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.

“Thérèse Raquin” Begins Previews on Broadway

Roundabout Theatre Company Production Starring Keira Knightley

therese raquinOn October 1, 2015, Thérèse Raquin began previews at Studio 54, one of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s two Broadway venues. This is a new adaptation of the play written by Helen Edmundson, based off of Émile Zola’s 1867 novel and subsequent play of the same name. Many stage and screen adaptations have been written of this work since that time, but this new production is of an adaptation commissioned directly by Roundabout Theatre Company. Helen Edmundson has previously had one production on Broadway of a play she adapted from a book; that was the 2007 production of Coram Boy. The show is directed by Evan Cabnet, who has directed many Off Broadway shows to great acclaim and previously directed The Performers on Broadway in 2012. Thérèse Raquin deals with a young woman named Thérèse, played by Keira Knightley, who is stuck in a loveless marriage to a man named Camille Raquin, played by Gabriel Ebert who won a Tony Award for his performance in Matilda the Musical. Her mother-in-law, Madame Raquin, is played by Tony Award winner Judith Light. When she meets her husband’s childhood friend Laurent, played by Matt Ryan, a craze of passion overwhelms her.

Keira Knightley’s Broadway Debuttherese raquin

There is much anticipation for the Broadway debut of Keira Knightley, who is very well known for her screen performances in such works as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, the highly acclaimed 2007 film Atonement, and more recently the 2015 film The Imitation Game for which she also received an Academy Award nomination, but this time for Best Supporting Actress. Her recognizable screen credits are in fact too many to list, and yet she has also had her stage outings, though not on Broadway until now. In 2009, she played Jennifer in the West End production of The Misanthrope, for which she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role. In 2011, she returned to the West End to star in The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman, where she played opposite Elisabeth Moss as school mistresses falsely accused of being in a lesbian relationship in the 1930s. Thérèse Raquin is therefore her third professional stage performance on this major scale. Nevertheless, this production demonstrates Knightley’s genuine interest in classical works, not just in glitzy Hollywood roles, as she plays alongside tried and true theatre names such as Gabriel Ebert and Judith Light.

The Exploration of a Group of Caged Animals

Keira Knightley has said that this play is about a bunch of caged animals. In fact, the story of Thérèse Raquin has historically been understood in this way. In his novel, Zola refers to both Thérèse and Laurent as “human brutes,” and there are also references to the “mechanical man,” who acts in an unthinking way, even lesser than an animal but closer to a machine. Thérèse owns a shop that is compared to a tomb, and she watches corpses walk by her each day. All in all, this is a study of the temperaments of those forced to remain in captivity, and it is fascinating to see how passion springs forth so strongly after a period of repression.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 9/27/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Two New Shows: “The Gin Game” and “Dames at Sea”

In the week ending September 27, 2015, two new shows began previews on Broadway. The first, The Gin Game, started previews on September 23, 2015 and played 6 performances in its first week. Starring Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones, this two hander by D.L. Coburn was directed by Leonard Foglia. In its first partial week, the show brought in $321,538, which represents 53.98% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $223.00, the average paid admission was $68.40, and the average audience capacity was 97.7%. This demonstrates a fair amount of discounting, and also the first preview performance is often fully or mostly given away as complimentary tickets to friends of the production. Therefore, the first week of previews is often skewed, and this may account for the lower average gross across the preview performances. As for Dames at Sea, this show began previews on September 24, 2015, and played five shows in the first week. A lesser known show and starring lesser name actors, Dames at Sea brought in only $144,944, which represents 39.44% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of an ambitious $277.00, the average paid admission was $56.11. The average audience capacity was 88.6%, showing less overall interest even with significant discounting. Of a potential 2,915 seats to sell over the partial week, the production sold 2,583.

An Overall Slump Week for Broadway

In comparison to the previous week, the week ending September 27, 2015 saw an overall decrease of $1,349,637 across the 26 shows currently running. Other than the two shows that began previews this week, as well as Old Times and Fool for Love which played their first full weeks of eight performances this week, there were only three shows that demonstrated an increase in ticket sales this week. Those were Hamilton with an increase of $22,105, Beautiful with an increase of $20,859, and The Book of Mormon with an increase of $11,419. All of these were modest increases. Otherwise, all the presently running shows saw a decrease in sales. The biggest decrease was seen by Les Miserables, which went down by $161,507, bringing in a weekly gross of $675,925. Finding Neverland also had a significant decrease of $145,952, bringing in a weekly gross of $735,143. Wicked went down by $144,379 to reach a weekly gross of $1,426,156, and Something Rotten! went down by $142,840 to reach a weekly gross of $837,128. Two British shows also saw six figure decreases, with Matilda going down by $141,565, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time going down by $138,402. Further six figure decreases were seen by Jersey Boys with a decrease of $128,332, Chicago with a decrease of $122,946, The King and I with a decrease of $121,833, The Phantom of the Opera with a decrease of $109,682, and Aladdin with a decrease of $102,846. The reason for this slump is not exactly clear, but may be attributed to the fact that the fall season is still just gearing up, and many of the new shows have not begun previews yet. On the other hand, many New Yorkers are preoccupied with the start of the school year and other fall activities.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending September 27, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-09-27-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn  %Capacity  AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $485,184 6,330 87.24% $76.65
ALADDIN $1,347,833 13,491 97.65% $99.91
AMAZING GRACE $256,284 4,240 45.61% $60.44
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,301,184 12,055 89.75% $107.94
BEAUTIFUL $1,042,972 8,208 100.00% $127.07
CHICAGO $601,777 7,267 84.11% $82.81
DAMES AT SEA $144,944 2,583 88.61% $56.11
FINDING NEVERLAND $735,143 9,201 76.47% $79.90
FOOL FOR LOVE $239,768 4,022 78.68% $59.61
FUN HOME $703,265 5,980 101.01% $117.60
HAMILTON $1,567,451 10,712 101.36% $146.33
HAND TO GOD $205,062 2,821 45.68% $72.69
JERSEY BOYS $650,035 6,802 69.24% $95.57
KINKY BOOTS $901,823 9,336 81.95% $96.60
LES MISÉRABLES $675,925 7,913 70.20% $85.42
MATILDA $624,478 8,046 70.23% $77.61
OLD TIMES $358,413 4,976 84.05% $72.03
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $837,128 9,542 79.31% $87.73
SPRING AWAKENING $375,985 7,204 87.77% $52.19
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,489,769 8,733 102.40% $170.59
THE GIN GAME $321,528 4,701 97.69% $68.40
THE KING AND I $886,004 7,643 91.25% $115.92
THE LION KING $1,758,556 13,570 100.01% $129.59
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $850,070 10,001 77.89% $85.00
WICKED $1,426,156 13,083 90.50% $109.01
Totals $20,380,414 204,904 83.76% $93.26

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

Trevor Noah Debuts As New Host of “The Daily Show”

South African Comedian Fairly Successful in Continuing Jon Stewart’s Legacy

trevor noahOn Monday night, September 28, 2015, Trevor Noah premiered his first episode as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Taking over from universally beloved Jon Stewart, who had held the position for over 15 years, Trevor Noah had gigantic shoes to fill. There has been much anticipation over whether Noah would succeed as Stewart’s successor, and this cannot be completely discerned from the first episode. Still, his debut was largely positive, and most reviewers have high hopes for what is to come. Since Stewart’s last show on August 6, 2015, the month and a half hiatus has allowed fans far and wide to speculate on the merits of the network’s choice of Noah as the following host. Stewart established a very specific tone for The Daily Show, which Trevor Noah is adept at continuing. Still, credit is not completely due to Noah alone, as the machine of The Daily Show writers has remained largely intact, which is very skilled at digesting the daily news from around the world and coming up with comedic commentary to distill into the show’s segments. As an example of the machine’s ability to function independent of the host in the seat, when Jon Stewart took off time to direct a feature film, Rosewater, John Oliver took over and was able to continue unscathed. It was only when Oliver debuted his own HBO show Last Week Tonight that his own voice became distinct and separate from The Daily Show tone.

Reverence, No Fear of Racial Comedy, and Bafflement with Americatrevor noah

Though Trevor Noah largely continued Jon Stewart’s format and political material, there were some distinct differences. First of all, Noah was reverent towards Stewart as his predecessor. In the opening, he paid tribute to his mentor with almost too much sincerity for a comedy show, but then lightened the move with a very funny joke: he said that it’s like Jon Stewart was the father of late night television, and now there’s a new stepfather. “And he’s black, which is not ideal.” This joke went over very well, and also shows that Trevor Noah, as a South African born man and one of only two non-white late night hosts (the other being Larry Wilmore, formerly of The Daily Show staff), he is not afraid to address the topic of race in a comedic way. This was often a criticism of Stewart’s tenure, that he shied away from addressing racial topics head-on. However, as a black man, Noah can do so with less controversy. Another unique aspect of Noah’s demographic is his international background; he was born in South Africa. This makes him one of only two late night hosts who was not born in the United States, the other being the previously mentioned John Oliver, now with his own show Last Week Tonight, who is also formerly of The Daily Show staff. This will allow Noah to bring a global awareness to the American television watching public that is not often seen. One joke he made was that when he was a little boy in South Africa, there were two things he never expected: one was to have an indoor toilet, and the other was to be a host of The Daily Show, and that he is now very comfortable with one of them. This also received a giant laugh.

His Legacy Remains to be Seen

With just one show under his belt, it remains to be seen exactly what type of Daily Show host Trevor Noah will turn out to be. In his interview with the actor Kevin Hart, Hart did most of the talking and Noah mostly laughed good naturedly. Still, he has plenty of time to come out of his shell. He made some jokes that might have caused Jon Stewart to cringe, such as a pun about AIDS and aides, and also a not very sensitive reference to Whitney Houston and drug use. Still, to be a successful host, he must not just give America what it wants, but also give us what we don’t know we need.

“Old Times” Starts Broadway Performances

Roundabout Theatre Company Production of Harold Pinter Play

old timesOn September 17, 2015, Old Times began performances at the American Airlines Theatre, one of the two Broadway venues owned by the not-for-profit theatre institution, the Roundabout Theatre Company. The show will have its official opening night on October 6, 2015. This production is directed by Douglas Hodge and stars Clive Owen, Kelly Reilly, and Eve Best. The play, written by Harold Pinter, premiered on Broadway in November 1971, shortly after its June 1971 world premiere at the Aldwych Theatre in the West End produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Though many Pinter plays have been seen on Broadway since this time, including Butley, The Innocents, No Man’s Land, Otherwise Engaged, Betrayal, The Hothouse, The Caretaker, and The Homecoming, this is the first revival of Old Times on Broadway. It follows a recent West End revival, which was a different production by a different director, Ian Rickson, that took place at the recently renamed Harold Pinter Theatre in London (formerly the Comedy Theatre). In that production, the two female parts – Anna and Kate – were played on alternate nights by the two actresses portraying them – Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams. Though that choice was not made for this Broadway production, it sheds some light on the existential profundity at the heart of this great play by Harold Pinter.

Clive Owen Makes His Broadway Debut, Alongside Kelly Reilly and Eve Bestclive owen

Clive Owen is an actor well known for his screen roles for which he has won a Golden Globe Award and been nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in the 2004 film Closer. He is presently starring in Steven Soderbergh’s television series The Knick on Cinemax, and he is also well known for his part in the 1998 film Croupier. He will be making his Broadway debut in this production of Old Times in the role of Deeley. As for his two co-stars, Kelly Reilly is also making her Broadway debut; she is well known for her role on the HBO television show True Detective. Eve Best, however, has been on Broadway twice before: in the 2007 production of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming in the role of Ruth, and also in the 2007 production of Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten in the role of Josie Hogan. In Old Times, Kelly Reilly plays Kate, and Eve Best plays Anna. The play rehearsed in London out of convenience for the creative team, as it is a very British play. Douglas Hodge, also a British director, has previously directed two Broadway shows: Cyrano de Bergerac and La Cage aux Folles. The music is composed by Thom Yorke of the band Radiohead.

A Married Couple and An Old Friend

In the play, Deeley and Kate are a married couple awaiting the arrival of Kate’s old friend, Anna. Time and again, the three individuals have different memories of the ways in which they first met, or interacted, in their past. As the play unfolds, it becomes clear that there was some sort of affair between Anna and Deeley in the past. Also, however, it becomes clear that nothing is quite as it might first seem. Since the play first premiered in 1971, it has left audiences stunned and moved. This production is sure to make an indelible impression on the 21st century audiences that are lucky enough to see it.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Plays Final Performance

Year and a Half Run Goes Out With a Bang

hedwig coverOn September 13, 2015, Hedwig and the Angry Inch played its final performance at the Belasco Theatre. The show had been running on Broadway since it began previews on March 29, 2014, followed by its official opening night on April 22, 2014. With a book by John Cameron Mitchell, and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, the show first premiered Off-Broadway in 1998, starring John Cameron Mitchell in the title role. At that time, the show won an Obie Award and Outer Critics Circle Award and ran for two years, followed by a run in London’s West End. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that Broadway was brave enough to take on this risqué, small-scale musical about an androgynous rock musician who was raised in East Berlin. However, it was well worth the wait, as the show took home the 2014 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Furthermore, the show broke the record for the longest running production at the Belasco Theatre. The character of Hedwig is a German young man who becomes a woman in order to marry a U.S. soldier and escape life in East Berlin; however, once he arrives in America he is abandoned and forced to make his life as a single, transsexual with a botched sex change operation. In addition to taking place at this fascinating time in history, the style of the musical is steeped in the gorgeous and colorful aesthetic of 1970s glam rock, inspired by the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and John Lennon.

Excellent Box Office with Opening Cast, Success Throughout the Runhedwig and the angry inch neil patrick harris title

When the show began its run, the lead actor was played by Neil Patrick Harris, a big box office favorite who managed to sell out with grosses over 100% of gross potential and weekly box office over one million dollars for multiple weeks. In Harris’ final week of performances, the show reached its record high of a weekly box office gross of $1,139,903, reaching an astounding 136.61% of its gross potential. The top ticket price has remained $248.00 throughout the run, but that week it reached a peak average paid admission of $158.83. In the show’s final week of performances, it brought in less than it had been bringing in at the beginning of the run, but still a significant increase from the lower grosses that the later performances had been seeing. In the week ending September 13, 2015, the show brought in $625,159, which represents 88.12% of its gross potential, with an average paid admission of $88.57. This is up by $178,208 from the week before, the penultimate week.

A String of Fantastic Hedwigs: Harris, Rannells, Hall, Mitchell, Criss, Diggs

The other actors who played Hedwig did not perform as well at the box office; however they were all very exciting performers who brought originality and pizzazz to the role. The next man to take on this challenging role was Andrew Rannells, who rose to fame after playing the opening cast lead role of Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon. The next Hedwig was played by Michael C. Hall, well known for his role on Dexter amongst other shows. As the fourth Hedwig, a landmark occasion took place as John Cameron Mitchell returned to Broadway to play the role he created, but this time at age 50. Though he was indeed magnificent, the role did at one time prove a bit strenuous, as Mitchell injured his knee and had to take a few performances off, returning with his leg in a cast. With utter grace and charm, he continued to play the role of Hedwig marvelously despite his injured state. Following Mitchell, Darren Criss from Glee took over the role. Finally, for the closing weeks, Hedwig was played by Taye Diggs, well known from the original cast of Rent among other productions. The show will continue on the road, with a national tour commencing in San Francisco on October 4, 2016, as well as international performances in London and Australia.

Deaf West “Spring Awakening” Starts Previews

Revival of 2006 Musical Starring Hearing and Non-Hearing Actors

spring awakeningOn September 8, 2015, Spring Awakening began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway. However, this is not the same production as that which premiered nine years ago. Like the 2006 premiere, this production has a book by Steven Sater and music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik. The story is the same, based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind by the same name in German. However, this revival is a transfer from a Los Angeles production that premiered in September 2014, produced by Deaf West Theatre and directed by Michael Arden. Like the Los Angeles production, this Broadway revival stars both hearing and non-hearing actors, in the traditional Deaf West format. The theatre company’s last and only other show to come to Broadway was Big River in 2003, which was based off of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Like that production, Spring Awakening is cast with a mixture of actors, sometimes with a hearing and non-hearing actor doubling up on a role that calls for the artistic choice, or sometimes just played by a hearing actor or alternately a non-hearing actor. All in all, this creates a beautiful medley of not only singing but also dancing through American Sign Language, as well as a subtle appreciation for the artistic choice made for each character.

An Excellent Cast, Many Making Their Broadway Debutsspring awakening

The idea for this specific revival of Spring Awakening was reportedly brought to the director Michael Arden’s attention by his fiancé, Andy Mientus. Mientus was in the national tour of the original production of the musical, and he plays the role of Hanschen in this production. The only other cast member derived from an earlier Broadway incarnation is Krysta Rodriguez, who plays Ilse and was a swing in the original Broadway production. The only other two actors who have been on Broadway before are Patrick Page, a Broadway veteran who plays a variety of adult male roles, and Alex Wyse as Georg, who has been on Broadway once before in Lysistrata Jones. The many actors making their Broadway debuts include Marlee Matlin, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Children of a Lesser God, as well as Camryn Manheim who has a background as a sign language interpreter for hospitals and also is a Golden Globe winner. Additional roles are played by Russell Harvard, Sean Grandillo, Daniel Durant, Miles Barbee, Sandra Mae Frank, Alex Boniello, Joshua Castille, Treshelle Edmond, Katie Boeck, Kathryn Gallagher, Lauren Luiz, Amelia Hensley, Daniel David Stewart, Austin McKenzie, and Alexandra Winter.

Deafness Incorporating Not Only Stylistically But Also Thematically

The choice to make a Deaf West production of Spring Awakening was not a random decision. Rather, the themes in the story set in the late 19th century include teenagers’ inability to communicate with their parents, being unable to speak their true feelings, and having inadequate sexual education. Therefore, the incorporation of deaf actors and sign language is meant to evoke and underscore these ideas, while also creating a beautiful statement about equality and disability. Furthermore, it is visually stirring to see sign language played onstage alongside traditional singing and dancing, and Duncan Sheik’s score is altogether original and beautiful.

“On the Town” Revival Plays Final Performance

Wraps Up Year Long Run on Sunday, September 6th

on the town posterThis afternoon, On the Town played its final performance at the Lyric Theatre. This old-fashioned but fun-loving musical concludes its run today after playing 368 performances in addition to 28 preview performances. Other than the original production in 1944, this makes this revival the longest running to date. When the show began previews on September 20, 2014, and in anticipation of its opening night on October 16, 2014, many doubted whether this musical from the 1940s would catch hold with audiences today, especially in the gigantic Lyric Theatre, which is better suited for large spectacle style shows such as Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark and the upcoming Cirque du Soleil show, Paramour. However, the show did defy expectations by holding on for almost a year, granted not without some very low box office performance weeks, and no recognition wins the Tony committee (despite four nominations). With a capitalization of $8.5 million, the show was on the cheaper size for musicals on Broadway; however, that is still a large amount of money to pay back to investors with a very expensive house to run each week.

Misty Copeland Steps in For Final 12 Performancesmisty copeland on the town

Although the show has struggled financially at the box office, it will go out with a final huzzah. Misty Copeland, who has recently made headlines for being named the first African American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater, stepped into to replace Megan Fairchild for the final 12 performances, from August 25, 2015 to September 6, 2015. Indeed, this did cause a major uplift in the box office. In her first week of performances alone, the show saw an increase of ticket sales in the amount of $519,055, more than doubling the previous week’s gross of $395,379 to reach an almost all-time high of $914,434. Though the final week’s box office performance has not yet been reported, with the combination of this being the final week to catch the show, along with the last and limited chance to see Misty Copeland in this role, chances are that sales will continue to be strong.

A Crowdfunding Attempt, But a Financial Letdown

With a capitalization of $8.5 million, the lead producers Howard and Janet Kagan tried an unusual tactic in raising funds for the production. They turned to crowdfunding, which is not unprecedented on Broadway, but it is certainly unusual. They opened a campaign on the crowdfunding platform Wealthforge, where they managed to raise just $500,000 of the $8.5 million budget. The Kagans did not intend to raise the whole amount on the site; wide press coverage stated that they would be pleased if they raised just $1 million or $2 million in that way. One benefit was that 2013 rule change allowed the producers to publicly advertise this investment opportunity, which allowed people to invest in Broadway who were not already in the know. However, this did not turn out to yield much advantage for these producers, because the show has come far from making back its initial investment. Over the 35 weeks of box office figures thus far reported (excepting the final week), the average percentage reached of the gross potential each week was only 31.00%. Furthermore, the average paid admission was only $62.94, demonstrating a large amount of discounting. Though the show did manage to stay open much longer than many expected, it was certainly not a financial success.

Colbert Late Show To Do Battle With Fallon’s Tonight Show

Both Air in Same Time Slot: Weeknights at 11:30pm

jimmy fallon stephen colbertWith Stephen Colbert having taken over David Letterman’s longtime tenure as host of the Late Show on CBS, he is now is the same time slot as one of his colleagues and competitors: Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on NBC. Whereas David Letterman traditionally catered to an older demographic than Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert stepping into the Late Show shoes mean that he and Jimmy Fallon are now competing for the same younger demographic. Though Colbert is 51, which is significantly older than Fallon at age 40, he generally caters to the same younger demographic, at least to a younger demographic than Letterman did in his time. This is the first time that the two late night shows are very different in both style and content; whereas Colbert presents a funny look at serious subject matter, Fallon has taken his show more to irreverent interviews along with hilarious Saturday Night Live style sketches. Though there are no clear ratings comparisons at this time, as Colbert has only just begun his new tenure, it is clear that the competition will be fierce and the networks will need to consider the matter from a different angle than they are used to. The format of the traditional late night hosts such as David Letterman and Jay Leno now seems so long ago, and we have entered a new era of late night television

The Battle for Viral Videos as Much as Traditional Ratingsjimmy fallon stephen colbert

When Stephen Colbert led his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, 43 percent of his regular audience was under age 30 (according to a survey by Pew). However, in having abandoned his conservation character Stephen Colbert from The Colbert Report, he will need to work to hold onto his younger fan base. On the other hand, he has a much stronger hold on that demographic than his predecessor, David Letterman. Both Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon are renowned not only for captivating audiences in their traditional television time slots, but also for cultivating a strong following from people watching recap videos online, on sites such as youtube as well as the networks’ own websites. Therefore, the battle between Colbert and Fallon to captivate viewers will not only depend on the simultaneity of their television airings, but also on their ability to retain viewership on the viral video channels. When Fallon got his start in 2009, he significantly lowered the average age for late night viewers as a whole, and a great part of his strategy was focusing on viral videos. To this point, Colbert has already begun to capitalize on that strategy as well, through creating a podcast and website in anticipation of the launch of his reign on the Late Show, and by launching memorable moments such as shaving his “Colbeard” that he grew during his time off from appearing on television.

The Implications for Advertiser Revenue

As of now, there is a $100 million advertising gap between Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on NBC and the Late Show on CBS. In taking over from David Letterman, Stephen Colbert has his work cut out for him in terms of closing that gap. In 2014, of the $412.1 million that advertisers spent on the 11:30pm timeslot on the networks CBS, NBC, and ABC, Jimmy Fallon’s show snagged 47.6 percent of that, at $196.3 million. Furthermore, that number increased throughout the four quarters of 2014, with Fallon earning 46.4 percent in the 2nd quarter, 51.5 percent in the 3rd quarter, and the finishing out the year with 55 percent in the final quarter. On the other hand, David Letterman’s numbers decreased each quarter, culminating in just 22.5 percent in the final quarter of 2014. Of course, these numbers do not take into account the viral video viewership. Nevertheless, Stephen Colbert will need to work hard to cultivate viewership that will warrant competitive advertising revenue for the network, which from a business perspective, is exactly what he was hired to do.

“The Ruins of Civilization” Added to MTC Season

Amidst Criticism That The Season Lacked Diversity

The Ruins of Civilization will be a world premiere Manhattan Theatre Club production in spring 2016. It is written a British playwright named Penelope Skinner, whose previous plays include The Village Bike (staged at MCC last year), Fred’s Diner, and Eigengrau. Skinner has received several awards for promising young playwrights, and she recently co-wrote the screenplay to the feature film How I Live Now.

Penelope Skinner

Penelope Skinner

However, the buzz about the announcement of her world premiere at MTC was not focused on her precocious accomplishments; rather, it has been squarely aimed at the discussion of how she is a woman. The reason is that Lynne Meadow, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, had previously announced seven of the eight plays of their 2015 to 2016 season, all seven of which are written by white men. This was revealed in a post last week in American Theatre Magazine. There was immediate outcry online, with prominent playwright Paula Vogel tweeting “for a woman in theatre who attended Bryn Mawr, where is your sisterhood?” Then the playwright Kristoffer Diaz followed up with a tweet that said he would love to discuss strategies for approaching the goal stated in MTC’s mission to produce works “as diverse as NYC itself.”

Nonetheless, An Excellent MTC Season of Accomplished Playwrights

Lynne Meadow

Lynne Meadow

Manhattan Theatre Club produces both Broadway and Off-Broadway. Their Broadway season will kick off with Sam Shepherd’s 1983 play Fool for Love at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, starring Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda. That play is directed by Daniel Aukin, who staged a rendition at last summer’s Williamstown Theatre Festival. The next Broadway show at the Friedman Theatre, which will open in January 2016, is Richard Greenberg’s play Our Mother’s Brief Affair, directed by Lynne Meadow and starring Linda Lavin. In April 2016, MTC will produce a Broadway production of Florian Zeller’s new play The Father, starring Frank Langella in a production directed by Doug Hughes. The Off-Broadway offerings, presented at New York City Center Stages I and II, include Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire directed by David Hyde Pierce and starring Holland Taylor, Rachel Dratch, and Marylouise Burke; Important Hats of the 20th Century by Nick Jones and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel; John Patrick Shanley’s new play Prodigal Son, directed by Shanley and starring Robert Sean Leonard; and Nick Payne’s play Incognito.

Two of the Eight Plays are Directed by Women

The recent announcement of Penelope Skinner’s The Ruins of Civilization was made in haste due to the backlash, and the director has not yet been fully confirmed, but it is slated to be Lila Neugebauer. Skinner declared she felt strongly that a woman was best to direct this play. The only other female director of the season is Lynne Meadow herself, who is to direct Richard Greenberg’s Our Mother’s Brief Affair. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the season came together with all white playwrights and only one woman. In the past four seasons, 43% of the plays were written by women and people of color. Over the past ten years, there have been three seasons at MTC where no playwrights were female, but in five of those years at least half of the playwrights were women. This includes last year, where Lisa D’Amour’s Airline Highway was brought to Broadway amidst similar criticism that MTC continually failed to produce a play by a female playwright on their Broadway stage. Also over the past four years, 28 of the 49 commissions that MTC made for new plays went to women and minorities.

“American Psycho” Added to Broadway Spring Line-Up

Based Off the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis Novel

american psychoIn February 2016, a musical adaptation of the famous novel American Psycho will begin previews at a Shubert Theatre to be announced on Broadway. The opening will then follow in March 2016. This musical has been gestating for several years, with private industry readings having taken place in New York for several years. The music and lyrics are written by Duncan Sheik, who also composed the music for Spring Awakening, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Original Score, and which is being revived on Broadway this upcoming season in a Deaf West production with both hearing and non-hearing actors. American Psycho has a book written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who has been a co-producer and writer of Glee, a script doctor for the musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, and the Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics. The novel American Psycho was published in 1991 to wide acclaim and controversy, due to the dark and violent nature of the subject matter. It was then adapted into a feature film in 2000 starring Christian Bale in the title role of Patrick Bateman; that film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was widely touted as the next Fight Club. Though it polarized audiences, the film was a financial and critical success and is now considered a cult classic.

A Sold-Out London Run at the Almeida TheatreAmerican_Psycho_Musical

On December 3, 2013, American Psycho the Musical had its world premiere in London at the Off West End venue, the Almeida Theatre. The official opening night was December 12, 2013. The show was originally scheduled to run just until January 25, 2014, but it was extended until February 1, 2014. That production was directed by Rupert Goold, choreographed by Lynne Page, and starred Matt Smith as Patrick Bateman. Although the run was relatively short, it was sold out and received great critical acclaim. The Guardian admitted that it sounded strange to make a musical about a serial killer, but that the show worked superbly, confirming the mythic power of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel while also succeeding in being brilliantly entertaining. The Daily Mail called the show undoubtedly a theatrical event, and praised Duncan Sheik’s catchy score. The Independent called the production diabolically slick, praising the terrific attack of the singing and dancing ensemble and the ability to avoid sentimentality in the second act. The Telegraph was less enthralled, giving the show two stars out of five and calling the lead performance expressionless and boring. Variety flew out over the Atlantic to review the production, and reported back that the serial killer story lacked drama, which is a serious problem with this subject matter.

Benjamin Walker Stars in the Broadway Production

benjamin walkerIn the Broadway production, Rupert Goold will return to direct, and Lynne Page will also return to choreograph. However, the cast will be revamped for the New York production. In the lead role of Patrick Bateman, Benjamin Walker stars. Walker has been seen on Broadway in the title role of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, as Brick in the 2013 revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as Le Chevalier Danceny in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and as Bertram Cates in Inherit the Wind. Though the rest of the cast has not yet been announced, developmental readings have included actors such as Zosia Mamet (“Girls”), Jennifer Damiano (Next to Normal), Isabel Keating (The Boy from Oz), and Wesley Taylor (“Smash”). The story deals with a 26 year-old man named Patrick Bateman who is sophisticated, handsome, and dirty rich. He works on Wall Street and can get any girl he wants. However, there is a lot more going on in this man’s head than it first appears, and he commits a lot of murder anything starts to go wrong.