Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 9/13/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Spring Awakening” Begins Previews With Less Than Stellar Numbers

On September 8, 2015, Spring Awakening began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, playing a full week of eight performances in the week ending September 13, 2015. In its first week out of the gate, the musical brought in $448,879, which represents 44.73% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $247.00, the average paid admission was $65.99, demonstrating a fair amount of discounting. This revival of Spring Awakening is unique in that it stars both hearing and non-hearing acting, with certain characters singing the songs and others using American Sign Language. This production is produced by Deaf West Theatre, and is a transfer from a production that received rave reviews in Los Angeles. Although there has been quite a bit of buzz about this production, the first full week of previews did not demonstrate an overabundance of excitement about the show. However, the fall season is only just beginning to be underway, and thus there is still a lull in audience interest in the new shows beginning previews. Once the show opens on September 27, 2015, the reviews will help spread awareness of the production and there is a chance that ticket sales will continue to pick up. The last time Spring Awakening was on Broadway was 2006, when the musical ran until 2009. Therefore, this is a pretty quick turnaround for a revival, even if the production differs in its casting and stylistic choices.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Shows Upturn in Final Week

On September 13, 2015, Hedwig and the Angry Inch played its final performance on Broadway. The show had been running at the Belasco Theatre for a year and a half, since it began previews on March 29, 2014. It won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Muscial among other awards, and broke the record for the longest running show at the Belasco Theatre. Over the course of the run, the lead role of Hedwig was portrayed by a variety of stars. By far the biggest box office attraction was the opening cast member, Neil Patrick Harris, who brought in well over a million dollars per week during his run. Following Harris, the show starred Andrew Rannells, then Michael C. Hall, then John Cameron Mitchell himself in the role he created, then Darren Criss, and then finally Taye Diggs, who was the closing performer. Though Diggs did not cause the greatest box office numbers during most of his weeks in the role, the final week did show an upturn. In the week ending September 13, 2015, Hedwig and the Angry Inch brought in $625,159, which represented 88.12% of the show’s gross potential, and which was an increase of $178,208 from the week before. In contrast, the previous week brought in $446,951, which represented 63.00% of its gross potential. Also, the houses were completely full, with the average audience capacity at 100.1% throughout the seven performances. In contrast, the previous week had an average audience capacity of 80.8%. The show will continue to delight audiences on the road, including international runs in London and Australia.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending September 13, 2015:broadway show ticket analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn  %Capacity  AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $499,576 6,149 84.74% $81.24
ALADDIN $1,386,168 13,405 97.03% $103.41
AMAZING GRACE $332,663 4,970 53.46% $66.93
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,233,473 12,093 90.03% $102.00
BEAUTIFUL $1,002,586 8,162 99.44% $122.84
CHICAGO $631,817 8,008 92.69% $78.90
FINDING NEVERLAND $805,827 9,382 77.98% $85.89
FUN HOME $679,175 5,910 99.83% $114.92
HAMILTON $1,561,640 10,703 101.28% $145.91
HAND TO GOD $250,923 3,611 58.47% $69.49
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $625,159 7,058 100.13% $88.57
JERSEY BOYS $691,833 7,522 76.57% $91.97
KINKY BOOTS $878,766 9,804 86.06% $89.63
LES MISÉRABLES $768,084 9,538 84.62% $80.53
MAMMA MIA! $886,681 8,980 95.94% $98.74
MATILDA $715,374 9,647 84.21% $74.16
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $839,012 9,039 67.78% $92.82
SPRING AWAKENING $448,879 6,802 82.87% $65.99
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,438,096 8,721 102.26% $164.90
THE KING AND I $903,608 7,361 87.88% $122.76
THE LION KING $1,727,320 13,563 99.96% $127.36
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $844,824 10,544 82.12% $80.12
WICKED $1,472,236 14,570 94.56% $101.05
Totals $21,392,373 213,253 87.27% $97.91

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


“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Plays Final Performance

Year and a Half Run Goes Out With a Bang

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

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

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

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

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

“Mamma Mia!” Concludes Its Amazing 14 Year Run

5,773 Performances and Productions All Over the World

Mamma Mia on BroadwayOn September 12, 2015, Mamma Mia! played the final performance of an astonishing run. Originally beginning Broadway previews on October 5, 2001 at the Winter Garden Theatre, the Abba jukebox musical officially opened on October 18, 2001. This was following its successful London premiere in 1999. It was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical, but did not win any. However this did not stop the show from having a long life. Having now played continuously for almost 14 years, Mamma Mia! is the eighth longest running show on Broadway to date. The show played the Winter Garden Theatre for 12 years, and then transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre on November 2, 2013, where it concluded its run this week. The transfer was to make room for Rocky the Musical, which was an underwhelming show but had high expectations, enough to persuade Mamma Mia! to move theatres. In any case, the show has continued to delight audiences at the Broadhurst, located on West 44th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Upon closing, the show played a total of 5,773 performances, including 14 preview performances. In addition to playing in London and New York, Mamma Mia! has had runs in countless countries, including Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, France, Brazil, Denmark, Russia, New Zealand, Austria, the Czech Republic, Israel, and Finland. In addition to playing in major cities, the show has had national tours in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Russia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

A Stellar Creative Team and the Launch of a Brandmamma mia

Mamma Mia! has a book by Catherine Johnson, and music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba. Some of the songs were also written with Stig Anderson, and additional material is by Martin Koch, who also arranged the music. The show is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The original cast included Louise Pitre, Judy Kaye, Tina Maddigan, Karen Mason, and Dean Nolen. The show deals with a wedding a tiny Greek island, when the bride to be discovers her mother’s old diary, which recounts love affairs with three different men. She decides to invite each of the three men to the wedding, believing that one of them is her father. The show is an incredibly fun and uplifting show, including such timeless Abba hits as “Money, Money, Money,” “The Name of the Game,” “Chiquitita,” “Mamma Mia,” “Thank You For The Music,” “Voulez-Vous,” “Under Attack,” “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” and “Take a Chance on Me.” The show was adapted into a successful film in 2008, starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, and Julie Walters.

Over $2 Billion Worldwide and a Steady Hit for Years

Over the almost 14 years of running on Broadway, Mamma Mia! grossed a total of over $623 million. Over the course of all of its international productions, the show has brought in over $2 billion. From the first weeks after opening, the show was reaching in the high 90s to over 100% of its gross potential, becoming a quick hit as the buzz caught on. In 2001, the top ticket price was $100, and it is remarkable how low that seems now compared to some shows whose top ticket prices exceed $400. In any case, the show was a fast hit, bringing in over a million dollars in many of its running weeks. In January 2003, the top ticket price rose to $125, but then went back down to $100 in April 2003. However, in July 2004, the top ticket price took a quick leap to $201.25 with the introduction of premium ticket pricing. At the time of closing, the top ticket price was $225, and the final average paid admission was over $100.

Deaf West “Spring Awakening” Starts Previews

Revival of 2006 Musical Starring Hearing and Non-Hearing Actors

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

An Excellent Cast, Many Making Their Broadway Debutsspring awakening

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

Deafness Incorporating Not Only Stylistically But Also Thematically

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

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 9/06/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Broadway Back on the Upswing

As September is finally upon us, Broadway is gearing up for the fall season, and the box office figures are showing an increased interest in the indoor activity. In the week ending September 6, 2015, the entire Broadway industry saw a collective increase of $499,271, which is the accumulation of the 24 that were running this past week. In the coming weeks, the fall shows will begin starting previews, but for now the shows that have been running since last season are themselves starting to pick up steam. The biggest increase this past week was seen by Kinky Boots, which went up by $175,260 to reach the weekly gross of $975,465. Over two years after winning the Tony Award for best musical (followed by A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder in 2014 and Fun Home in 2015), Kinky Boots is still going strong. The next biggest increase in sales was seen by Hamilton, the newest musical to take Broadway by storm. With an increase of $148,142 from the week before, Hamilton brought in a weekly gross of $1,697,070, making it the second highest grossing show on Broadway this past week. It even beat out Wicked, trailing only behind The Lion King. Another show from a previous season, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, saw an increase of $129,200, which brought it to the weekly gross of $1,031,198. The biggest decrease was seen by The Lion King, which went down by $93,758, a number that barely made a dent in its impressive weekly gross of $1,741,459.

“Hamilton” Continues to Climb Up the Charts

Still in its first two months of performances, Hamilton is becoming a bona fide best seller on Broadway. This past week, it brought in a weekly gross of $1,697,070, which is by far the highest number it has brought in thus far. This represents an impressive 127.13% of its gross potential. As the top ticket price has remained constant at $275.00 since the beginning of the run, it’s difficult to imagine where these extra dollars keep coming from. However, audience members are becoming more and more desperate to see this show, which made a huge splash Off-Broadway at the Public Theater before transferring to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and also starring Miranda in the title role, this is definitely the work of an impresario. Furthermore, it is innovative not only in terms of content but also stylistically, innovating on the concept of a biographical musical by bringing in a diverse array of characters to portray the founding fathers, while also incorporating musical styles from hip hop and rap to traditional Broadway musical styles. The average paid admission was also at a high this past week, rising to the number $158.52. With a total of 10,568 seats to sell across the eight performances, the figures somehow report that Hamilton sold a total of 10,706, or 101.3% of its audience capacity. Therefore, this musical is defying not only expectations, but also the bounds of what would previously have been thought possible for a show on Broadway.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending September 6, 2015:broadway show ticket analysis week ending 9-6-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn  %Capacity  AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $513,960 6,078 83.77% $84.56
ALADDIN $1,530,035 13,426 97.18% $113.96
AMAZING GRACE $275,044 4,813 51.77% $57.15
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,202,737 11,255 83.79% $106.86
BEAUTIFUL $1,031,198 8,182 99.68% $126.03
CHICAGO $543,224 6,704 77.59% $81.03
FINDING NEVERLAND $926,378 9,485 78.83% $97.67
FUN HOME $720,923 5,777 97.58% $124.79
HAMILTON $1,697,070 10,706 101.31% $158.52
HAND TO GOD $251,589 3,707 60.02% $67.87
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $446,951 5,697 80.82% $78.45
JERSEY BOYS $595,598 6,376 64.90% $93.41
KINKY BOOTS $975,465 9,351 82.08% $104.32
LES MISÉRABLES $808,664 9,265 82.19% $87.28
MAMMA MIA! $954,727 9,025 96.42% $105.79
MATILDA $748,542 9,302 81.20% $80.47
ON THE TOWN $955,351 11,898 79.36% $80.30
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $902,785 9,861 73.94% $91.55
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,508,403 8,741 102.50% $172.57
THE KING AND I $816,251 6,482 77.39% $125.93
THE LION KING $1,741,459 13,574 100.04% $128.29
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $814,978 9,232 71.90% $88.28
WICKED $1,560,536 12,920 89.37% $120.78
Totals $22,236,019 208,797 83.29% $103.28

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

“On the Town” Revival Plays Final Performance

Wraps Up Year Long Run on Sunday, September 6th

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

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

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

A Crowdfunding Attempt, But a Financial Letdown

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

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Compose for Pinter’s “Old Times”

Unusual Collaboration Between Music and Theatre Worlds

Thom Yorke

On September 17, 2015, the revival of Harold Pinter’s play Old Times will begin previews at the American Airlines Theatre in a Roundabout Theatre Company production. Beyond the fact that Clive Owen is making his Broadway debut in the role of Deeley, there is something else out of the ordinary taking place with this production. The music is not composed by a traditional theatrical composer, but rather by the legend of alternative rock music Thom Yorke, most famously of the band Radiohead. Thom Yorke is the singer and main songwriter of Radiohead, a band renowned for its innovations in experimental and alternative rock since it began releasing songs in 1993. Radiohead, though renowned around the world and particularly in the United States, is originally from Oxfordshire, England. Specifically, Yorke was born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire in 1968, and then his family settled in Oxfordshire in 1978, where he would later meet his future bandmates. Radiohead has now sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Their most recent album release was in 2011; this was their eighth studio album. They are reportedly at work on a ninth album. In addition, Thom Yorke has been building a solo career since his first solo release in 2006. His second solo album was released in 2014, entitled Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

First Broadway Revival of Classic Pinter Playold times

Old Times premiered on Broadway in 1971, at the time being the fifth production of a Pinter play on Broadway. The 2015 revival will be the second time the show has been on Broadway. Its original premiere was at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End in June 1971, and the Broadway production followed later than year in November. A recent London revival took place in 2013 at the recently renamed Harold Pinter Theatre (formerly the Comedy Theatre), directed by Ian Rickson and starring Rufus Sewell, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Lia Williams. This Broadway revival, on the other hand, will be directed by Douglas Hodge, and will star Clive Owen in his Broadway debut, along with Eve Best and Kelly Reilly. The play deals with the concepts of identity, adultery, and honesty. It can be interpreted in various ways, one of which is that all three individuals are different people, and the other is that the two women are interchangeable. In fact, in the recent London revival, the two actresses switches roles on various nights, having prepared to play both roles. Though this will not be the case in the Broadway production, it sheds some light into the fascinating ways in which this play can be viewed.

An Increasingly Versatile Move for Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke is well known for pushing frontiers in his musical styles, and recently he has also diversified the ways in which his music is released. For his recent 2014 solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, he opted to release the songs via BitTorrent, rather than through the traditional outlets. He then performed tracks from the album at a secret performance at this year’s Latitude Festival. Now, in additional to taking to the digital, Yorke is taking to arguably the most traditional performance art form: theatre. While he has a great deal of experience performing on stages from pubs to stadiums, he will now allow his music to be played on the theatrical stage for the first time.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 8/30/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Continuing on a Downward Pattern Before Fall Season

In the week ending August 30, 2015, the Broadway industry as a whole continued to see a decrease in sales. Like last week, the majority of shows saw a decrease in ticket sales compared to the week before, but most of the numbers were not huge. Also like last week, the biggest decreases were seen by the highest grossing musicals, namely The Lion King and Wicked. Of the 24 shows that were running this past week, only four saw an increase in ticket sales. By far the highest increase was seen by On the Town, in its penultimate week of performances having announced the closure of the run. The show brought in a weekly gross of $914,434, which was an increase of $519,055 from the week before. Following this large six figure increase, the next biggest increase was seen by Hamilton, the buzziest new musical on Broadway. This week, the gross for Hamilton was $1,548,928, which is an increase of $92,175 from the week before. This is also the highest gross for Hamilton yet, reaching a remarkable 116.03% of its gross potential as increasingly hungry fans have a more and more difficult time finding tickets. The only other two shows that saw an increase in sales were Beautiful, with an increase of $15,043 to reach a weekly gross of $901,998, and Les Miserables, with an increase of $13,291 to reach a weekly gross of $754,427.

“On the Town” Sees Major Increase in Penultimate Week of Performances

Of the 24 shows that ran last week, the only six figure increase was seen by On the Town. Having been running in performances since it began previews on September 20, 2014, On the Town has had a difficult time consistently selling full houses in the gigantic Lyric Theatre. Formerly known as the Foxwoods, this is where the spectacle filled Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark had actors flying through the lofted ceilings to the balcony. On the Town is a much more traditional musical, and the dancers stick to the stage. Still, the Lyric is a very large venue to fill each night. As it was recently announced that the final performance would be September 6, 2015, audiences are taking notice and ticket sales increased by a great amount this past week. Whereas almost all other shows experienced a decrease in ticket sales, even the big musicals The Lion King, Wicked, and Aladdin, the biggest increase was seen by On the Town. This past week, the show brought in $914,434, which represents 51.08% of its gross potential. Though this is by no means stupendous, it is a significant increase – not only from the previous week’s percentage reached of gross potential of 22.09%, but also from the entire run. On the Town has not brought in this much money at the box office since its first week of performances – the week ending January 4, 2015 – when it brought in $968,359, representing 54.10% of its gross potential. Other than its first and most recent weeks, the show has only cracked $700,000 once, and has often brought in gross potential percentages in the 20% range. We will see how well the show does next week in its final week of performances.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending August 30, 2015:broadway show ticket gross chart

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn  %Capacity  AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $475,706 6,154 84.86% $77.30
ALADDIN $1,582,804 13,487 97.62% $117.36
AMAZING GRACE $286,912 4,833 51.99% $59.37
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,175,967 11,109 82.71% $105.86
BEAUTIFUL $901,998 7,565 92.17% $119.23
CHICAGO $508,839 6,424 74.35% $79.21
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,000,776 10,303 85.63% $97.13
FUN HOME $700,011 5,859 98.97% $119.48
HAMILTON $1,548,928 10,710 101.34% $144.62
HAND TO GOD $245,469 3,622 58.65% $67.77
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $394,709 5,087 72.17% $77.59
JERSEY BOYS $529,457 6,001 61.09% $88.23
KINKY BOOTS $800,205 8,684 76.23% $92.15
LES MISÉRABLES $754,427 8,702 77.20% $86.70
MAMMA MIA! $977,098 9,313 99.50% $104.92
MATILDA $841,368 10,043 87.67% $83.78
ON THE TOWN $914,434 11,946 79.68% $76.55
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $951,034 10,259 76.93% $92.70
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,420,003 8,675 101.72% $163.69
THE KING AND I $885,496 6,908 82.47% $128.18
THE LION KING $1,835,217 12,778 94.18% $143.62
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $806,639 9,275 72.24% $86.97
WICKED $1,492,152 12,334 85.32% $120.98
Totals $21,736,746 206,895 82.44% $101.54

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

Forest Whitaker to Make Broadway Debut in “Hughie”

Eugene O’Neill’s 1964 Two-Character Play

forest whitakerForest Whitaker is a very well-known screen actor. He won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the BAFTA Award for his performance as the dictator from Uganda named Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland. His upcoming film roles include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Shack, and Story of Your Life, all filming presently or recently. However, this famous performer has never before appeared on Broadway – until now. In spring 2016, Forest Whitaker will star in Eugene O’Neill’s 1964 play Hughie. The play only has two characters; the second actor has not yet been announced. The play is to be directed by Michael Grandage, the British stage director and producer whose eponymous company – the Michael Grandage Company – will produce along with Darren Bagert and the Shubert Organization. Grandage is well known not only for his own directing work, but also for running the prestigious Donmar Warehouse theatre in London for many years. This will be a seminal production for him as well, as it will be his company’s second major production on Broadway. The first was The Cripple of Inishmaan in 2014, which starred Daniel Radcliffe and which Michael Grandage also directed.

A Night Clerk and a Hustler Take Center Stagehughie playbill

Hughie is the story of a hustler named Erie Smith (who will be played by Forest Whitaker). The play is set in a midtown hotel in the summer of 1928. Smith essentially delivers a long monologue throughout the entire play to the night clerk at the hotel, a man named Charlie Hughes. The monologue centers on how upset Smith is that the previous night clerk, a name named Hughie, has died and that his luck has since worn out. The play was originally written in 1942, but did not arrive on stage for its premiere until 1963 in Bath, England. Hughie was then first produced on Broadway in 1964 starring Jason Robards as Erie Smith; Robards was nominated for the Tony Award for his performance. Robards then revived this role in Berkeley, California in 1975, and Jack Dodson played Charlies Hughes. That same duo also revived their performances in 1981 at the Hyde Park Theatre Festival, and in 1991 at the Trinity Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island. Therefore, this is a big move for the producers to cast an entirely new pair of actors in this production, which has not been seen by a major audience in ove two decades, and not on Broadway in over five decades.

Forest Whitaker Has Made a Career on the Screen

Whitaker’s first ever attempt at acting was on stage, in the play Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas. However, this was in high school. Since becoming a professional actor, he has principally performed in film and television. He first lead role was in the Clint Eastwood film Bird, where he played the musician Charlie Parker. For that performance, he earned a Golden Globe nomination and the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. He then starred in Downtown alongside Anthony Edwards and Penelope Ann Miller. He also starred in The Crying Game directed by Neil Jordan, where he played a captive British soldier named Jody. In Robert Altman’s film Pret-a-Porter in 1994, he was a member of the cast that won the National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble, which was the first time that award was ever given out. Since then, his major roles have included Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Wong Kar-Wai’s The Follow, Joel Schumacher’s film Phone Booth, and then the lead role in Lee Daniel’s The Butler in 2013. His Broadway debut will therefore certainly be eagerly awaited.

“The Ruins of Civilization” Added to MTC Season

Amidst Criticism That The Season Lacked Diversity

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

Penelope Skinner

Penelope Skinner

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

Nonetheless, An Excellent MTC Season of Accomplished Playwrights

Lynne Meadow

Lynne Meadow

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

Two of the Eight Plays are Directed by Women

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