“Thérèse Raquin” Begins Previews on Broadway

Roundabout Theatre Company Production Starring Keira Knightley

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

Keira Knightley’s Broadway Debuttherese raquin

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

The Exploration of a Group of Caged Animals

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

“Spring Awakening” Opens at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre

Profoundly Reconceived Revival of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater Musical

spring awakeningFollowing 23 preview performances, the Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening officially opened this past week at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The musical, which has a book and lyrics by Steven Sater and a score by Duncan Sheik, and is based on a play by Frank Wedekind, premiered on Broadway not too long ago, in 2006, and closed in 2009. Though this may seem very soon for the revival of a recently new musical, this radically reconceived production, with its excellent reception from critics, has proven completely justified and not at all whiplash inducing. In a co-production with Deaf West Theatre, which premiered this production in Los Angeles in September 2014, the Broadway revival incorporates a delightful blend of techniques used by this theatre company in the past, most notably in the 2003 production of Big River which came to Broadway and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical. Like that show, this production of Spring Awakening utilizes both hearing and non-hearing actors, some of them doubling up for the same roles with one performer speaking in American sign language, and one performer shadowing them, singing and speaking out loud the lines and songs. In the case of the female lead role of Wendla Bergmann, the hearing actor (Katie Boeck) also shadows the non-hearing actor (Sandra Mae Frank) with a guitar.

Excellent Reception from Critics Far and Widespring awakening

Charles Isherwood of The New York Times found this revival to be thrillingly inventive, beautifully performed like a symphony with the various sensory stimulations including American sign language, singing, dancing, speaking, and English translations being scribbled on the wall for the lines that are only signed. He says this sensory overload is what musicals do best, and in this case it just requires you to direct your attention in a different way. Jeremy Gerard of Deadline also loved the show, calling it transfixing and intoxicating, and deeming that it heightens the adolescent extremes of loneliness and kinship through this clever incorporation of deaf actors. Mark Kennedy from the Associated Press found the show to be electrifying and elegant, adding new depth to a show that already deals with the themes of the difficulty to communicate. Matt Windman of AM New York admits that it may seem a bit soon to bring back Spring Awakening to Broadway, as it only closed seven years ago, but he agrees with his colleagues that the inspired nature of this production warranted a Broadway run. Robert Kahn of NBC New York also relished in the production, recalling that Lea Michelle and Jonathan Groff got the start to their careers in the original version of the show.

Box Office Hasn’t Yet Caught Up With Critical Reception

In its three full weeks of previews that have been reported thus far, Spring Awakening has not made a large percentage of its gross potential at the box office. In the first week of previews, the week ending September 13, 2015, the show 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, bringing it to an average audience capacity of 82.9%. In the second week, the show demonstrated a slight increase, bringing in $473,074, which represents 47.14% of its gross potential. That week, the average paid admission went up slightly to $70.52, but the average audience capacity when down even more slightly to 81.7%. In the last reported week of performances, the week ending September 27, 2015, the show brought in even less, $375,985, which represents just 37.46% of its gross potential. However, that could be attributed to the complimentary tickets given to press outlets in the final week of previews leading up to opening, and hopefully with such positive reception, interest with catch on and these numbers may be going up in coming weeks. If not, that is proof that even if it’s not too soon for a revival in terms of creative inspiration, that audiences may not be hungry enough yet for another run of Spring Awakening so soon.

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

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

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

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

An Overall Slump Week for Broadway

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

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

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

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

“Dames at Sea” Begins Previews on Broadway

The Musical That Launched Bernadette Peters’ Career

dames at seaDames at Sea played its first performance on Broadway on September 24, 2015 at the Helen Hayes Theatre. This musical had its world premiere in 1966 in an Off Off Broadway production starring Bernadette Peters, who would go on to receive seven Tony Award nominations and win two (for Song and Dance and Annie Get Your Gun). In 1968, the show transferred Off Broadway to Bouwerie Lane Theatre, followed by the Theater de Lys in 1969. For this production, Bernadette Peters took home the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. In August of 1969, the musical then played in London’s Duchess Theatre, and Peters also starred in a regional production at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey in 1973. Still, despite all this success and notable beginnings as launching Bernadette Peters’ career, the show had not played on Broadway until this production. After beginning previews on September 24th, the show will officially open on October 22, 2015. The musical has book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, with music by Jim Wise. This production is directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner.

A Meta Musical About a 1930s Broadway Showdames at sea

Though Dames at Sea had not played on Broadway until this year, it is actually a parody of a Broadway musical. Though originally premiering in the 1960s, the musical within the musical is set in the 1930s, parodying the style of movie musical made famous by Busby Berkeley, wherein a newly arrived chorus girl steps off the bus into New York City and becomes a Broadway star. The temperamental diva star is named Mona Kent, a wise-cracking chorus girl is named Joan, and the producer and director is named Hennesy. In this midst of the usual day to day, a new girl named Ruby arrives from Utah with nothing except for tap shoes in her luggage and a prayer in her heart. The moment she shows up, she faints in the arms of a young man named Dick, a sailor who aspires to be a song writer. Following that fiasco, Ruby is given a job in the chorus. Shortly thereafter, however, they are told that the theatre will be torn down and they will need to find another venue for the show. However, things go awry when they decide to rehearse the show on an actual ship. When the star Mona gets sea sick, Ruby is able to step into the lead part and finds the fame she was looking for all along.

An Excellent Cast and Creative Team

The lead part of Ruby the chorus girl turned star is played by Eloise Kropp, who has been on Broadway only once before, in the chorus of the recent revival of On the Town. The part of the original star Mona Kent is played by Lesli Margherita, a British star who has been on Broadway only once before as well, in Matilda the Musical as Mrs. Wormwood. The part of Dick is played by Cary Tedder, who has previously been seen in Honeymoon in Vegas, Big Fish, Memphis, and The Times They Are A-Changin’. The part of Hennesy and the Captain is played by John Bolton, whose previously shows include A Christmas Story the Musical, Curtains, Spamalot, Contact, Titanic, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Other cast members include Mara Davi and Danny Gardner. The show has set design by Anna Louizos, costume design by David Woolard, lighting design by Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz, and sound design by Scott Lehrer.

“The Gin Game” Begins Previews on Broadway

A Great Two-Hander Revived at the John Golden Theatre

the gin gameOn September 23, 2015, The Gin Game began previews at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway. The official opening night will take place on October 14, 2015. Presently, the show is scheduled to run for a limited engagement that will close on January 10, 2016. This two-hander by D.L. Coburn had its world premiere in Los Angeles in September 1976, before transferring to Broadway in 1978. That year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. In 1997, the play was revived on Broadway, and it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The play has been adapted twice for television, once in 1981 starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy (who starred in the original Broadway production directed by Mike Nichols), and once in 2003 starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. This 2015 Broadway revival is directed by Leonard Foglia, whose previous Broadway directorial credits include the 2011 Roundabout Theatre Company production of The People in the Picture, the 2008 play Thurgood, the 2005 production of On Golden Pond, the 1998 production of Wait Until Dark, the 1995 production of Master Class, and the 1989 production of The Heidi Chronicles.

James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Star As Nursing Home Companionsthe gin game

The play has only two charcters: Weller Martin (played by James Earl Jones), and Fonsia Dorsey (played by Cicely Tyson). These individuals are elderly residents of a nursing home who do not have any friends, until they meet each other. They friendship takes the form of regular games of gin rummy, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play. However, Fonsia always wins, and at a certain point it can no longer be chalked up to beginner’s luck. While Weller becoming more and more frustrated, Fonsia becomes more and more confident. The friendly games quickly become competitive, and the competition extends beyond the games of gin rummy, as they attempt to expose each other’s weaknesses and thoroughly humiliate one another – to the delight of the audience. James Earl Jones is one of America’s most versatile and distinguished actors. In addition to a well known career on screen in such films as Dr. Strangelove, The Great White Hope, Claudine, Coming to America, and the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars, Jones has also appeared on Broadway on many occasions. His stage performances include such shows as You Can’t Take It With You, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, On Golden Pond, and Master Harold and the Boys. Cicely Tyson has had as distinguished of a career. Her Broadway roles include such shows as The Trip to Bountiful, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress, as well as The Corn is Green, Trumpets of the Lord, Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights, and A Hand Is on the Gate.

Reuniting Director and Actor from “On Golden Pond”

Leonard Foglia last directed James Earl Jones in the 2005 production of On Golden Pond, written by Ernest Thompson. At that time, Jones played opposite Leslie Uggams in an African American revival of the 1979 play. The play has some similarities to The Gin Game, as it also deals with an aging couple. In On Golden Pond, however, the couple is married and the drama arises when their daughter comes to visit them. In The Gin Game, the drama lies in the tension that arises between former strangers who live together by happenstance in a nursing home. Still, Leonard Foglia and James Earl Jones must have established a good rapport in their 2005 rendez-vous, and this production of The Gin Game will be all the tighter for the experience within the creative team.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 9/20/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Two New Shows: “Old Times” and “Fool For Love”

In the week ending September 20, 2015, two new shows began previews. On September 15, 2015, Fool For Love played its first preview at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. A Manhattan Theatre Club Production, this play by Sam Shepard is directed by Daniel Aukin, and stars Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell. In its first week of six previews, it brought in $177,278, which represents 35.77% of its gross potential. The average paid admission was $56.19, and the average audience capacity throughout the partial week was 82.3%. This is a moderate but not great start for this small-scale play, which is enjoying its first production on Broadway despite being a New York revival. Furthermore, Harold Pinter’s Old Times played its first partial week of previews on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre. Beginning September 17, 2015, Old Times was off to a pretty good start, in a production directed by Douglas Hodge and starring Clive Owen in his Broadway debut, along with Kelly Reilly and Eve Best. In its first partial week of five performances, Old Times brought in $233,302, which represents 59.28% of its gross potential. The average paid admission was $73.48, and the average audience capacity was 85.8% across the five performances. Therefore, Old Times performed a bit better than Fool For Love in their first partial week of performances, although both have a long way to go before their box office fate is determined.

Overall a Positive Week on Broadway

This past week demonstrated an increased interest in Broadway overall, as the fall season is gearing up. Of the 24 shows that were running this past week, 22 demonstrated an increase in ticket sales. Overall, the industry saw a collective box office increase of $1,849,515. The only two shows that saw a decrease in ticket sales are both high performing shows. Hamilton, which has been breaking records, brought in an excellent weekly gross of $1,545,346, representing 115.76% of its gross potential; however, that was still a slight decrease of $16,294 from the week before, which was even more excellent. In addition, the Tony Award winning Best Play of this past year, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, saw a decrease in ticket sales of $36,577, bringing its weekly gross to $732,079, which represents 78.16% of its gross potential. Still, the audience capacity was quite good at an average of 94.9% across the eight performances. In addition to the two shows that began performances, six figure increases were seen by Something Rotten!, which went up by $140,956 to reach a weekly gross of $979,968. Neck in neck was An American in Paris, which saw an increase in ticket sales of $140,411, bringing in a weekly gross of $1,373,884. Furthermore, Kinky Boots saw an increase of $122,611, bringing it to a weekly gross of $1,001,377, and The Phantom of the Opera saw an increase of $114,928, bringing in a weekly gross of $959,752. The final six figure increase was seen by The King and I, which went up by $104,229, bringing it to a weekly gross of $1,007,837.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending September 20, 2015:broadway show ticket analysis chart

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn  %Capacity  AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $566,174 7,044 97.08% $80.38
ALADDIN $1,450,679 13,625 98.62% $106.47
AMAZING GRACE $353,166 5,240 56.37% $67.40
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,373,884 12,848 95.65% $106.93
BEAUTIFUL $1,022,113 8,247 100.48% $123.94
CHICAGO $724,723 8,596 99.49% $84.31
FINDING NEVERLAND $881,095 10,461 86.94% $84.23
FOOL FOR LOVE $177,278 3,155 82.29% $56.19
FUN HOME $720,900 5,953 100.56% $121.10
HAMILTON $1,545,346 10,688 101.14% $144.59
HAND TO GOD $304,786 4,335 70.19% $70.31
JERSEY BOYS $778,367 8,206 83.53% $94.85
KINKY BOOTS $1,001,377 10,780 94.63% $92.89
LES MISÉRABLES $837,432 10,513 93.27% $79.66
MATILDA $766,043 10,179 88.85% $75.26
OLD TIMES $233,302 3,175 85.81% $73.48
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $979,968 10,346 85.99% $94.72
SPRING AWAKENING $473,074 6,708 81.73% $70.52
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,478,350 8,751 102.61% $168.93
THE KING AND I $1,007,837 7,968 95.13% $126.49
THE LION KING $1,791,791 13,570 100.01% $132.04
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $959,752 11,672 90.90% $82.23
WICKED $1,570,535 15,248 98.96% $103.00
Totals $21,730,049 215,035 91.05% $97.28

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

“Old Times” Starts Broadway Performances

Roundabout Theatre Company Production of Harold Pinter Play

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

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

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

A Married Couple and An Old Friend

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

“Fool for Love” Begins Previews on Broadway

Manhattan Theatre Club Production of Sam Shepard Play

fool for loveOn September 15, 2015, Fool For Love began previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, the Broadway venue of the not-for-profit theatre institution, the Manhattan Theatre Club. The show will officially open on October 8, 2015. The play, written by Sam Shepard, first premiered in 1983 at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, followed by an Off-Broadway run that same year at the Circle Repertory Theatre followed by the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, where the cast included the likes of Bruce Willis early in his career, as well as Ellen Barkin who rehearsed but never performed the role due to an injury. The show then played the National Theatre in London in 1984, as well as a West End production in 2006. This is the first time the show has played on Broadway. This production, directed by Daniel Aukin, first premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in the summer of 2014. Following excellent reception, the show is transferring to Broadway with the same lead cast: Nina Arianda as May, and Sam Rockwell as Eddie. The supporting cast is Tom Pelphrey in the role of Martin, and Gordon Joseph Weiss in the role of the Old Man. This is the Broadway directorial debut for Daniel Aukin, who has been building his career Off-Broadway for many years with such shows as 4000 Miles.

fool for loveStar Crossed Casting of Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell

When Fool for Love was set for production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in July 2014, the original casting was Chris Pine and Lauren Ambrose. However, both of them pulled out with just a month to go before performances. It was then that Arianda and Rockwell were cast in the show, and had only a month to rehearse. However, both actors admit that these roles have been on their minds for a long time, and their chance to portray them was as if star crossed good fortune. Nina Arianda came to fame after portraying the role of Vanda in David Ives’ Venus in Fur, first Off-Broadway and then in the Broadway transfer, just a year after completing her degree at New York University. She also was nominated for a Tony Award for her starring role in Born Yesterday. Her familiarity with Sam Shepard’s work dates back to age 12, when she saw a local production of Shepard’s play True West and wanted to appear in this part ever since. Sam Rockwell is well known for his film roles in such movies as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Iron Man 2, and he, too, has long been interested in playing this part in Sam Shepard’s play. They were both very star struck when they shook the playwright’s hand moments before performing the play for him for the first time.

A Controversial Manhattan Theatre Club Season

This production of a play by Sam Shepard, a male playwright, comes on the wake of significant controversy over the selection of plays by Lynne Meadow, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club. When seven of the eight plays of the season were announced, all were by male playwrights, including this one, Fool for Love, and the only female director announced was Lynne herself, at the helm of a Richard Greenberg play. However, though the contracts had not all been signed yet, Meadow rushed to alert the press that the eighth and as yet unannounced play would be by a female playwright, Penelope Skinner, and that director, as yet unconfirmed, would likely be Lila Neugebauer. Nevertheless, the productions are all going ahead as planned, and Fool for Love is starting the season off with an exciting production.

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 nytix.com


“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.