“Finding Neverland” Thrives Despite Tony Snub

Broadway Proving Not So Welcoming to Harvey Weinstein

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 Proving the hostility Weinstein felt towards the Broadway community, he rescinded the invitations to the approximately 700 Tony voters, who are generally offered a free pair of tickets to all shows on Broadway.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

A Pitiful Series of Reviewsfinding neverland

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

Strong Box Office and Celebrity Album

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

“It Shoulda Been You” Box Office Unmoved By Reviews

Tyne Daly Stars In This Untraditional Wedding Comedy

it shoulda been youThis past week, the week ending May 24, 2015, It Shoulda Been You brought in $378,180 at the box office. This is a decrease from the first full week following the show’s opening on April 14, 2015. In the week ending April 26, 2015, which is the first week of eight performances after the post opening reviews hit the press, the gross was $447,362. However, a month later, the grosses are dragging, and this isn’t looking good for a musical that received no Tony nominations in an exciting period of Broadway theatergoing, when many other shows are buzzing from the awards season. It Shoulda Been You has a book by Brian Hargrove and a score by Barbara Anselmi, both of whom are making their Broadway debuts with this musical. The show had a pre-Broadway trial run at the George Street Playhouse in 2011, and then transferred to Broadway this season. The biggest name involved is the director, David Hyde Pierce, who is well known for his acting roles both on screen (“Frasier,” Nixon), as well as stage (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, La Bete, Curtains). This, however, is his Broadway directorial debut. As it happens, Brian Hargrove, the book writer, is his life partner. Nevertheless, Pierce and team have constructed an entertaining, unconventional, if still not utterly exhilarating, piece of musical theatre.

Difficulty at the Box Officeit shoulda been you

For this past week’s gross of $378,180, the show brought in only 38.16% of its gross potential. The greatest percentage reached of this potential thus far was the week ending April 26, 2015, when the show brought in $447,362, representing 45.14% of its gross potential. Still, the following week saw a decrease in ticket sales of $97,081, bringing the weekly box office down to $350,281. In the week following, it increased slightly, and then increased even more slightly the week after that, but this past week saw a decrease again of $40,236 from the week before. Therefore, this show is demonstrating no level of increased interest from the reviews, which were decidedly mixed. It did not help that It Shoulda Been You received no Tony nominations, and is a relatively small scale musical with few big names attached. The biggest star in the show is Tyne Daly, who plays the mother of the bride, and whose other Broadway credits include Mothers and Sons, Master Class, and Rabbit Hole. Though she is a fairly important name on Broadway, that isn’t generally enough to sway ticket sales when many other shows feature big Hollywood stars. The other main actors are Sierra Boggess (Master Class, The Little Mermaid), Harriet Harris (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Thoroughly Modern Millie), and David Burtka (Gypsy, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?). None of these names are large enough to have much impact on the box office, and with poor reviews and no Tony Awards recognition, this show may have difficulty maintaining even the low box office it has been achieving thus far.

Mixed Reviews from Critics

Ben Brantley of The New York Times did not like It Shoulda Been You, found the show aggressively bubbly. Meanwhile, Adam Feldman of Time Out New York felt that the only way to enjoy this musical was to deceive oneself that one is watching a lost TV show from the 1970s, denoting that the show feels dated. Steven Suskin from the Huffington Post proclaimed that the show was only laudable for its load of Jewish related humor. Robert Kahn from NBC New York enjoyed the campy nature of the show, and also found the cast to be a dream team for a musical about a wedding. Only Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter was fully in favor of this show, relishing in the modern twist presented by this otherwise traditional proceedings. However, these reviews were overall not very positive, and are certainly not a major incentive for ticket buyers in this otherwise very enticing Broadway season.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/24/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Something Rotten!” Breaks Through to Hit Status

In the week ending May 24, 2015, the new musical Something Rotten! earned 102.71% of its gross potential, breaking through the 100% mark for the first time. Also, the show broke through the million dollar mark for the first time, bringing in $1,064,165. This show is nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical, which has certainly helped spur an increased interest in ticket sales in anticipation of the awards. The show deals with a pair of brothers, Nigel and Nick Bottom, who live in Shakespeare’s time and are having trouble competing with him – until they invent the world’s first musical. Though Ben Brantley of The New York Times found the show to be overly sugary and falsely attempting an endless string of show stoppers, most other critics were delighted by the score and storyline. In every week since the show began previews at the end of March, it has increased its weekly gross from the week before. This past week, it took a jump of $113,747 from the week before, continuing the trend of continuous increasing. There is not much further up this gross can go, but there is still a little wiggle room, as this past week it filled the audience capacity to an average of 96.9%. The pressure is high for the Tony Awards, and this show is proving to be a strong contender, along with An American in Paris and Fun Home.

“The Visit” Barely Holding On Despite Tony Nominations

Among the four shows nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical, Kander and Ebb’s The Visit looks least likely to win. Not only were the reviews decidedly mixed, but the box office has been stalled and gasping for breath. This past week, The Visit brought in $201,623, which represents only 26.44% of its gross potential. Among all the shows running on Broadway, this is the least percentage reached of gross potential. The second lowest percentage was achieved by Gigi, which brought in 33.98% of its gross potential. Still, The Visit is staying alive, if only to wait out the results of the Tony Awards. Chances are it will close shortly after that event. It seems that ticket buyers were barely swayed, if at all, by the Tony nomination for this show, as this week actually marks a decrease in ticket sales from the week before. The previous week, it brought in $211,430, so this week was a loss of $9,807. Since the show began previews at the end of March, it has been flip flopping around a weekly gross of approximately $200,000, the lowest yet in a full performance week being $167,410, and the highest yet being $224,289. Therefore, theatergoers are just not interested in seeing this Tony nominated musical amongst all the other choices, even though they will likely not have many more weeks to catch it.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending May 24, 2015:Broadway Show Ticket Gross Chart 5-24-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $633,136 6,501 89.59% $97.39
AIRLINE HIGHWAY $172,882 3,568 71.13% $48.45
ALADDIN $1,516,242 13,786 100.01% $109.98
AN ACT OF GOD $729,982 6,639 82.49% $109.95
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,349,932 13,481 100.36% $100.14
BEAUTIFUL $1,145,564 8,210 100.02% $139.53
CHICAGO $737,596 8,580 99.31% $85.97
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,107,925 11,334 94.20% $97.75
FISH IN THE DARK $1,215,229 8,719 101.57% $139.38
FUN HOME $627,641 6,006 102.84% $104.50
GIGI $457,095 7,120 64.31% $64.20
HAND TO GOD $442,073 5,478 88.70% $80.70
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $478,538 5,321 75.49% $89.93
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $378,180 5,911 73.01% $63.98
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $659,426 6,650 77.18% $99.16
JERSEY BOYS $723,418 7,598 77.34% $95.21
KINKY BOOTS $1,012,506 10,057 88.28% $100.68
LES MISÉRABLES $805,027 9,797 86.91% $82.17
MAMMA MIA! $766,648 8,663 92.87% $88.50
MATILDA $941,402 10,931 95.42% $86.12
ON THE TOWN $638,515 11,431 76.25% $55.86
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $621,043 5,767 99.84% $107.69
SKYLIGHT $799,055 6,414 99.97% $124.58
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,064,165 12,919 96.87% $82.37
THE AUDIENCE $1,158,926 7,555 100.96% $153.40
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,551,727 8,752 102.63% $177.30
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $781,356 7,743 95.08% $100.91
THE KING AND I $1,069,486 8,376 100.00% $127.68
THE LION KING $2,066,573 13,601 100.01% $151.94
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,074,914 12,305 95.83% $87.36
THE VISIT $201,623 4,795 66.52% $42.05
WICKED $1,776,153 15,155 98.36% $117.20
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $600,295 6,403 57.87% $93.75
Totals $29,304,272 285,566 89.43% $100.18

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

“Doctor Zhivago” Concludes Run Early

Shuttered After Only 26 Previews and 23 Regular Performances

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

Unanimous Discontent Among Critics and Tony Votersdoctor zhivago

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

Struggles at the Box Office

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

“An Act of God” Begins Previews

Jim Parsons Stars in this Satirical Play

an act of godOn May 7, 2015, An Act of God began previews at Studio 54, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company. In choosing to opening after the late April cut-off for Tony consideration, Roundabout was not positioning this show to succeed on the renown achieved by awards. Though it will be eligible for next year’s awards, it is generally the case that shows which have long ago shuttered before Tony consideration are often neglected or slighted. For example, Jez Butterworth’s highly commended play The River, which starred Hugh Jackman, broke box office records, and closed this fall after a limited engagement, did not receive any Tony nominations for this year’s awards. In any case, the show is sure to be an exciting one among audience members, if only for its lead actor, the beloved comedic star Jim Parsons. Parsons first came to fame from his television roles such as on “The Big Bang Theory,” and has since warmed many hearts on Broadway in Harvey and The Normal Heart. Though this play is not exactly a one-man show, as two other actors are billed in the cast, it is principally a showcase for Parsons’ comedic talents, as he plays none other than God. The play is written by David Javerbaum, based on his book The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. Javerbaum is also well known for being head writer and executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and soon to be the same on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

The Mysteries of Existence and Other Laughsan act of god

An Act of God professes to be a means for God to communicate his answers to the great questions such as the mysteries of existence. Satirical in nature, Jim Parsons speaks in a formalized godly voice to shed light on these profundities regarding existence and life on earth. The show is directed by Joe Mantello, who worked with Jim Parson as an actor in The Normal Heart, and who has directed many Broadway shows including Airline Highway, The Last Ship, and Casa Valentina. The two other roles are Michael, played by Christopher Fitzgerald (The Merchant of Venice, Chicago), and Gabriel, played by Tim Kazurinksy (“Saturday Night Live,” Police Academy films). The scenic design is by Scott Pask, the costumes are by David Zinn, the lighting design is by Hugh Vanstone, sound design is by Fitz Patton, and projection design is by Peter Nigrini. When David Javerbaum launched his book, he also coined the twitter handle @TheTweetOfGod. Now on Broadway, this twitter campaign is adapted for the stage show, making comments from the mouth of God in reference to the Broadway play.

A Divine Box Office Launch

In the first partial week of performances, in which An Act of God had four shows, the play brought in $477,703 at the box office, which represents 93.01% of its gross potential. This is an excellent feat for a new play with a small cast, especially amidst all the Tony excitement for other nominated shows. The following week, when the show had a full week of eight performances, it brought in $738,682, which is a slight decrease in percentage reached of gross potential, amounting to 73.3%. Still, the average paid ticket was $113.84, demonstrating that people are interested in paying top dollar for this hilarious and unusual show on Broadway. The show opens on May 28, 2015, and is currently scheduled to close on August 2, 2015.

Four Newly Opened Shows Vie for Best Musical

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

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

Post-Opening Critical Responsesomething rotten

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

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

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

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

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

An Overall Excellent Week on Broadway

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

Greater than 100% of Gross Potential

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

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

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

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

“Wolf Hall” Steady at the Box Office after Eight Tony Nominations

A Double Bill of English Historical Drama

wolf hallOn April 9, 2015, Wolf Hall: Parts One and Two opened at the Winter Garden Theater. This double bill of plays went by the names Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies during its London run, as those are the names of the novels on which the plays are based. Those productions opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company and then transferred to the West End’s Aldwych Theatre, where the run wrapped up on October 4, 2014. The shows then transferred to Broadway with previews beginning March 20, 2015. The novels were also adapted into a BBC mini-series starring Mark Rylance (Jerusalem, Boeing Boeing) as Thomas Cromwell. After airing in the United Kingdom on March 8, 2013, that five part mini-series aired in the United States on PBS starting April 5, 2015, coinciding with the Broadway run of the show. The stage adaptations were written by Mike Poulton based on Hilary Mantel’s novels, with music by Stephen Warbeck. The shows are directed by Jeremy Herrin, an accomplished British director who is making his Broadway debut with these shows in repertory. On Broadway, the role of Thomas Cromwell is played by Ben Miles, who was previously seen on Broadway in the triple bill productions of The Norman Conquests, which were also transfers from London.

Generally Rave Reviews from U.S. Criticswolf hall

When the reviews came out for Wolf Hall, it was clear that most critics loved the show, though a few were on the fence. Ben Brantley of The New York Times was in the supporting camp, deeming the subject matter of British history to be extraordinarily good gossip. Though admitting it is a high brow work, he proclaims these stage plays, unlike the novels and mini-series, to be a whole lot of fun. David Cote in Time Out New York likewise enjoyed the productions, calling Ben Miles’ performance as Thomas Cromwell “cunning,” and delighting in the almost six hours of arguing between pope and crown. David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter remarked on the low odds that this 1,000 page pair of novels would amount to popular success, but deemed the productions and acting ensemble to be first rate. Furthermore, Robert Kahn of NBC New York found the ensemble to be finely tuned, praising the productions while admitting that they demand intense focus from the audience to keep up. Linda Winer from Newsday was less in complete favor of the shows, calling Jeremy Herrin’s direction handsome but unsurprising, seemingly bored with the overabundance of material on this historical period.

Tony Nominations and Box Office Response

Wolf Hall: Parts One and Two received an incredible eight Tony Award nominations. The double bill received nominations for Best Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Ben Miles, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Nathaniel Parker, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for Lydia Leonard, Best Scenic Design of a Play, Best Costume Design of a Play, Best Lighting Design of Play, and Best Direction of a Play for Jeremy Herrin. Therefore, although critics and awards nominees alike loved the show, that response does not seem greatly to have affected the interest of audience members in buying tickets to the productions. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending May 10, 2015, the show brought in $630,653, which is only 51.56% of its gross potential. The highest week thus far in the run was its first full week of performances, when it reached 64.38% of its gross potential, and the lowest thus far was 42.81% of its gross potential in the week ending April 12, 2015, just after opening. Therefore, it seems that the British history diehards will buy tickets to this show independent of recognition by the Tony committee and critics, perhaps assuming the positive reviews that it inevitably received. More casual theatregoers, however, will not be persuaded to attend this show even with such praise, perhaps intimidated by the heaviness of the material or the length of the two productions.

“Gigi” Revival Opens on Broadway

Vanessa Hudgens and Victoria Clark Star

gigi vanessa hudgensOn April 8, 2015, Gigi opened at the Neil Simon Theatre. It had been running in previews since March 19, 2015. This musical is scheduled for an open-ended run at the moment. The show is produced by Jenna Segal, a first-time Broadway lead producer who has a background in television, and who has long loved this show and wanted to bring it to a new generation of audiences. In the lead role she found Vanessa Hudgens, the Disney star who has since ventured into more irreverent films such as Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, but here makes one of her life long dreams come true by appearing for the first time on Broadway. The original Broadway production premiered in 1973, based off of a novella of the same name by Colette, as well as a musical film that followed in 1958. Though the film was a hit, the original Broadway production had a disappointingly short run, although it walked away with the Tony Award for Best Score at that time. The musical has book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, and a score by Frederick Loewe. Vanessa Hudgens was not recognized by the Tony Award committee for her performance, although her much more experienced co-star Victoria Clark was nominated for the award for Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical. This is the only nomination the production received.

Mixed Response from Criticsgigi

When the reviews hit the press, some were in love with the revival, whereas just as many found it less than appetizing. Charles Isherwood from The New York Times was on the fence, did not approve of the way this revival, in an adaptation by Heidi Thomas, was scrubbed so squeaky clean, removing it of any naughtiness as well as intrigue. Likewise, Adam Feldman in Time Out New York did not either love or hate the show, agrees that it is inoffensive to a fault, as it refuses to address head on the complicated idea of a woman grooming herself to be a courtesan. David Rooney at the Hollywood Reporter was less generous, finding the musical deficient of charm although acknowledging it was pretty at best. David Finkle of the Huffington Post was equally unmoved by the revival, found the musical to be a cheap rendition of the successful film, remarking that cheap was used figuratively as a great deal of money was spent on the production, although to ill effect. On the other hand, Robert Kahn of NBC New York was happy with the show, praising Vanessa Hudgens’ performance for her verve and vivacity, as well as Victoria Clark’s glorious performance as her grandmother.

Box Office Struggling

With only one Tony nomination and mixed reviews, this show is not being pushed upwards at the box office. Though it began previews with signs that it might start to improve its weekly grosses as word of mouth spread, that word of mouth was too negative for it to be any help. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending May 10, 2015, the show brought in $434,201, which represents 32.38% of its box office potential. Furthermore, that is a decrease of $116,315 from the week before. In fact, it hasn’t earned such a low weekly gross at all in its first, with the exception of the first week when it only played four performances. With so much buzz going around for all the shows that were recognized by the Tony committee, it is only natural that Gigi would get lost in the fray. Once the finite pool of Vanessa Hudgens fans dries up, this show may not be around for much longer.

“Hand to God” Opens to Rave Reviews

Irreverent Puppet Comedy Up for Best Play

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

All Around Rave Reviews for this Unlikely Broadway Showhand to god

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

Five Tony Award Nominations and Steadily Increasing Box Office

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