the week before. In almost every single week of the show’s run so far, it has brought in over one million dollars per week, and reached over 110% of its gross potential. However this past week, it only reached 80.97% of its gross potential. The reason is too clear to be denied: Jason Alexander took over the lead role from Larry David this week. Larry David, whose last performance was on June 7, 2015, has proven himself to be a huge draw at the box office. Even though the show was reviewed by most critics as less than magnificent, David lured fans in immense numbers for every single week in which he appeared onstage. Jason Alexander played Larry David’s surrogate George Costanza on the TV show “Seinfeld” for many years, and he is also a very successful actor on both stage and screen. However, it is probably the fact that Alexander is such a usual face on Broadway that made fans less interested in seeing him in this role. On the other hand, David was making his Broadway debut, and fans were dying to see him in person, even if the overall play was less than gut wrenchingly hilarious.

Tony Awards Had Only Small Impact on Sales This Week

This week was the first full week of Broadway performances since the Tony Awards, which took place on June 7, 2015. The biggest award, that for Best Musical, was given to Fun Home. Still, in the week ending June 14, 2015, Fun Home brought in $716,631, which is an increase of only $63,701 from the week before. It is true that Fun Home is in the very small Circle in the Square Theatre, which has a low ceiling on the number of audience members it can accommodate. Still, this week Fun Home brought in 94.26% of its gross potential, where other shows bring in over 100% due to premium ticket sales. Therefore, there is still room for growth in audience interest in this Tony Award winning Best Musical. As for An American in Paris, which some thought to be Fun Home’s biggest competition for that award, it showed a similar minor increase in ticket sales. This past week, it brought in $1,399,818, which is an increase of $31,084 from the week before. It barely beat out Fun Home in terms of percentage reached of gross potential, achieving 95.14% of its potential. As for Something Rotten!, the third and only other possible contender for the Best Musical award (no one thought The Visit would win), it brought in $1,178,048 this past week, which is an increase of $144,556 from the week before. Therefore, though it only reached 92.77% of its gross potential, it still saw a greater increase than either of the other two Best Musical nominees, proving that the winners of Tony Awards saw only a minor impact in comparison to those nominees that lost, at least in this first week right after the ceremony.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 14, 2015:Broadway Show Ticket Gross analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $553,366 6,046 83.32% $91.53
ALADDIN $1,592,508 13,786 100.01% $115.52
AN ACT OF GOD $852,902 6,889 85.60% $123.81
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,399,818 13,345 99.35% $104.89
BEAUTIFUL $993,724 7,607 92.68% $130.63
CHICAGO $702,637 8,392 97.13% $83.73
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,172,903 11,920 99.07% $98.40
FISH IN THE DARK $842,633 7,781 90.65% $108.29
FUN HOME $716,631 6,116 103.31% $117.17
GIGI $508,643 6,482 58.54% $78.47
HAND TO GOD $389,264 4,585 74.24% $84.90
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $456,585 4,858 68.92% $93.99
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $403,081 6,151 75.98% $65.53
JERSEY BOYS $681,426 7,144 72.72% $95.38
KINKY BOOTS $880,700 8,462 74.28% $104.08
LES MISÉRABLES $639,481 8,160 72.39% $78.37
MAMMA MIA! $776,089 8,773 94.05% $88.46
MATILDA $1,058,673 11,446 99.91% $92.49
ON THE TOWN $559,983 8,360 55.76% $66.98
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $609,744 5,717 98.98% $106.65
SKYLIGHT $865,346 6,416 100.00% $134.87
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,178,048 12,195 91.44% $96.60
THE AUDIENCE $1,171,220 7,577 101.26% $154.58
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,494,196 8,748 102.58% $170.80
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $885,114 8,015 98.42% $110.43
THE KING AND I $1,109,198 8,115 96.88% $136.68
THE LION KING $2,102,748 13,500 99.26% $155.76
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $980,877 11,657 90.79% $84.14
THE VISIT $274,465 4,613 64.00% $59.50
WICKED $1,954,144 15,332 99.51% $127.46
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $581,972 5,978 54.03% $97.35
Totals $28,388,117 264,166 86.94% $105.08

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

“Fun Home” and “Curious Incident” Win Big at the Tony Awards

Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth Host at Radio City Music Hall

alan cumming and kristin chenowethLast night, the 69th Annual Tony Awards took place at Radio City Music Hall, hosted by Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth. After much excitement, the winners were revealed, amidst many gorgeous musical numbers performed by shows that were nominated, as well as by shows that received no nominations. At the end of the night, the final and most anticipated award was announced: Fun Home took home the Tony Award for Best Musical. Arguably the most prestigious and meaningful award among a list of huge honors, this award will ensure that Fun Home continues to run for at least another year if not many more. After transferring from the Off-Broadway Public Theater, Fun Home has been playing at the small Circle in the Square Theatre since March 27, 2015. Though it has been playing to sold out houses, it has not been reaching the top of its money earning potential. This past week, the week ending June 7, 2015, it made only 87.60% of its gross potential. That is sure to change immediately, as the tiny venue can only accommodate 776 people, by far the smallest house on Broadway. Time will tell whether the show will need to transfer to a larger venue to meet demand, or whether it will just become an extremely tough ticket.

Best Play, Best Revivals, Best Actors, and Best Directorscurious incident

The other very prestigious honor at the Tony Awards is that for Best Play, which was earned by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Having transferred to Broadway from the National Theatre in London, this show took home 5 of the 6 awards for which it was nominated. In addition to Best Play, it won the awards for Best Direction of a Play for Marianne Elliott, Best Actor in a Leading Performance in a Play for Alex Sharp, Best Lighting Design of a Play for Paule Constable, and Best Scenic Design of a Play for Bunny Christie and Finn Ross. As for revivals, the award for Best Revival of a Play was earned by Skylight, which did not earn any of the other awards for which it was nominated. These include three acting awards, for Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy, and Matthew Beard, none of whom took home an award for their performances, as well as the award for Best Direction, which Stephen Daldry lost to Marianne Elliott. The award for Best Revival of a Musical was given to The King and I. That show also earned the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, given to Kelli O’Hara. This is the sixth time this wonderful actress has been nominated for a Tony Award, and the first time that she won. The award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play was given to Helen Mirren for The Audience, and the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical was given to Michael Cerveris for Fun Home. Finally, Sam Gold took home the award for Best Direction of a Musical, also for Fun Home.

Writing and Composing Awards

fun homeWhereas the creators of straight plays are honored through the awards for Best Play and Best Revival of a Play, separate awards are given to the book writers, as well as the composers and lyricists, of musicals. These awards are in addition to the awards for Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical, which are generally accepted by the producers. The award for Best Original Score was given to Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, who wrote the music and lyrics respectively for Fun Home. The award for Best Book of a Musical was also given to Lisa Kron for Fun Home. Whereas this year the award for Best Musical served basically the same purpose as these two awards, sometimes the recipients do differ. In this case, the three separate honors proved irrefutably that Fun Home is the most exciting new musical of the year. Something Rotten!, which was the only show nominated for Best Musical not based on a previous work, was only recognized once, when Christian Borle took home the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. Still, that show was nominated for a total of ten awards, which is certainly no small honor. As for An American in Paris, which was considered to be the next most likely show to win Best Musical, it only took home the awards for Best Choreography for Christopher Wheeldon, as well as Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, and Best Lighting Design, showing that the Tony voters ultimately considered it to be a beautiful ballet show, but not dramatically substantial enough to win the highest honor of the event.

“The King and I” Extends and Announces National Tour

Nine Tony Nominations and Indefinite Extension

the king and iWhen Lincoln Center’s current revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I opened on April 16, 2015, it received a full round of rave reviews from critics. Then, it received nine Tony Award nominations, including those for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Ken Watanabe, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for Kelli O’Hara, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Ruthie Ann Miles, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Direction for Bartlett Sher, and Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli. Ken Watanabe received this nomination in his Broadway debut, and Kelli O’Hara received her sixth Tony nomination; perhaps this will be her first and long-awaited win. Furthermore, since the nominations were announced, the box office has broken the million dollar mark for the weekly grosses, and there it has stayed for three weeks and running. With all of this good news, Lincoln Center announced that the musical will be extended indefinitely at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. This is big news for the 51 member company, who will continue to play for months to come.

National Tour to Commence November 2016the king and i

In addition to the news of the indefinite extension, the producers announced that this revival of The King and I will embark on a national tour to begin in November of 2016, launching in Providence, Rhode Island. Throughout the 2016 to 2017 season, the show will play a mixture of multi-week and single week runs in different cities throughout the nation. It has not yet been announced what the cast will be, or whether it will be an Equity or non-Equity tour, which is always a matter of some discussion given the costs and benefits to both producers and company. Comparably in 2008, Bartlett Sher directed another revival of a timeless musical – South Pacific – also starring Kelli O’Hara and also produced by Lincoln Center Theatre. That show, too, was a huge success, extending at first indefinitely and ultimately running for 996 performances, in addition to 37 preview performances. When South Pacific began its national tour, it did so in a non-Equity production with a smaller orchestra in order to save costs. It is possible that The King and I will follow suit, although that may stir some controversy.

Rave Reviews and Excellent Box Office

Upon the show’s opening, Ben Brantley of The New York Times found The King and I to be impressive and resplendent, relishing in the detailed revival. David Cote of Time Out New York found the show to be majestic, pointing out the timelessness of this masterpiece. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter found the revival to be breathtaking and magnificent, praising not only the large scale of the production but also its fine quality. Steven Suskin of The Huffington Post enjoyed that the show was produced as written, rather than taking unnecessary artistic liberties, thereby preserving the classic. Robert Kahn of NBC New York was equally smitten by the production, impressed by the cast of over 50 and deeming Kelli O’Hara’s performance astonishing. Following suit, the box office has been excellent. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending May 31, 2015, The King and I brought in $1,095,371, which is the largest weekly gross in the run thus far. This is still only 89.90% of the show’s gross potential, but it shows much promises to continue increasing in upcoming weeks. With a top ticket price of $297.00, that week’s average paid admission was $130.77. Therefore, audience members are willing to pay top dollar to see the revival of this classic, with such a breathtaking production and magnificent reviews.

“Finding Neverland” Thrives Despite Tony Snub

Broadway Proving Not So Welcoming to Harvey Weinstein

finding neverland posterHarvey Weinstein, the mega powerful film producer and distributor whose countless credits include Shakespeare in Love, Gangs of New York, The Artist, and The King’s Speech, has served as lead producer for the first time of a Broadway show. Finding Neverland, based on the 2004 film of the same name which Weinstein executive produced, is a new musical that has been running at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre since it began previews on March 15, 2015. Its official opening night was April 15, 2015. Technically, Weinstein has been on the producing team of several Broadway shows in the past such as The Producers and Billy Elliot, but his involvement with those shows was almost exclusively financial. With Finding Neverland, he takes on the full producing responsibility for the first time on Broadway. Unfortunately, Broadway is proving a tough nut to crack, even for a man as powerful as Weinstein. The most important recognition that a show can receive is the Tony Award, and Finding Neverland was nominated for a grand total of zero of these awards. Proving the hostility Weinstein felt towards the Broadway community, he rescinded the invitations to the approximately 700 Tony voters, who are generally offered a free pair of tickets to all shows on Broadway. Though he had already sent out those invitations prior to the nominations, he bitterly revoked the offer upon the show receiving no nominations.

A Pitiful Series of Reviewsfinding neverland

In line with the Tony nominating committee’s decision not to recognize Finding Neverland, the show received almost entirely negative reviews after its opening night. Ben Brantley of The New York Times disdained the show, not falling for the strength of the brand name of the show or its stars, Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison. David Cote of Time Out New York was equally unimpressed, calling the show awkward, garish, and manipulative. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter reported that the show was severely lacking in charm, despite admitting that it is probably critic-proof due to the strong brand name and pre-opening ticket sales. Jesse Green of Vulture found the show utterly false and therefore deeply frustrating. Robert Kahn of NBC New York was only slightly more generous, admitting there is some thrilling stage magic but ultimately finding it erratic. However, as The Hollywood Reporter presaged, the show is proving immune to these negative reviews, as it has been over the million dollar mark at the box office for every full week of its run so far.

Strong Box Office and Celebrity Album

finding neverlandThough Weinstein may be aggravated by the lack of full welcome to the Broadway community, his ticketbuyers don’t seem to be devastated. In the most recently reported week of ticket sales, the week ending May 24, 2015, Finding Neverland brought in a weekly gross of $1,107,925, which is almost exactly how much the weekly gross has been since its first full week ending March 22, 2015, give or take $100,000 at the most. That weekly gross represents 75.06% of the show’s gross potential, and the audience capacity was an average of 94.2% full. Therefore, there is some room for growth still in the box office grosses, but failing motivation from Tony recognition or critical appreciation, Weinstein is trying another approach. One innovation he has introduced is that he is releasing an album of celebrities singing the score for Finding Neverland, though most of these celebrities are not involved with the show. This is pure promotion, and Weinstein clearly knows how to pull a lot of strings. The extensive list of impressive singers on the album include Christina Aguilera, Nick Jonas, Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend, the Goo Goo Dolls, Kiesza, Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding, and Matthew Morrison, only the last of which is actually in the cast of the show. The album is to be released on June 9, 2015 via Republic Records, although pre-sales started on May 12, 2015. In addition to providing another income stream for the show, this album is sure to spur continued interest in the Broadway musical, which is still looking for that last boost to reach its full gross potential.

Four Newly Opened Shows Vie for Best Musical

“An American in Paris,” “Fun Home,” “Something Rotten!” and “The Visit”

fun homeOn June 7, 2015, the Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall. The most prestigious and significant award is arguably that for Best Musical. This year there are four nominees for that honor: An American in Paris, Fun Home, Something Rotten! and The Visit. It will certainly be a tough race, and it is difficult to determine which the favorite will be among Tony voters. A somewhat less prominent Broadway awards ceremony, the Outer Critics Circle Awards, just announced their winners, which may or may not presage the Tony results. Of the five nominees for the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, three overlap with the Tony nominees, but Fun Home was excluded from the options, while It Shoulda Been You and The Last Ship were also included. The winner was An American in Paris. Still, many believe that Fun Home and also Something Rotten! have a fighting chance at this year’s awards. The Visit, on the other hand, is a nod to its creators John Kander and Fred Ebb, but there is little chance that show will prove victorious on the big day.

Post-Opening Critical Responsesomething rotten

If the critical reaction to these musicals means anything for their Tony prospects, then it does seem that it’s most likely a race between An American in Paris and Fun Home. When An American in Paris opened on April 12, 2015, the New York Times gave it a rave, as did most other critics. Charles Isherwood called the ballet musical adapted from the film of the same name “rhapsodic,” “witty,” and “vivifying.” Of the major press, only David Cote from Time Out New York was on the fence, deeming the quality of the show “patchwork,” though admittedly “lavish,” and believing it to be principally a dance show with a storyline squeezed in between the numbers. As for Fun Home, all the main reviewers were extremely impressed, with Ben Brantley of The New York Times describing Visit-Broadway-Musical-Chita-Rivera-Tickets-176-012818it as a universal detective story. He was relieved and revitalized by the breath of fresh air that this show is in comparison to the often recycled nature of Broadway fare. Furthermore, Adam Feldman of Time Out New York found Fun Home to be graceful and moving. As for Something Rotten!, many critics were moved and delighted by this original take on the origin of the musical in Shakespearean times, but the most well regarded critic, Ben Brantley of The New York Times, vehemently disagreed. He was not impressed by the unchecked enthusiasm on display, and he was bored by the repetitive nature of the wannabe showstopper. Still, many other critics were impressed, such as David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter, who found the show rambunctious and magnificently cheesy. As for The Visit, the reviews were decidedly mixed.

If Box Office Has Any Bearing on the Awardsan american in paris

Furthermore, the box office response is interesting to consider in light of the show’s potential at the Tony Awards. Ever since the Tony nominations were announced in late April, An American in Paris has been firmly in the millionaire’s club, which cannot be said of any of the other three nominees. This past week, the week ending May 17, 2015, the show brought in $1,280,111, which represents 87.01% of its gross potential. It was full to 99.9% capacity, which demonstrates a small amount of discounting. Fun Home, on the other hand, is having a more difficult time attracting an audience. Though reviews are splendid and buzz is abounding, the highest week thus far, which was this past week, brought in a weekly gross of $587,716, representing 78.85% of its gross potential. The show is playing in the much smaller Circle in the Square Theatre, but still it is having difficulty keeping up with An American in Paris, even in terms of percentage of gross potential. Nevertheless, this past week it had filled 102.5% of its audience capacity, so the energy is high in the theatre and excitement is sure to pick up as the Tony’s approach. Something Rotten! has also been creeping up since the Tony nominee announcements, reaching a high this past week of $950,418, representing 91.74% of its gross potential. The Visit, on the other hand, is barely staying afloat, bringing in only $211,430 this past week, which represents only 27.72% of its gross potential. Chances are that The Visit will close soon after the Tony Awards.

“Hand to God” Opens to Rave Reviews

Irreverent Puppet Comedy Up for Best Play

hand to god On April 7, 2015, Robert Askins’ Hand to God officially opened at the Booth Theatre. It had been playing in previews since March 14, 2015. This new play has traveled a long and untraditional journey to make it to Broadway, where both the playwright and director, as well as several actors, are making their Broadway debuts. The show first premiered Off-Broadway (arguably Off-Off-Broadway) at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in October 2011. This small theatre on the west side of midtown shepherds new writing and acting talent through a variety of productions, community building, and education initiatives, but never before has it sent a show all the way to Broadway. After the play received such positive response, it returned to EST for a continued engagement in February 2012. After repeated extensions, the show then transferred to a more prestigious Off-Broadway venue, the Lucille Lortel Theatre, where it was mounted in March 2014 in a co-production with MCC Theatre, run by the renowned casting agent Bernard Telsey. Like at EST, the show was directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, and several of the cast members returned, including the lead actor Steven Boyer. Finally, in spring 2015, the show made it to Broadway, and it has now been nominated for the prestigious Tony Award for Best Play.

All Around Rave Reviews for this Unlikely Broadway Showhand to god

Upon its opening, critics left and right praised the play for its wit, humor, and excellent production. Charles Isherwood in The New York Times found the play darkly delightful, deeming it a very welcome misfit among the Broadway fare out there this season. Jesse Green in Vulture magazine loved what he called Broadway’s unlikeliest new must-see play, comparing the antihero of this play, the sock puppet Tyrone, among the infamous historical antiheroes in such works as Sweeney Todd. David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter compared the sock puppet to the Bad Idea Bears in Avenue Q, praising this play both for being commercially risky and bold, as well as for being a welcome breath of fresh air. Joe Dziemianowicz in the New York Daily News found the play ridiculously raunchy and funny, proclaiming that is bound to leave the audience sore from laughing. In addition, Matt Windman in AM New York found the play both dark and smart, congratulating it on being one hell of a success story, resulting in making Broadway a more exciting place.

Five Tony Award Nominations and Steadily Increasing Box Office

Hand to God was nominated for five Tony Awards. These are Best New Play, Best Director for Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Steven Boyer, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Geneva Carr, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for Sarah Stiles. This is a major achievement for a play that never expected to be compared to such timeless shows as the others that have made it to Broadway. Whether or not the play wins any or all of these awards, this is sure to have increased to notoriety for this play which was surely a risky commercial bet. In fact, the producers were so aware that the play was a risk that the advertising campaign made light of it, pointing directly to the fact that the play had no major stars, was not based off of a movie, nor did it transfer from London. The plea: Pray for Us. It seems that America’s prayers have worked, as not only is the show recognized for awards, but the box office has been creeping up steadily because of it. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending May 10, 2015, the show brought in a weekly gross of $400,886. Though this is still only 59.33% of its gross potential, that is a significant jump from its first full week of performances, when the show brought in only $217,974.

Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth to Host Tony Awards

Two Tony Winners Emcee on June 7th

alan cumming kristin chenowethOn June 7, 2015, the 69th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall. The hosts have been announced: Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth. These two beloved stars are both Tony winners themselves, and they also both starred in musicals that played this season. Alan Cumming revived his magnificent role as the Emcee of Cabaret in this past year’s revival, a role that he played opposite first Michelle Williams, then Emma Stone, and finally Sienna Miller. As that production was an exact revival of an earlier revival production, with the same directors Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, as well as the same star Alan Cumming playing the Emcee, it was not eligible for the Best Revival award category. As such, Cabaret did not receive any nominations this year. However, Alan Cumming did receive the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for playing that role in the 1998 production of Cabaret. As an award-winning emcee, therefore, he is the perfect emcee for this awards event. Furthermore, Kristin Chenoweth starred in On the Twentieth Century, a revival of a musical comedy by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Cy Coleman. That production has received five Tony Award nominations, including one for Kristin for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. Its other nominations are those for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Andy Karl, Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design.

A Broadway History of Alan Cummingalan cumming

On top of the two productions of Cabaret, Alan Cumming has been on Broadway an additional three times. In 2001, he played Otto in a production of Noel Coward’s Design for Living. In 2006, he played Macheath in a production of The Three Penny Opera. And very notoriously, in 2013, he played Macbeth in a one-man production of that Shakespeare classic, first at Lincoln Center and then at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. In addition to his Tony Award for the earlier revival of Cabaret, Cumming has received four Olivier Awards: the British equivalent of the Tonys. He received an analogous award for his role in Cabaret in 1994. He also received an Olivier Award for the Comedy Performance of the Year for La Bete in 1993. Before that, he received the same comedy award for his performance in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and he was commended as Best Newcomer in a Play by the Oliviers in 1988 for Conquest of the South Pole.

A Broadway History of Kristin Chenoweth

kristin chenowethAs for Kristin, she has been nominated for Tony Awards twice before, winning one. She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 1999 for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. In 2004, she was nominated for her role as Glinda in Wicked for the award for Best Actress in a Musical, although she did not win (instead, Idina Menzel won the same award for the same production for her role as Elphaba). This is now her third Tony Award nomination. Furthermore, she starred as Fran Kubelik in Promises, Promises in 2010, and she played Eve among other roles in the 2006-2007 production of The Apple Tree. Before Wicked, she also played Louise Goldman in the 1999 production of Epic Proportions as well as a series of roles in the 1997 production of Steel Pier, as well as her star turn in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

“The Heidi Chronicles” Wraps Up Its Run Early

Difficulty Catching Hold at the Box Office

On February 23, 2015, a revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s 1989 play The Heidi Chronicles began previews at Broadways Music Box Theatre. Following the show’s opening on March 19, 2015, it received generally very positive reviews. The play is considered a modern feminist masterpiece, traversing through the life of a woman named Heidi Holland, from her school days to her later career as an art historian, dealing with issues ranging from motherhood to settling down with a partner. heidi chroniclesThe 2015 revival starred Elisabeth Moss, who is well known for her role as Peggy Olson on “Mad Men,” in addition to stage roles such as Speed-the-Plow on Broadway and The Children’s Hour in the West End. Moss’ performance was highly praised in particular, and her co-stars Jason Biggs (American Pie, “Orange is the New Black”) and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) also were reported to have given excellent performances. The show was directed by Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park), and produced by Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel. Nevertheless, despite the good notices, this was an example of a play merely failing to catch hold at the box office, with audience members inundated with too many other exciting choices.

Elisabeth Moss Nominated for a Tony Award

In an unusual move, the play announced its closing prior to the disclosure of the Tony Award nominations. In any case, Elisabeth Moss was nominated for the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. She is going up against Helen Mirren from The Audience, Geneva Carr from Hand to God, Carey Mulligan from Skylight, and Ruth Wilson from Constellations. That race is not a clear one, and any of the women may end up taking home the award. Still, that is the only Tony nominations that the play received, as it failed to receive the coveted honor of being nominated for Best Revival of a Play. Also, Pam MacKinnon, who has been previously recognized by the Tony committee, did not receive a nomination for Best Director of a Play. If Elisabeth Moss wins, therefore, it cannot help to spur sales for the already closed production. Still, it would be a great honor for the highly talented actress. The original Broadway production, which was mounted in 1989 to 1990, received the Tony Award for Best Play, and Joan Allen in the role of Heidi Holland was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play as well.

heidi chronicles elisabeth mossClosing on May 3 After 80 Performances Total

On April 21, 2015, the producers announced that the last performance of the 2015 revival of The Heidi Chronicles would take place on Sunday, May 3, 2015. It closed having played 27 preview performances followed by 53 regular performances, totaling 80. In contrast, the original production played 630 performances. This revival had a capitalization between $3.5 million and $4 million, and it will close having failed to recoup this investment. The total gross that the show brought in was not much higher than $2.5 million, but weekly running costs took a large chunk of that. The highest weekly gross that the show managed to accumulate was in the final week, ending May 3, 2015, when the show brought in $378,471. This is only slightly higher than the second highest weekly gross from the week ending April 12, 2015, when the show brought in $368,596. The show never brought in more than 42.47% of its gross potential in any given week, and the audience capacity never averaged higher than 74.7% even with heavy discounting. Therefore, this revival will go down in history as a financial flop, although it was a critical success, and it may yet have a chance to take home one Tony award as well.