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.

John Cameron Mitchell Returned After Injury, Next Hedwig Announced

The Original Hedwig Playing His Creation on Broadway

john cameron mitchellHedwig and the Angry Inch, created by John Cameron Mitchell, premiered on Broadway on March 29, 2014. The show originally opened Off-Broadway in 1998, starring Mitchell in the title role of the gender-bending East German rock performer. He also wrote and starred in the 2001 film version. When Hedwig came to Broadway for the first time, however, the producers and Mitchell felt that he was no longer in his prime, and thus the lead role was given to Neil Patrick Harris, who won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. After Harris departed, the role was played by Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon, Girls), followed by Michael C. Hall (Dexter). However, to the delight of diehard Hedwig fans, it was announced that John Cameron Mitchell himself would be stepping in to play the role after all, with his first performance on January 21, 2015. Originally, he was slated to perform for just six weeks until March 14, 2015, as a trial run to see if he had enough stamina to play the intensive part at this point in his career. Fortunately, he was brilliant as always, and fans flocked to see him, and thus he announced that he would extend his run until April 26, 2015.

Mitchell Sustained Knee Injury, Michael C. Hall Stepped Inhedwig lena hall

Unfortunately, on February 7, 2015, Mitchell injured his knee during the performance. He continued on until the end of the 7pm show, but the later 10pm show that night was cancelled. At the time, the show’s representatives tweeted that he planned to return for the next scheduled performance on the following Tuesday, and that doctors were examining him. However, they then announced that one week later, Michael C. Hall would return to the role to allow Mitchell time for his injury to heal. From February 17 to 21, therefore, Hall donned the wig once again. In the week where Mitchell performed with a knee brace, he made the best of the humorous situation. One joke, for instance, was “You’re seeing the original cast!” Furthermore, he played on the dominating relationship Hedwig has with his co-star Yitzhak by making her attend to his injury, demanding that she place a crate underneath his propped foot, while he sat on an elevated chair so that he could still be visible while seated. As planned, after a week of performances by Michael C. Hall, Mitchell returned to the stage on February 24, 2015, and he plans to continue as announced until April 26, 2015.

The Next Hedwig: Darren Criss

GQ Celebrates The Grammys With Giorgio Armani - ArrivalsFollowing Mitchell’s departure, Darren Criss (Glee) will step into the spotlight on April 29, 2015 for a run of 12 weeks through summer. Criss’ huge fanbase was evidenced by his brief turn on Broadway in 2012, when he replaced Daniel Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. At the time, he significantly boosted ticket sales for the three weeks he played the part. Therefore, this appears to be a good move for the show’s producers, who hope to keep it running as long as possible by bringing in a string of stars who appeal to a variety of audience members. Furthermore, the second and only other main character in the musical, Yitzhak, has been played by Lena Hall since the start of the revival. Hall wonrebecca naomi jones the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, and has been the Yitzhak to all four Hedwigs so far: Harris, Rannells, Hall, and Mitchell. However, she has recently announced that her last performance in the role will be April 4, 2015. The new Yitzhak will be played by Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot, Passing Strange), who will step in on April 14, 2015. In the interim week, the role will be played by understudy Shannon Conley. Therefore, Jones will play opposite John Cameron Mitchell for less than two weeks, before partnering with Darren Criss to continue the tradition of Hedwig on Broadway.

Neil Patrick Harris to Host New NBC Variety Show

Eyeing a Fall 2015 Premiere on NBC

Hedwig Neil Patrick Harris Black TieOn October 27, 2014, it was announced that Neil Patrick Harris would be hosting a new variety TV show to premiere on NBC, in the style of the British show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, which is produced by ITV. ITV has agreed to make a ten episode season to air on NBC, with Harris as host. Harris was reportedly drawn to this format in particular, believing that it best suits his strengths. The previous May, Harris had turned down an offer from CBS to replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show upon his departure, a position that has been given to Stephen Colbert. At the time, he told Rolling Stone Magazine that he would get bored in the traditional late night format, and that he would rather take on a variety show project. The fact that he was offered the position must have given him confidence that he had the star power to find a way to live that dream. This opportunity came in the form of a partnership with ITV, after finding their Saturday Night Takeaway show to be hilarious and perfect for him as a performer. The show will be filmed in front of a live studio audience by ITV Studios America.

Upsetting the Writers Guild

Though Harris and ITV vehemently deny the accusations, the Writers Guild of America East has called out ITV for not employing union writers for their shows, a trend they may expect to continue with this extremely high profile variety show project with Neil Patrick Harris. The WGA has been in a long standing battle with ITV over efforts to unionize the company, and now over 175 unionized writers in the comedy and variety genre have signed a petition urging the organization to enter into a collective bargaining agreement. Nevertheless, Neil Patrick Harris told the press that a WGA contract was planned for his show, and an ITV spokesperson also explained that the accusations were in error, as a separate and binding agreement was underway regarding that series in particular. Regarding the claims that the company is generally at fault for their hiring activities, the spokesperson also said that they are working on resolving the majority of issues. Still, this is a big money game – Ant and Dec, the creators of ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway, reportedly pocketed 15 million pounds for the rights to their concept, given that it has become an international hot commodity with Harris in the host position.

Neil Patrick Harris: A Versatile Performerneil patrick harris

The variety show format appeals to Harris as it will allow him to flex his muscles. It will include a combination of comedy sketches, musical performances, celebrity pranks, game activities, and A-list guests. Guests are said to include Lady Gaga, One Direction, and Katie Perry, and many more yet to be announced. Harris was most recently in the public spotlight as host of the 87th Annual Academy Awards on February 22, 2015. He has twice hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards (2009 and 2013), in addition to being nominated for 9 Primetime Emmys, winning 5. Of these 5 Emmy wins, 4 were for hosting the Tony Awards. Therefore, he has proven his chops as an awards show host, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. He recently debuted the role of Hedwig in the Broadway premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell, winning the Tony Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical. He is also very well known for his role as Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother, as well as his teenage role as Doogie Howser, M.D.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 3/1/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“The Heidi Chronicles” Not An Immediate Hit

In its first week of previews, the new revival of The Heidi Chronicles brought in a weekly gross of $305,345, which represents only 34.26% of its gross potential. The show began previews on February 23, 2015, and therefore this first week was a full week of eight performances. With a top ticket price of $223.00, the average paid admission was only $51.05, and despite this heavy amount of discounting, the audience capacity was only on average 74.7% full. This comes as a slight surprise due to the high profile stars on the marquee such as Elisabeth Moss, Jason Biggs, and Bryce Pinkham, in addition to the acclaim of the playwright Wendy Wasserstein, as well as the fact that the play is a Pulitzer Prize winning drama. Directed by Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), the play is set to open on March 19, 2015. Perhaps when the reviews hit the presses, more audience members will become aware of this new production. The fact that New York still feels like it is in the midst of winter may have been a dissuading factor for ticket buyers, and hopefully sales will pick up as the run proceeds.

An Overall Slow Week on Broadway

In the week ending March 1, 2015, Broadway was in a bit of a slump. Despite the month of March having arrived, the city is still steeped in winter and more snow is expected this week. This may be one of the main reasons that the overall demand on Broadway is not particularly high. This past week, of all the shows running on Broadway, only six experienced an increase in ticket sales. One of these was The Heidi Chronicles, which, as just discussed, was a new show that performed fairly poorly in its first week. Another one was Constellations, which did experience an increase in weekly gross of $61,504, but that is due to that fact that the show played nine performances that week, up from the usual eight. With that in mind, the show is still not doing excellently, as it only reached 80.59% of its gross potential across the nine performances. In its last week of performances, Disgraced saw an increase of $82,172, bringing its final weekly gross to $415,237, which is only 53.39% of its gross potential. Besides the usual suspects, the only plays that are performing extraordinarily are Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, which had a weekly gross of $1,159,537, and The Audience starring Helen Mirren, which brought in a weekly gross of $1,090,479.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending March 1, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-3-1-15

Show Name GrossGross Total Attn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $544,615 5,571 76.78% $97.76
ALADDIN $1,198,904 13,452 97.59% $89.12
BEAUTIFUL $1,019,934 7,577 92.31% $134.61
CABARET $674,524 6,043 84.59% $111.62
CHICAGO $474,672 6,031 69.80% $78.71
CONSTELLATIONS $661,547 5,753 98.34% $114.99
DISGRACED $415,237 5,316 72.39% $78.11
FISH IN THE DARK $1,159,537 8,720 101.58% $132.97
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $585,799 5,374 76.24% $109.01
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $284,648 4,450 48.37% $63.97
IF/THEN $503,433 7,111 67.80% $70.80
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $493,244 5,432 63.05% $90.80
JERSEY BOYS $579,183 6,230 63.42% $92.97
KINKY BOOTS $804,924 8,442 74.10% $95.35
LES MISÉRABLES $571,871 7,705 68.36% $74.22
MAMMA MIA! $413,270 5,633 60.39% $73.37
MATILDA $701,215 8,783 76.67% $79.84
ON THE TOWN $407,366 6,089 40.61% $66.90
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $377,072 5,098 88.26% $73.96
THE AUDIENCE $1,090,479 7,512 100.39% $145.16
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,433,408 8,741 102.50% $163.99
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $660,205 6,398 78.56% $103.19
THE HEIDI CHRONICLES $305,345 5,981 74.69% $51.05
THE LION KING $1,490,989 13,036 95.85% $114.37
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $561,366 7,269 56.61% $77.23
WICKED $1,204,467 11,905 82.26% $101.17
Totals $18,617,251 189,652 77.37% $95.59

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

Broadway Stars Debuting New TV Pilots

Pilot Season for the Major Broadcast Networks

Every year, the major television networks such as CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and the CW go through a specific course of development to determine which new shows to add to their dockets. Referred to as Pilot Season, this is an intensive process that involves the submissions of thousands of elevator pitches, followed by calls for scripts, after which some are selected, and then actors flock from all over the country and world to audition for the parts. Due to the simultaneity of the process across networks, actors generally need to choose one show to ride out, which can be a gamble as the majority of shows do not get picked up, and therefore they would be sacrificing other opportunities for this one shot. However, the payoff can be great as television can be a great career boost for actors, including those who are already big stars in the theatre. Presently, though some shows are just beginning to premiere this season, networks are already entering the early stages of next year’s process, and some exciting Broadway names are headlining.

Already Picked Up: Sutton Foster Stars in “Younger” on TV Land

younger sutton fosterA new television show by the maker of Sex and the City, Darren Star, will premiere on TV Land on March 31, 2015. The show, Younger, stars Sutton Foster who came to fame through her Broadway performances in such musicals as Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone, Anything Goes, and most recently, Violet. Her first leading role on television took place in 2012, when she starred in the ABC Family series Bunheads about a former Las Vegas showgirl turned small town ballet dance teacher. That show only lasted for one season of 18 episodes. Fortunately, Foster is getting another go at a TV leading gig this spring on TV Land. Younger, which also stars Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire), Debi Mazar (Entourage, Living with Fran), and Miriam Shor (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). The show is a single-camera, 30 minutes series about a 40 year-old mother having difficulty finding a job, so she gets a makeover and pretends she is in her 20s.

Idina Menzel in “Happy Time” and Megan Hilty in Untitled Judah Miller Projectidina menzel

Looking forward toward the upcoming pilot season, Ellen DeGeneres is producing a new series called Happy Time which stars Idina Menzel (Rent, Wicked, If/Then, Frozen). This half hour comedy series is written by Randi Barnes (Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return), and produced by DeGeneres’ company A Very Good Production. The show will most likely be shopped around this upcoming summer. Details about the show are not widely disclosed, but Happy Time revolves around a woman who is ready megan hiltyto stop pretending she is happy all of the time. Furthermore, Megan Hilty, who is best known for her starring role on the TV show Smash, and also for her Broadway performances in 9 to 5 and Wicked, is cast in an upcoming pilot to be written and produced by Judah Miller (American Dad, King of the Hill, The Tracy Morgan Show). In this presently untitled single-camera comedy, Hilty plays a Tony Award winning Broadway star who is still adjusting to her new role as a suburban mom. Along with her husband, an intellectual, she is thrust into a new world of competitive sports, as their son is a natural born athlete.

“Disgraced” Concludes Its Run

Last Performance March 1st at the Lyceum

disgraced posterWhen Disgraced began performances on Broadway on September 27, 2014, the production did not announce its closing date. After it opened on October 23, 2014, critics received it with warm praise. It was a New York Times Critics Pick, and Christopher Isherwood began his review with “Bon appetit!” However, despite these laudatory remarks, it never was a sell out at the box office. In January, it was announced that the last performance would be March 1, 2015. The play, written by Ayad Akhtar, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the Obie Award and the Joseph Jefferson Award. The play had its New York premiere at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theatre, through their LCT3 program to support new writing. Prior to that, it premiered in Chicago at American Theatre Company directed by Kimberley Senior, who has steered the production all the way to Broadway, thereby making her Broadway directorial debut.

A Mixed Cast of Originals and TV Starsdisgraced

The cast stars Gretchen Mol (the smoldering Madame of a brothel on Boardwalk Empire) in the role of Emily, an artist specializing in Middle Eastern imagery. She is married to a successful Pakistani-American lawyer, played by Hari Dhillon, a British actor, who made his Broadway debut in this role. Josh Radnor (from the TV show How I Met Your Mother) plays Isaac, the Whitney curator who is supporting Emily’s work. Karen Pittman plays his wife Jory; she made her Broadway non-understudy debut in this role, after having premiered the part at LCT3. Jory and Isaac are a mixed race couple who come over to dine with the protagonists, and the dinner conversation gets personal, dealing with concepts of race and identity. The fifth and final cast member is also making his Broadway debut: Danny Ashok plays Abe, Amir’s nephew. Unlike the very Western justice-based viewpoint of Amir, Abe is a bit more radical. He urges his uncle to help defend an imam who is under accusation of supporting Hamas.

Mediocre Box Office Performance

Despite accolades, praise, and acknowledgment that this was a truly great play and production, it still struggled to become a financial success. At the height of its weekly grosses, Disgraced brought in $512,646, which represents 65.92% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $198.00, the average paid admission was never over $85.87. And yet, in its highest earning week, the average paid admission was $78.87, so clearly discounting paid off to some degree for this production. At the Lyceum Theatre, Disgraced had a weekly gross potential of about $778,000. A straight play without Hollywood A-list stars or a recognizable film or brand name, Disgraced just couldn’t compete with all the other attractive fare on Broadway. The big blockbuster musicals or hot star on the marquee would surely beat out in mass the diehard locals and intellectuals who visit Broadway in order to see a Pulitzer Prize winning play on topics of interest regarding racial, religious, and national dynamics. And for those who haven’t read the literary press, that title isn’t very encouraging. Still, though this play may not have made profits, it did make history.

“The Heidi Chronicles” Begins Previews on Broadway

Starring Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men” Fame

elisabeth mossOn February 23, 2015, The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein began previews in its first Broadway revival. The show originally played on Broadway from 1988 to 1989, when it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the Tony Award for Best Play. This production is directed by Pam MacKinnon (A Delicate Balance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), and will officially open on March 19, 2015 at the Music Box Theatre. Elisabeth Moss, who is best known for playing Peggy Olson on AMC’s Mad Men, will star as the titular character Heidi Holland. This will be Moss’ second Broadway appearance, following her 2008 debut as Karen in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow. She also starred in the 2011 West End production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour opposite Keira Knightley. Starring alongside Moss in The Heidi Chronicles is Jason Biggs (The Play What I Wrote, The Graduate, the American Pie movie franchise) as Scoop Rosenbaum, as well as Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as Peter Patrone. The play is lead produced by Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, and it is currently scheduled for a limited engagement to conclude on August 9, 2015.

A Feminist Manifesto, with Comedy and Heartheidi chronicles

The play is unique in the way it travels through time from Heidi’s high school years, up until her later adult years. Interestingly, the same male characters recur at different stages of her life, although she does not end up marrying any of them. Perhaps the most important to her is Scoop Rosenbaum (Jason Biggs), whom she first meets as a teenager, but any sense of budding romance is squashed as Scoop goes on to marry another woman, and then proceeds to cheat on her with many women. The other male closest to Heidi throughout her life is Peter Patrone (Bryce Pinkham), a gay pediatrician who acts as a best friend to Heidi throughout her trials and tribulations. While building a career as an art historian, Heidi tackles the issues of what it means to be a woman in the modern age, including the idea of having children. Ultimately, she realizes that she does not need to rely on a man in order to be a mother, and ends up taking the matter into her own hands through adoption. Though this play was originally written in the late 1980s, it is certainly still relevant today, and in fact it will be interesting to see how subtle aspects of the work play differently to a 21st century audience.

Paying Respect to Wasserstein Through Reviving Her Works

Throughout her lifetime, Wendy Wasserstein was considered one of the best playwrights of her generation, as well as a groundbreaking writer in terms of women being viewed on equal ground to men in the creative fields. Unfortunately, she died in 2006 at the age of 55 due to lymphoma. The night following her passing, Broadway dimmed the lights in her honor as is tradition for beloved Broadway figures. In addition to her seminal body of work, Wasserstein lived what she preached. In 1999, when Wasserstein was 48 years old, she gave birth to her first and only child, Lucy Jane Wasserstein. She raised her daughter on her own until the day she died, and she never revealed who the child’s father was. As illustrated in The Heidi Chronicles, Wasserstein’s life was testament to the fact that a woman can make her own life, even in the case of having children.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/22/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

New Top Earning Shows: “The Audience” and “Fish in the Dark”

In the week ending February 22, 2015, two shows that have recently begun previews performed excellently at the box office. The Audience, which stars Helen Mirren in the role of Queen Elizabeth II, for which she won an Academy Award for also portraying in the film The Queen, brought in an impressive $1,048,473 this past week. Furthermore, it accomplished this feat in a week of only 7 performances. The previous week, it began previews but played only two performances; even then the figures seemed extremely promising. Still, this past week has proven that this show is a surefire hit with audiences, who are lining up to see this brilliant performance in the flesh. In addition, Larry David’s play Fish in the Dark, which David wrote and also performs in, brought in a weekly gross of $1,177,593. This is the first week in which the play had eight performances, and therefore it increased its weekly gross by $161,950. In the first two weeks of seven performances each, the play also performed very well at the box office, but now it has reached new heights. In any event, this proves that Larry David is a very exciting name on Broadway, and that audience members are thrilled to see him and his work.

An Overall Mixed Week on Broadway

This past week, about half of the running shows demonstrated an increase in sales, whereas the other half showed a decrease in sales. Across the board, there was therefore mixed movement on Broadway this week. Whereas The Lion King saw an increase of $214,415, bringing in a weekly gross of $1,940,457, the other usual mega hit Wicked barely increased at all, going up only $59,939 for a weekly gross of $1,646,631. On the other hand, another big earner, The Book of Mormon, saw a decrease of $99,705, bringing its weekly gross to $1,548,797. Other musicals that saw a decline in ticket sales were Honeymoon in Vegas, which is struggling to compete with a weekly gross of $799,136, representing 78.45% of its gross capacity. In addition, Cabaret declined by $154,143, bringing in a gross of only $337,003. It is doubtful how long that musical revival will last in such a competitive environment, especially as the new spring season is just gearing up. Surprisingly, the three shows that concluded performances in this past week all saw a decrease in sales. The Elephant Man, which ended performances on Saturday, February 21, 2015, went down by $90,713 for a final weekly gross of $1,022,479. That decline, however, is due to the fact that the week only included seven performances, so that Bradley Cooper could attend the Oscars. Furthermore, A Delicate Balance and You Can’t Take It With You, which both concluded their runs on Sunday, February 22, 2015, saw a decrease in sales in their final week.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 22, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-2-22-15-1

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $432,887 4,327 67.44% $100.04
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $635,905 6,442 88.78% $98.71
ALADDIN $1,546,267 13,785 100.01% $112.17
BEAUTIFUL $1,076,794 7,860 95.76% $137.00
CABARET $799,136 6,616 92.61% $120.79
CHICAGO $547,833 6,401 74.09% $85.59
CONSTELLATIONS $600,043 5,159 99.21% $116.31
DISGRACED $333,065 4,586 62.45% $72.63
FISH IN THE DARK $1,177,593 8,720 101.58% $135.05
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $541,166 5,403 76.65% $100.16
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $337,003 4,476 47.66% $75.29
IF/THEN $603,920 7,788 74.26% $77.54
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $499,442 5,216 60.54% $95.75
JERSEY BOYS $734,939 7,709 78.47% $95.34
KINKY BOOTS $939,884 9,392 82.44% $100.07
LES MISÉRABLES $710,992 8,819 78.24% $80.62
MAMMA MIA! $578,257 7,157 76.73% $80.80
MATILDA $1,037,118 11,482 100.23% $90.33
ON THE TOWN $536,545 7,760 51.76% $69.14
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $293,584 4,233 97.71% $69.36
THE AUDIENCE $1,048,473 7,411 99.04% $141.48
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,548,797 8,745 102.54% $177.11
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $791,055 7,648 93.91% $103.43
THE ELEPHANT MAN $1,022,479 5,548 102.40% $184.30
THE LION KING $1,940,457 13,569 99.77% $143.01
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $829,721 10,114 78.77% $82.04
WICKED $1,646,631 14,771 96.52% $111.48
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $403,767 5,574 64.93% $72.44
Total $23,193,752 216,711 83.73% $104.57

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

“A Delicate Balance” Plays Its Final Performance

A Wildly Successful Beginning, Tapering Out

a delicate balanceWhen Glenn Close and John Lithgow began performances in this season’s revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance on October 20, 2014, ticketbuyers sprinted to the box office. When the show opened on November 20, 2014, critics were generally laudatory of the marvelous rendition directed by Pam MacKinnon, arguably the greatest contemporary interpreter of the works of Edward Albee. As such, in the first week of previews, the show brought in $884,596, which represented 102.25% of its gross potential. However, it never made it past the 100% mark in any other week. The next three weeks were also excellent, with the box office reaching in the high 90s of percentage of gross potential, and 100% of audience capacity. Soon, however, sales began to taper off slightly. Between November 18, 2014 and December 14, 2014, the show was still between 88% and 99% of audience capacity; however, percentage of gross potential was slightly lower, between 83% and 94% of the full potential. This shows that the production began to offer a limited number of discounted tickets. Most recently, as the run nears its end, the production has brought in sales in the low 50s of percentage of gross potential. The show plays its last performance on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

An Excellent Production, but a Competitive Seasona delicate balance

It is not clear exactly why the show began with such a strong start, but then lost steam as it continued to play throughout the run. Most likely, the show reached its saturation point with individuals who were particularly excited about Albee, or Glenn Close, or John Lithgow, or the play in particular. After many other shows began performances, some exciting musicals or other plays with big stars in the lead, there just weren’t enough audience members to sustain the packed houses as the winter season kicked in. The two plays that did manage to survive the cold season were It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper. However, most other shows remained in the midrange of ticket sales, competing with the regular favorites and mega musicals. In any case, this production can consider itself a success, whether or not it enters profits for its producers (the recoupment information has not been made public). It is an achievement merely to mount such a great dramatic work on Broadway and attract enough audience interest to maintain a fairly healthy commercial run.

“You Can’t Take It With You” Closes

Final Performance Sunday, February 22nd

you can't take it with youOn Sunday, February 22, 2015, You Can’t Take It With You will play its final performance at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. It began previews on August 26, 2014, and the official opening night took place on September 28, 2014. This comedic revival is directed by Scott Ellis, who also helmed The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper, which wraps up performances the day before. The play was written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, and original music was written for this production by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County). The play starred James Earl Jones as the patriarch, Grandpa Martin Vanderhof. Furthermore, Rose Byrne starred alongside him, making her Broadway debut. Additional roles were played by Fran Kranz (Death of a Salesman), Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots), and Byron Jennings (Arcadia). This comedy, originally written in 1936, takes place during the Great Depression. It is also a timely revival for the New York theatre scene, as last season Lincoln Center put on a play called Act One, which dealt with the life and collaborative partnership of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.

Critical Praise, and Commercial Survivaljames earl jones

Upon its opening night on September 28, 2014, critics were generally pleased with You Can’t Take It With You. Ben Brantley from The New York Times said that the only problem might be the pain in your cheeks after smiling for two and a half hours straight. Robert Kahn of NBC New York praised the performances of James Earl Jones, as well as Rose Byrne who is known for her performances in TV’s Damages as well as the film Bridesmaids. David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter enjoyed the play’s escapist pleasure, emphasizing a life well lived rather than one marked by success. On the other hand, Mark Kennedy from the Associated Press did not enjoy the references from the Great Depression, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and the 48 States. Unfortunately, the concept of a farcical Broadway “laughfest” has died down since the 30s, and a comedy that was once thought hilarious may now come off as a glorified television sitcom. Nevertheless, this Pulitzer Prize winning play from 1937 managed to charm critics and audiences alike in 2015, which is no small achievement.

A Difficult Sell at the Box Office

Despite the overall laudatory response from reviewers, the box office was a tough sell for this play revival in light of the highly competitive season. The show’s highest weekly gross took place in the week ending October 19, 2014, when it brought in $680,921, which represented 87.4% of its gross potential. Still, it mostly hovered around the $400,000 to $500,000 marks, with the lowest weekly gross of $334,244, which took place just recently in the week ending February 8, 2015. Though the play has notable stars such as the esteemed James Earl Jones, the cutthroat competition proved a bit too much to allow this play to be a real hit on Broadway.

“The Elephant Man” Concludes Its Run

A Broadway Success, Closing One Day Early

elephant manOn Saturday, February 21, 2015, The Elephant Man plays its final Broadway performance. It has been running at the Booth Theatre since it began previews on November 7, 2014, and opening night took place on December 7, 2014. This revival of the 1977 play by Bernard Pomerance was directed by Scott Ellis, and has received rave reviews and excellent box office performance. The production was originally scheduled to conclude one day later, on Sunday, February 22, 2015; Sunday is a common closing night for Broadway shows. However, this particular Sunday also happens to be the Academy Awards, of which the star of The Elephant Man – Bradley Cooper – was nominated for two for the biographical war film American Sniper. Not only is this the third consecutive year in which Cooper has received an Academy Award acting nomination (the previous two were for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), but this is the first time he is also being honored with the nomination for Best Picture, as he is also a producer on American Sniper. This was therefore a good enough reason for The Elephant Man to cancel their final planned performance, allowing Cooper to travel to Los Angeles for the Academy Awards. This is the second instance in which Cooper cancelled performances for an awards ceremony; the first was for the DGA Awards on February 7-8, 2015.

Next Up: London’s West Endelephant man

Following the huge critical and commercial success of the Broadway run, The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper in the lead role will arrive at London’s West End this spring. It will begin performances at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on May 19, 2015, and is scheduled to run until August 8, 2015. It will be a transfer production also directed by Scott Ellis, and Bradley Cooper’s co-stars Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola will join the London run as well. This will actually be the third time that these four individuals will have collaborated on this piece; the first instance was at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in summer 2012. It is remarkable that Cooper has the stamina to continue to play this physically demanding role, in which he transforms into a deformed man based off a real-life figure named John Merrick. Cooper portrays Merrick, as the play has been traditionally done, without means of any stage makeup, but rather by means of physicality alone. It is therefore testament to Cooper’s true acting chops to be able to maintain this role in a third incarnation, which not all actors known for their film successes would be able to do.

Excellent Box Office Sales

In the last week of reported sales, the week ending February 15, 2015, The Elephant Man brought in an impressive gross of $1,113,192. This was the sixth highest grossing show that week, and by far the highest grossing straight play. It was only beat out by musicals, specifically The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Aladdin, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. This eight performance week followed a six performance week in which Cooper took off two shows to attend the DGA awards, causing the production to cancel those performances. Therefore, there is intense demand for this show as it nears its closing performance. After all, it will be a bit more difficult for New York theatregoers to catch the show in London.