Christina Morningside

About Christina Morningside

Christina Morningside is a native New Yorker who grew up loving theater and writing for various periodicals on the subject including Playbill and BroadwayWorld. Christina is an alumna from Columbia University in the City of New York and serves on several historic preservation committees in the city. When Christina is not at a Broadway show she can be found outdoors in Vermont enjoying snowshoeing or skiing.

“On the Twentieth Century” Opens

A Revival of a Screwball Musical Comedy

on the twentieth centuryOn March 15, 2015, On the Twentieth Century played its opening night performance at the American Airlines Theatre. Produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, this musical is a revival of the original produced in 1978, which in turn was based off a play from 1932 by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, which was based off an unpublished by Charles Bruce Millholland. Furthermore, a film entitled Twentieth Century was released in 1934 based off the Hecht and MacArthur play. This musical has book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Singin’ in the Rain, Bells are Ringing, Wonderful Town), and a score by Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, City of Angels, The Will Rogers Follies, Barnum). Following its 1978 Broadway run, the show won the Tony Award for Best Book as well as the Tony Award for Best Original Score, and then transferred to the West End in 1980. With the exception of a smaller London production in 2010, this is the first major revival. Directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, the musical stars Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher, Mary-Louise Wilson, Michael McGrath, Andy Karl, and Mark Linn-Baker.

Overall Positive ReviewsON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

The reviews are in, and critics are generally laudatory of this production. Ben Brantley wore none of his sometime cynicism in writing that he was on cloud nine following this performance, praising the “over-the-moon” acting which is a level above over-acting. In this case, he believes the extravagant performances by Chenoweth and Gallagher, among others, served the material brilliantly, and furthermore he was delighted to see a musical revival that isn’t revived very often, in this case for the first time. Joe Dziemianowicz calls the show Broadway musical bliss, delighting in everything from David Rockwell’s art deco set of the locomotive train, to Chenoweth’s dynamite comedy and voice. Frank Scheck from the New York Post delights in the fact that they don’t make musicals, or write dialogue, like this anymore, and likewise calls the show theatrical bliss. Jesse Green in Vulture calls the revival delicious, acknowledging that there are a million reasons why the show shouldn’t work today, but that Chenoweth above all makes those reasons fall to the wayside, as the role of Lily Garland is perfectly suited to her natural gifts. David Rooney of The Hollywood Report was more on the fence, deeming that Scott Ellis is off his game and that the mock operetta style becomes tedious to watch.

Mediocre Box Office Performance

Despite these largely positive reviews, the show is still struggling at the box office. This is not surprising, because most of these critical responses were extravagantly positive especially because they did not expect to like it. The show’s title, description, and appearance seem to make it very dated, and this makes it a difficult sell at the box office. It doesn’t matter that the show defies expectations, because you have to buy a ticket to find that out. In the full week of performances following the release of these reviews, the show’s weekly gross went up by only $75,479, bringing it to a gross of $466,078 across eight performances. This is only 56.69% of the week’s gross potential. Still, the Roundabout is managing to fill many of its seats, as the show did average over 100% of audience capacity in the last two weeks. However, with a top ticket price of $229.00, the average paid admission was $80.30, showing a heavy amount of discounting. Fortunately, the Roundabout is equipped to handle these numbers as a not-for-profit theatre company.

David Hare’s “Skylight” Begins Previews

The Long Road from the National Theatre

Skylight-Broadway-Play-Tickets-176-012814On March 13, 2015, Skylight began previews at Broadway’s John Golden Theatre. It is scheduled to open officially on April 2, 2015, and to run for a limited engagement until June 14, 2015. The play was written by David Hare, and first premiered in 1995, when it was directed by Richard Eyre starring Michael Gambon and Lia Williams. At the time, it opened at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre, transferred to the West End, and then to Broadway, where it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, among other Tony nominations. It had also won the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 1996. Following the Broadway premiere, Skylight returned for another engagement in the West End, this time at the Vaudeville Theatre starring Bill Nighy and Stella Gonet in 1997. In June 2014, a revival of Skylight opened at the Wyndham’s Theatre. That revival was directed by Stephen Daldry, and starred Carey Mulligan alongside Bill Nighy, playing the same part as in 1997. In July 2014, the show was broadcast to cinemas around the world through the National Theatre’s NT Live programme. This helped it gain momentum towards its Broadway run, where it has just begun previews with the same cast as the recent West End revival.

A Promising Start at the Box Officecarey mulligan bill nighy skylight

In the three performances for which box office figures have been thus far reported, Skylight is performing fairly well, although it is not selling out at this stage. Over the course of those three shows, the box office gross was $253,369, which represents 83.59% of its gross potential. With an average paid admission of $105.31, the show’s top ticket price was $248.00, and the audience was at 100.0% capacity. This demonstrates that the show’s producers – Robert Fox and Scott Rudin – have stealthily employed discounting strategies to perfectly fill up the house while maximizing box office grosses. Of course, the expert ticket price strategist Scott Rudin would much prefer not to discount at all, a feat he has managed with an astounding number of his shows, and perhaps as word of mouth spreads, and reviews are eventually published, the production may gain enough traction so as to be able to stop discounting. After all, Carey Mulligan is a big household name, especially with her recent film starring roles such as Daisy in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Furthermore, the NT Live exhibition of the London production has served as the best advertising a play can ask for, so hopefully ticket sales will continue to increase as the spring weather comes on more strongly.

A Small Play with a Large Message

Skylight is the first of David Hare’s plays to be set wholly in one room. Carey Mulligan plays Kyra Hollis, a schoolteacher in East London who had previously been living with a family by the name of Sargeant. The play has only three characters. At first, Kyra converses with Edward Sargeant (played by Matthew Beard), who was the son of the family she had lived with. It comes out that Kyra had had an affair with Edward’s father Tom, and she had left her living quarters with their family when Tom’s wife had discovered this adultery. Since that time, Edward’s mother has died, and he confronts Kyra about having abandoned him, as he considers to be like a sister to him. Soon, Tom shows up unannounced, and Kyra cooks an entire spaghetti dinner for him onstage. It becomes clear that the future of their relationship depends on whether they can both lay to rest their preconceived opinions of each other.

“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.

“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.

“Live with Kelly and Michael” to Air “After Oscar® Show”

live with kelly and michaelKelly Ripa and Michael Strahan Bring the Show to Hollywood

On the morning after the Academy Awards, Monday, February 23, 2015, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan will air their fourth annual special segment of Live with Kelly and Michael: their After Oscar® Show. The show will film from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, where the episode will include interviews from the red carpet and backstage, as well as live on the show. Both winners and presenters will be featured as special guests, interviewed by Kelly and Michael with their renowned style. Presumably, the show will return to New York the following morning for their regularly scheduled programming, where it is filmed at ABC Studios at 7 Lincoln Square, on the corner of West 67th St and Columbus Avenue. The show airs on WABC-TV and is syndicated throughout the country. It normally tapes live at 9:00am Eastern Standard Time, and then is tape-delayed to play at the same time in the rest of the country.

Will It Really Be “Live”?live kelly michael oscars

It has long been apparent that Live with Kelly and Michael, as well as the franchise’s predecessors Live with Regis and Kelly and other couples, actually incorporate a limited amount of live content. Some attendees of the live studio audience have complained that their experience is made less enjoyable due to the fact that Kelly and Michael appear in the same clothes as they were wearing on previously taped segments, wherein they actually interviewed celebrity guests. Studio audience members, therefore, are often asked to sit through pre-recorded interviews played on a large monitor, awaiting the less interesting live segments wherein Kelly and Michael introduce the guests. This After Oscar® special will most likely have a similar structure, particularly because the show will surely include many pre-taped segments from the night before at the Academy Awards, both on the red carpet and backstage. However, some of these guests will hopefully also visit the live studio taping the following morning, as that is the reason that the show will relocate to Hollywood in the first place.

The History of the Franchise

Michael Strahan has been Kelly Ripa’s co-host on Live with Kelly and Michael since 2012, when Kelly was in search of a replacement following the departure of Regis Philbin. The concept of pairing Regis with a female co-host dates back to 1988, when his co-host was Kathie Lee Gifford, and the show was called Live with Regis and Kathie Lee from 1988 to 2000. It took a year for Regis to find a suitable replacement for Kathie Lee, and thus the show was called only Live with Regis from 2000 to 2001. Kelly Ripa, at the time a successful soap opera star, was paired with Regis in 2001, and Live with Regis and Kelly was born, which lasted until 2011 when Regis finally retired. Similar to when Regis was left alone, Kelly hosted the show with a series of rotating cohosts for a year from 2011 to 2012, until Michael Strahan joined her. Strahan had already hosted the show 16 times, so it was a natural fit although not as highly rated as other trial co-hosts such as Seth Meyers, who soon got his own late night show. However, ever since Strahan joined Kelly, the show has been on a whole new level with renewed, healthy ratings.

“The Heart of Robin Hood” Delays Broadway Run

heart of robin hoodProducers Extend Toronto Run for Four Weeks

The Heart of Robin Hood is a new play by David Farr, directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson, and featuring music by the bluegrass roots band Parsonsfield, based in Connecticut. It was scheduled to begin previews on Broadway on March 11, 2015, but producers recently announced that the show would not play as planned. The reasoning is principally due to low ticket sales. The group sales box office reported slower interest than anticipated, and meanwhile the Toronto run was selling very well. Therefore, the producers opted to extend the run at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre for four weeks until March 29, 2015. Another reason that this decision may have been made is that the producers had only arranged for a limited run of 5 weeks at the Marquis Theatre, due to theatre availability. However, it would be significantly more preferable to have a theatre that allowed for the potential of an open-ended run, as this show could be a long running hit if it found the right traction. Therefore, the next time the show finds a theatre, it may be able to arrange for a longer availability. It is not clear if the producers needed to pay a fee for the last-minute cancellation, but Broadway theatres are always in high demand, so chances are it will be snatched up quickly.

Not a Musical, Not a Spectacle, Not a Spoofheart of robin hood

Though Toronto audiences are finding The Heart of Robin Hood to be a very appealing show, a prominent Toronto critic expressed ambivalence about whether the show would fare well on Broadway. Though its themes, classic story, and fun staging are all certainly appealing for children and adults alike, it is not a musical, which could make it a less interesting choice with all of the musical options on Broadway at the moment. Furthermore, it is not purely a spectacle such as Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, so it will not be able to ride exclusively on that. Nevertheless, it does contain a fair amount of acrobatics, comedy, aerial choreography, swashbuckling, and dramatic tension. Still, it is not a spoof either, as the show is a fairly serious rendition of the classic Robin Hood tale, although with a unique take. Therefore, it may be tricky for the play to find its audience enough to sustain it through the difficult opening weeks. The play stars Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert (Matilda the Musical) as the title character Robin Hood, as well as Tony Award nominee Euan Morton (Taboo) as his nemesis Prince John, in addition to Izzie Steele as his love interest Marion, and Christian Lloyd as the character Pierre.

Indefinitely Postponed

It is not clear when the show will come to Broadway. The Toronto run is extended for another four weeks, and it could potentially extend further. There is always a lot of demand for theatres on Broadway, and it will be a matter of reconciling schedules – with the landlords, cast members, and other key team members – in order to find the perfect slot to bring this show to Broadway. The play succeeded earlier this year in Winnipeg, and played to rave reviews in Ashland, Oregon at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Time will tell whether the more cutthroat environment of Broadway will welcome this unique play when it finally does come to town. However, the press agent Boneau Bryan Brown removed the show from their website, indicating it will not be coming any time particularly soon. Coincidentally, the account representative from BBB, Christine Olver, left the organization at around the same time as the show announced its delay, relinquishing her shows including The Heart of Robin HoodThe Book of MormonThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeThe Elephant Man, and Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS to other BBB staff members. Therefore, it will be up to another press contact to liaise with reviewers and press personnel when The Heart of Robin Hood does eventually come back to Broadway.

Letterman Announces Final Show Date; Colbert Announces Debut

Letterman Will Step Down on May 20, 2015

David Letterman Studio - smallSince 1993, David Letterman has been leading his late night talk show, Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. In April 2014, it was announced that he would retire, and then in December, the date of May 20, 2015 was given as the day he would conclude his tenure. He has served as a role model for many talk show hosts who became his contemporaries and some his successors. He received a prestigious honor at the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in 2012, and he earned the George Foster Peabody Award in 1992 for his innovative contribution to the talk show genre. His comedy has been honored with accolades ranging from the first of Comedy Central’s annual “The Comedy Awards” Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence, to the twice receipt of the American Comedy Awards honor of Funniest Male Performer. His retirement has been a slow revelation to his reverent public, who will surely miss his regular presence of their television screens.

Colbert Will Take Over on September 8, 2015Steven Colbert and David Letterman take a selfie

After a summer hiatus, Late Show will continue with Stephen Colbert at the helm. His lauded and renowned The Colbert Report concluded on December 18, 2014. One of the major discussion points in the media has been over Colbert’s fake personality from The Colbert Report and whether he will be as successful in the more sober role of a straight talk show personality. The truth is, no one knows exactly what blend of comedy and character Colbert will bring to his new position, as he surely will not undermine his own comedic instincts. Rather, this will be a chance for him to flex his comedic muscle in a new way, a challenge that is in all probability quite welcome for a change of pace. He will be bringing his same support team from The Colbert Report to his new place on Late Show, and he will also clearly bring his trademark intelligence and wit. The show will still be topical and deal with current events, and he will need to introduce himself to his audience, new and old, as the real guy Stephen Colbert.

A Season of Late Night Host Handovers

Colbert taking over for Letterman is one of many handovers that has been announced this season. In early 2014, Jimmy Fallon took over for Jay Leno, and he has filled those shoes so seamlessly that many of his fans have probably forgotten his old timeslot. As for the inevitable chain reaction, Seth Meyers took over the vacant slot left by Jimmy Fallon in February 2014. Finally, Craig Ferguson gave his last episode of the Late Late Show on December 19, 2014, and it has recently been announced that his successor will be the British comedian James Corden, who is best known in the United States for his critically praised lead performance in Broadway’s One Man, Two Guv’nors. Now he will have a chance to show and refine his chops for a much wider American audience.

January 2015 Broadway Show Closings

Wintertime Brings Many Shows to a Close

As the January cold settles in, and it becomes clear that it won’t be sunny anytime soon, many Broadway shows have decided to shutter their doors. This is a common time to close shows that want to get a final push from the holiday season, but know they will not optimize their financial future to remain open through the rest of the winter. Some of these are long-running shows that are closing at a profit; some are new shows that never made it work for them financially. In any case, the decision to close in January is not related to the quality of the shows themselves, some of which never manage to find their audiences despite an amazing production and efforts by all involved.

“Motown” to Close and then Re-Open

Vinyl record poster Motown the Musical Broadway Show One unusual choice was made by the producers of Motown – the Musical. While the show will close on January 18, 2015, this will only be temporary. The musical will return to Broadway 18 months later: in July 2016. In the meantime, the show will tour around the United States and United Kingdom. The U.S. tour is already underway, with the company just having wrapped up in Chicago. The U.K. tour will begin in summer 2015. The show had a medium to high capitalization of $18 million, which the producers claim will be recouped by the time the Broadway run closes this week. These numbers will of course be aided by the multiple tours. Despite the high benchmark, the musical sold very well since it began previews on March 11, 2013, with its opening night on April 14, 2013 solidifying it as a crowd favorite. The brand name of the musical genre, along with the unique qualities of the musical style and demographic, have allowed the show to do very well. For many weeks it had remained in the millionaire’s club, and even this summer with a decline in sales it still hovered around the $1 million mark. In the week ending January 11, 2015, the show brought in $1,086,042.

Straight Plays that Never Made the Numbers Work

Two plays are closing this January: This is Our Youth and The Real Thing. Neither play succeeded in recouping this is our youththe-real-thing-pink-and-blackits capitalization. The is Our Youth is written by Kenneth Lonergan, and stars young Hollywood sensations Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson. The show is also directed by hot helmer Anna D. Shapiro. However, audiences were not quite a match for this play, which deals with themes of reckless youth and drug use, and the show never made back its money. It closed on January 4, 2015. In addition, The Real Thing is a Tom Stoppard revival that failed to meet expectations. With a starry cast including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ewan McGregor, Cynthia Nixon, and Josh Hamilton, the play was directed by young hot director Sam Gold. The play closed as planned on January 4, 2015, but it never did as well as the pedigree of its creative team could have implied.

Last Chance Musicals: “Pippin”, “Rock of Ages”, “Cinderella”, “Side Show”, “Once”

rock of ages small photo 100x70Rock of Ages closes on January 18, 2015, marking the conclusion of a successful run that began on March 17, 2009. The jukebox musical featuring 80s hits and a rock n roll love story was turned into a high-budget feature film, and continued to attract audiences for blue red yellow Pippin Broadway Musical posterover 5 years. Still, the producers must have decided the show was no longer making financial sense. Once is another musical that had an undeniably successful run but has now closed on January 4, 2015. After winning eight 2012 Tony Awards including the coveted honor of Best

side showMusical, Once continued to play for several years. The U.S. tour is scheduled to run until August 2015. Diane Paulus’ rendition of Pippin also closed on January 4, 2015 after a successful run since March 23, 2013, including the Tony win of Best Revival of a Musical. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella also closed that week on January 3, 2015, after running since January 25, 2013. That show also entertained a huge number of Cinderella Broadway Musical Rogers Hammerstein logo audiences, but was not as successful as producers probably had wished. Finally, Side Show closed to the disappointment of its team on January 4, 2015, after runningonce small image for only 56 regular performances and 21 previews. This musical failed to gain traction this fall season and was forced to leave by the theatre landlords.

“Side Show” Opens on Broadway

Daisy and Violet Hilton Take Center Stage

side showOn November 17, 2014, Side Show opened at the St. James Theatre, following 21 preview performances that began on October 28, 2014. This musical with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls) was first produced on Broadway in 1997. At the time, the show was not a big success; in fact, it closed after only 91 performances. Though this 2014 revival has not yet made it to 91, chances are that it will last at least until then. A few things are different about this production than the original. First of all, the marketing campaign is much more elegant and flashy, whereas the earlier production utilized a kitschy circus design. Secondly, the actual book of the musical was revised along with the director Bill Condon for this new production, which began at the La Jolla Playhouse in late 2013 prior to the Broadway transfer. The new book takes a darker approach, going more into the details of the real-life Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, on whom the musical is based. Finally, several new songs were incorporated such as “Cut Them Apart” sung by a group of English doctors in a flashback, as well as “All in the Mind” which is a lesson taught to the girls by Harry Houdini. In addition, the ladies’ big performance number is a new song entitled “Ready to Play.”

The Reviews are In, and Critics are Mixed

Whereas most reviewers commended this “revisal” for its improvement on the original, still many critics were not sold on the piece. side show erin davie emily padgettMelissa Rose Bernardo of Entertainment Weekly found this production to be leaden and only occasionally moving, claiming it is highly dissimilar from the original. Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News praised the show for its delightfully off-beat topic, commendable lead performances, and evocative design, but still criticized it for its thin characters and inconsistent plot. David Cote of Time Out New York found the production to be excellent, praising director Bill Condon and lead actresses Erin Davie and Emily Padgett, but still could not get over the feeling that the show itself is second rate. Still, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times was astounded by the show as well as the production, believing it to be a timely revival in this era welcoming to freaks, and feeling moved by the complexity of the storyline. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter was equally impressed, calling the show fresh and exotic.

Box Office Unfazed by Reviews

It appears that those interested in buying tickets to Side Show are not very interested in reading reviews, or at least they are not judging their decision to attend this show based on reviews. Since the show began previews, both before and after the reviews came out, the numbers have barely fluctuated at all. In the most recent reported week, the week ending December 7, 2014, the show brought in $483,252, only slightly higher from the figures in the first full eight performance week ending November 16, 2014, which brought in $449,747. In the week immediately after reviews came out, the week ending November 23, 2014, the show actually experienced its first slight decline in sales from the week prior, which must have been a significant disappointment to the producers, who are always eagerly awaiting the post-opening box office report. That week, the show brought in $419,203, representing 40.59% of the gross potential. The goes to show that the musical is only holding a mild attraction for theatregoers, who are not affected by the critical response.

Drama League Winners Announced

drama leagueThe 80th Annual Drama League Awards Ceremony took place today, May 16, 2014.  The luncheon was held in the Broadway Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square.  Though the Drama League Awards are not considered to be as high an honor as the Tony Awards, it is definitely an immense distinction to earn a Drama League Award, and they are often thought to point to the direction that the Tony Awards may be leaning.  Led by executive director Gabriel Shanks, the Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America, having been given since 1922, and formally awarded since 1935.  The Tony Awards, on the other hand, were founded in 1947.  They are distinguished from all other major awards because they are chosen by audience members, specifically the thousands of individuals who make up the Drama League membership from all around the country.

And now for the winners!  The award for Distinguished Production of a Musical was given to A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which is also nominated for the equivalent Tony category, and which has been nominated for the greatest number of Tony Awards: 10.  This adds momentum to the Tony campaign for this new musical, whose competitors for thea gentleman's guide to love and murder a new musical comedy Tony category of Best Musical are Aladdin, After Midnight, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.  The award for Distinguished Production of a Play was given to All the Way by Robert Schenkkan.  Starring Bryan Cranston as Lyndon Johnson, the play is a historical drama recounting the era of civil rights struggles in the 1960s.  The Distinguished Revival of a Musical was chosen to be Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and the Distinguished Revival of Play was determined to be The Glass Menagerie.  The Drama League only gives one Distinguished Performance Award, which was awarded to Neil Patrick Harris for his performance in the title role of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Furthermore, Barbara Cook was given an award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre.  At the age of 86, Cook was last seen on Broadway in 2010 for Sondheim on Sondheim, and she is well known for her roles in such shows as Plain and Fancy, Candide, and The Music Man.  In addition, the award for Unique Contribution to the Theatre was given to John Gore of Key Brand Entertainment and Broadway Across America.  Gore founded Key Brand Entertainment in 2004, and acquired Broadway Across America in 2008, as well as the e-commerce theatre website Broadway.com.  As a theatre producer, Gore’s Broadway credits include Bullets over Broadway, Betrayal, Jerusalem, Passing Strange, One Man Two Guv’nors, The Mountaintop, and many more.  Finally, the Founders Award for Excellence in Directing was given to John Tiffany, who directed The Glass Menagerie this season.  Of Scottish origin, Tiffany has only three Broadway credits, the first of which was Once, winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Musical and a long-running hit.  He also directed Alan Cumming’s one man show Macbeth last year.