Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/26/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

A Downturn from Last Week’s Excellent Grosses

In the week ending July 26, 2015, the overall Broadway industry took a dip of $1,183,075 from the week before. Of the 28 shows presently running, only 11 saw an increase in ticket sales, whereas 17 saw a decrease in ticket sales. Furthermore, the increases were much smaller than the decreases. The biggest increase was seen by Kinky Boots, which brought in $41,850 from the week before. In contrast, the biggest decrease was seen by Hedwig and the Angry Inch which went down by $275,979 from the week before. Furthermore, The Lion King saw a decrease of $211,515, Fish in the Dark saw a decrease of $185,258, The King and I saw a decrease of $183,813, Wicked saw a decrease of $165,183, and The Book of Mormon saw a decrease of $149,069. Still, most of these large downturns were seen by the highest grossing shows. For instance, though The Lion King decreased by $211,515, it still brought in a weekly gross of $2,408,501 and was the highest grossing show of the week. Therefore, it is not so much that this past week was a poor one on Broadway, but rather than the week prior was excellent in terms of ticket sales.

“Hamilton” Continues to Rake It In

This past week was Hamilton’s second week running on Broadway, and it is still in previews. This week, it earned $14,075 more than the week before, bringing in an excellent weekly gross of $1,302,511. That represents an astounding 111.51% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of the comparably low amount of $275.00, the average paid admission was $140.21. This demonstrates that no discounting is taking place for this hot new musical with book, music, and lyrics by, and also starring, Lin Manuel-Miranda, the creator of In the Heights. Hamilton has been very buzzy since its Off-Broadway run at the Public Theater, which is also the origin theatre of Fun Home which took home the Tony Award for Best Musical this past season. At this rate, if the reviews are as excellent as the buzz, Hamilton should be a shoe-in for the Tony Award for Best Musical next year, though that is almost an entire year away. Its success may even be enough to dissuade producers who are developing new musicals to rush their shows to Broadway, and they might be inclined to wait until the following season when there is a less obvious contender for this prestigious award. This past week, Hamilton was filled up to 100.5% of audience capacity on average in the Richard Rodgers Theatre, which is up from 100.3% from the week before. It doesn’t hurt that President Obama was widely reported to have since this show in previews. When the show opens on August 5, 2015, it may become even more difficult to snag a ticket.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 26, 2015:broadway show ticket analysis week ending 7-26-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $546,611 6,831 94.14% $80.02
ALADDIN $1,831,846 13,818 100.01% $132.57
AMAZING GRACE $297,904 5,243 56.40% $56.82
AN ACT OF GOD $1,011,538 7,753 96.33% $130.47
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,429,500 12,819 95.44% $111.51
BEAUTIFUL $986,399 7,769 94.65% $126.97
CHICAGO $674,699 8,023 92.86% $84.10
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,162,145 11,659 96.90% $99.68
FISH IN THE DARK $716,936 7,716 89.89% $92.92
FUN HOME $805,369 6,105 103.13% $131.92
HAMILTON $1,302,511 9,290 100.47% $140.21
HAND TO GOD $339,642 4,527 73.30% $75.03
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $405,108 5,576 92.29% $72.65
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $404,467 5,864 72.43% $68.97
JERSEY BOYS $683,286 7,158 72.86% $95.46
KINKY BOOTS $951,252 9,666 84.85% $98.41
LES MISÉRABLES $812,848 9,664 85.73% $84.11
MAMMA MIA! $932,929 9,403 100.80% $99.22
MATILDA $1,133,454 11,462 100.05% $98.89
ON THE TOWN $476,502 8,194 54.66% $58.15
PENN & TELLER ON BROADWAY $1,237,512 10,824 82.80% $114.33
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,067,457 11,664 87.46% $91.52
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,505,083 8,748 102.58% $172.05
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $867,969 7,712 94.70% $112.55
THE KING AND I $969,161 7,127 85.09% $135.98
THE LION KING $2,408,501 13,570 100.01% $177.49
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,090,134 12,182 94.88% $89.49
WICKED $2,002,632 15,201 98.66% $131.74
Total $28,053,394 255,568 89.41% $105.83

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

“Amazing Grace” Continues Fight Against The Odds

A Tuner About the Origins of the Famous Gospel Song

amazing graceAmazing Grace began performances following the Tony Awards, thereby relinquishing its chance of competing for the biggest honors given to Broadway shows. However, it was more than the timing that has given Amazing Grace a difficult shot at succeeding on Broadway. Upon the show’s opening this month, it was reviewed negatively by all the major publications. Furthermore, its box office has been dire, with the show bringing in no more than 29% of its gross potential in any given week since the start of previews on June 25, 2015. With the July opening, the negative reviews demonstrate that word of mouth is not likely to give this show a boost in its financial figures. Amazing Grace was conceived over a long period of development by a Broadway newbie, Christopher Smith. Smith co-wrote the book along with Arthur Giron, and he also wrote the music and lyrics. A former cop, Christopher Smith came across the origin story of the famous gospel tune “Amazing Grace” and decided to craft it into a musical. As John Newton was a slave trader turned abolitionist, the story was found to be inspirational as well as connected to a familiar tune.

A String of Negative Reviews Upon Openingamazing grace

However, despite the potential for this show to make a big splash due to its name recognition and historical significance, it has flopped in terms of critical response. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times found the show to be an overstuffed history lesson combined with melodrama, although he admitted that the timing of the show was conveniently close to President Obama’s well recorded singing of “Amazing Grace” to the national public. David Cote from Time Out New York was equally dismayed by the production, as he bemoaned the fact that $16 million went to a poor imitation of Les Miserables, whereas that money should have partially gone to script doctors to fix the storyline. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter was no more complimentary, though he admitted the show was sincere in its attempt to represent the true story of a repentant slave trader who wrote a famous hymn. Robert Kahn of NBC New York remarked that Christopher Smith was ambitious in his Broadway attempts, but did not appreciate how the song “Amazing Grace” did not appear until the end of the musical. Finally, Matt Windman of AM New York was astonished that this show made it to Broadway, deeming the entire construct of the story to be an unlikely prospect for this level of theatre production.

Poor Box Office to Match the Poor Reviews

In the last reported week of box office figures, Amazing Grace brought in $321,914, which represents 29.32% of the show’s gross potential. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission was only $46.43, demonstrating a large amount of discounting. Still, this is the highest gross the show has brought in thus far. In its first week of previews, the weekly box office gross was $200,392, and the grosses have crept upwards each week since. Still, with such negative reviews, it is unlikely that Amazing Grace will be able to earn much higher grosses than it has been earning. Between the difficult summer season, where most theatregoers are tourists who prefer the big long-running musicals, and the negative response from theatre critics, this show is going to have a tough time sticking around even until the end of the summer season.

“On the Twentieth Century” Closes on Broadway

Tony Nominated Best Musical Revival Plays Final Performance

on the twentieth centuryKristin Chenoweth may not have won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical, but she did have her moment of stardom at the Tony Awards this year. Along with Alan Cumming, Kristen Chenoweth hosted this year’s Tony Awards, but she presented the award for which she was nominated to Kelli O’Hara, for her well-deserved performance in The King and I. Kristen, on the other hand, was nominated for her performance in On the Twentieth Century, which played its final performance this past week. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards in total, also including Best Revival of a Musical (which went to The King and I), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Andy Karl (which went to Christian Borle for Something Rotten!), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (which went to An American in Paris), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (which went to The King and I). Still, On the Twentieth Century concludes its run on somewhat of a high note, having received fairly good reviews after its opening on March 15, 2015, and performed to satisfactory if not excellent results at the box office. At the end of its run, the show had played 144 performances, in addition to 33 preview performances.

A Fluctuating Box Office that Never Hit GoldON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

In its final week of performances, the week ending July 19, 2015, On the Twentieth Century brought in $571,895 at the box office, which represents 69.56% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $229.00, the average paid admission was $98.81. Still, the overall audience capacity for the final week of eight performances averaged to 100.2%, showing that the musical had enough draw to bring in a range of theatre goers who may not have been willing to pay top dollar, but were excited to see this hilarious romp starring Kristen Chenoweth. The highest weekly gross earned by this show took place in the week ending May 24, 2015 as the Tony Awards were approaching. That week, it brought in $621,043, which represented 75.54% of its gross potential. That week, the show filled up to 99.8% of its audience capacity, again representing a fair but not insane amount of discounting. The lowest weekly gross in a full week of eight performances took place in the week ending March 8, 2015, while the show was still in previews and before it had a time to spread word of mouth through reviews. That week, the weekly gross was $364,904, which represented 46.87% of the show’s gross potential. The audience capacity was still filled up to 88.0%, showing a strong draw even in the tough times.

An Unlikely Revival that Made a Big Splash

On the Twentieth Century may not be the most well known musical in contemporary musical theatre, but it certainly is more well known now after this Roundabout Theater Company production. The show premiered on Broadway in 1978, and then was revived in 2005 for a one-night only benefit production at the New Amsterdam Theatre. However, the majority of the theatergoing public was only reminded of this show for the 2015 revival. With a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and a score by Cy Coleman, On the Twentieth Century falls into a period of musical theatre history when many great hits were made. With Kristen Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher’s excellent performances at the helm of director Scott Ellis, this show is sure to be remembered for a while longer.

“Penn & Teller on Broadway” Opens at the Marquis Theatre

Famous Magician Duo on Broadway for Limited Engagement

penn and teller posterPenn & Teller on Broadway played its opening night performance at the Marquis Theatre. This famous magician duo has been in residence at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for 14 years, and it is a rare treat for them to come to Broadway. In this case, they were able to swing a quick engagement just over a month in New York. Penn, whose full name is Penn Jillette, is always the one who talks onstage, whereas Teller, who just goes by the single name Teller, is mute onstage. In this classic reimagining of their act, they incorporated many of the most famous magician tricks, such as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and sawing a woman in half. They also incorporated the use of technology, at one point asking an audience member to videotape a certain trick so that it can be projected on a large screen for the entire audience to see. In an interview, Penn explained how this New York engagement is an opportunity for them to make their act a little more intellectual, in an effort to appeal to a New York audience rather than the usual Las Vegas crowd. This show is directed by John Rando, who has also directed Broadway shows including On the Town, A Christmas Story: The Musical, and Urinetown.

A Mixed Review by the New York Timespenn and teller

In Ben Brantley’s review of Penn & Teller on Broadway in The New York Times, he did justice to the profundity with which Penn and Teller have infiltrated themselves into the contemporary American cultural mindset. The review begins by explaining that the duo has been performing together for 40 years, and yet they seem as fresh and relevant as ever. This is partly due to the fact that the magicians, while holding down their gig in Las Vegas for 14 years, also have made several television shows that have solidified their inclusion in the continued cultural zeitgeist. For example, they had a long running series on Showtime called Penn and Teller: BS, and more recently they began a new show called Penn and Teller: Fool Us on ITV in Britain and the CW in the U.S. In Brantley’s review, in addition to remarking on this wide reach of the famous magicians, he also commented that their acts were not entirely new or surprising. While some may have appreciated the relatability of the common acts such as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the choice also bespeaks a lack of creativity.

A Fairly Successful Start at the Box Office

In the first two weeks of performances, which are the only two weeks of box office figures that have been reported thus far, Penn & Teller on Broadway show a significant increase. In the first week, the week ending July 12, 2015, the show brought in $1,075,289, which represented 62.40% of its gross potential. In the second week, the week ending July 19, 2015, the show saw an increase of $150,111, bringing the weekly gross to $1,225,400, which represents 71.11% of the show’s gross potential. This past week, the average audience capacity was 70.0%, which is a decrease from the first week’s average audience capacity of 78.6%. However, the average paid admission went up to $120.37 this week from $114.64 the week before, resulting in an overall increase in ticket sales for this past week. Overall, it is clear that Penn & Teller are a major box office draw, even as visitors to New York from their usual home of Las Vegas, and that as word of mouth spreads, the box office will most likely continue to creep upwards.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/19/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Right Away, “Hamilton” Is a Run-Away Hit

In the week ending July 19, 2015, Hamilton began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. After playing a highly acclaimed run Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, it transferred with its first preview on July 13, 2015. Though it only played seven performances in its first week, rather than the usual 8, it brought in a weekly gross of $1,288,436. That represents 110.30% of its gross potential, and the average audience was filled up to 100.3%. With a top ticket price of $275.00, the average paid admission was $138.94. This is an extremely good achievement for a musical in its first week of previews, especially one that opened in the height of summer without the Tony Award buzz to boost it forward. Hamilton has been highly buzzed for many months, and there were even talks about bringing it to Broadway before the Tony Awards this year, but the creative team decided to wait until July in order to finely tune the piece. Furthermore, this allowed the Public Theater’s other masterpiece, Fun Home, to win Best Musical without competition from Hamilton, and now Hamilton will certainly be in the running for that award next year. This show is Lin Manuel-Miranda’s newest concoction, following his success with In the Heights, although this show is more controversial, and also more enticing, due to its reimagining of an important historical figure.

An Overall Excellent Week on Broadway

Including the $1,288,436 that Hamilton brought to the table in its first week of previews, the week ending July 19, 2015 saw an overall increase in ticket sales of $3,458,042 from the week before. Of the 29 shows currently running, 27 of them saw an increase in ticket sales, and only two decreased by a small amount. Following Hamilton’s powerful entrance onto the scene, the next biggest increase in ticket sales was seen by The Lion King, which brought in $311,125 more than the week before to reach a gross of $2,620,016, Wicked, which brought in $267,724 more than the week before to reach a gross of $2,167,815, and The Book of Mormon, which brought in $203,287 more than the week before to reach a gross of $1,654,152. Also, all three of these hit musicals played 9 performances this past week, up from the usual 8 which they played last week. Furthermore, Penn & Teller on Broadway continued to creep up in box office, bringing in $1,225,440 which is an increase of $150,111 from the week before. Other six figure increases were seen by The Phantom of the Opera, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Les Miserables, Beautiful, and On the Twentieth Century. Though On the Twentieth Century had been performing fairly poorly, it played its final performance on July 19, 2015, and this announcement of the final week was enough to bring the last week’s gross up by six figures to $571,895.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 19, 2015:Broadway show ticket analysis week ending 7-19-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $538,813 6,783 93.48% $79.44
ALADDIN $1,833,662 13,818 100.01% $132.70
AMAZING GRACE $321,914 6,933 74.58% $46.43
AN ACT OF GOD $990,023 7,713 95.84% $128.36
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,439,179 12,878 95.88% $111.75
BEAUTIFUL $1,023,705 7,835 95.46% $130.66
CHICAGO $638,796 7,791 90.17% $81.99
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,164,664 11,844 98.44% $98.33
FISH IN THE DARK $902,194 8,099 94.35% $111.40
FUN HOME $817,665 6,120 103.38% $133.61
HAMILTON $1,288,436 9,273 100.28% $138.94
HAND TO GOD $344,030 4,598 74.45% $74.82
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $681,087 6,552 92.95% $103.95
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $392,500 5,725 70.71% $68.56
JERSEY BOYS $709,588 7,430 75.63% $95.50
KINKY BOOTS $909,402 9,393 82.45% $96.82
LES MISÉRABLES $801,902 9,692 85.98% $82.74
MAMMA MIA! $909,862 9,342 100.15% $97.39
MATILDA $1,110,520 11,439 99.85% $97.08
ON THE TOWN $501,525 9,178 61.22% $54.64
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $571,895 5,788 100.21% $98.81
PENN & TELLER ON BROADWAY $1,100,653 9,144 69.95% $120.37
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,111,321 12,095 90.69% $91.88
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,654,152 9,828 102.44% $168.31
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $920,865 7,923 97.29% $116.23
THE KING AND I $1,152,974 7,971 95.16% $144.65
THE LION KING $2,620,016 15,100 98.93% $173.51
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,064,460 12,031 93.70% $88.48
WICKED $2,167,815 16,815 97.67% $128.92
Total $29,683,617 269,131 90.73% $106.77

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

“Hamilton” Begins Previews on Broadway

Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hit at the Public Theater

hamiltonOn July 13, 2015, the highly anticipated new musical Hamilton began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. The official opening night is scheduled for August 6, 2015. With book, lyrics, and music by Lin Manuel-Miranda (In the Heights), Hamilton had its New York premiere at the Off-Broadway Public Theater in the East Village, with previews beginning on January 20, 2015, its official opening night on February 17, 2015, and wrapping up performances on May 3, 2015. The show was directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, who are the same director and choreographer as for the Broadway production. The show is inspired by the life story of United States founding father Alexander Hamilton, and is specifically based off of the biography Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow. Chernow has served as the historical consultant for this production. When the show premiered Off-Broadway, critics far and wide hailed it as a magnificent achievement. With so much buzz, the producers considering bringing it to Broadway in time for Tony Awards consideration in 2015. However, with the Public Theater’s Fun Home also competing for Best Musical (which it ended up winning), and with the creative team of Hamilton believing more work could be done to perfect the musical, the show’s Broadway transfer was delayed until the summer.

Lin Manuel-Miranda Stars in His Own Musical in the Title Rolehamilton

Not only did Lin Manuel-Miranda write the book, lyrics, and music for Hamilton, but he also takes to the stage in this production, playing the role of Hamilton himself. There is also an alternate actor to play Hamilton on select performances, that is Javier Muñoz. This weekend in particular, President Obama and his two daughters attended the matinee performance of Hamilton on Saturday; this day was scheduled to be a day when Miranda sat in the audience to watch the show, and on which Muñoz would perform the title role. Even though the Obamas came for this performance, Miranda stuck to his original plan and sat in the audience to watch his show for the first time as an audience member. The concept of this show is a fresh take on the story of Alexander Hamilton. Rather than being rooted in the principally white background of the forefathers of this country, Miranda opted to embrace the racial diversity present in modern day America, incorporating R&B, jazz, hip hop, tin pan alley, and contemporary Broadway style music into his compositions. The casting incorporates a vast amount of racial diversity, and the show has been praised for its cultural reimagining of this time period.

A Stellar Supporting Cast and Creative Team

In addition to Lin Manuel-Miranda in the title role, the cast includes Jonathan Groff as King George, Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette, and Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler. The scenic design is by David Korins, the costume design is by Paul Tazewell, the lighting design is by Howell Binkley, the sound design is by Nevin Steinberg, and the hair and wig design is by Charles G. LaPointe. Overall, this cast and creative team is sure to make a big splash on Broadway, and even though they missed the Tony Awards this time around, the buzz this show is generating implies that it will be a major contender at the Tony Awards in 2016.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/12/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Sales Pick Up After Holiday Weekend

In the week ending July 12, 2015, Broadway as a whole saw an increase of $2,076,675 from the week before. This is primarily because in the week ending July 5, 2015, Broadway had seen a decrease in sales of $2,288,441. Therefore, sales are almost back to their levels a week ago, but still not quite as high. With the closure of Wolf Hall Parts One and Two and the beginning of previews of Penn & Teller on Broadway, sales still saw a pick up on a show by show basis. The biggest increase in a show that was running both weeks was seen by Aladdin, which increased by $188,986 to a figure of $1,787,410. The next biggest jump was seen by The Lion King which went up by $165,547, reaching the weekly gross of $2,308,891. At the height of the summer season, this tourist favorite managed to gross 100.1% of its gross potential. Amazing Grace, which is still performing terribly, saw an increase of $90,234 to reach the weekly gross of $291,315, representing just 26.54% of its gross potential. After the over two million dollar gross of The Lion King, the next biggest weekly gross was seen by Wicked with a gross of $1,900,091. Aladdin came it at number three, and the fourth highest weekly gross was earned by The Book of Mormon at $1,450,865. Overall, the most popular audience seats on Broadway in the heat of summer are the tourist attractions, as the locals are at the beach.

Penn & Teller Launches Out of the Gate

On the note of tourist shows, Penn & Teller have left their semi permanent home of the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to do a seven week run on Broadway. In the first week of eight performances, Penn & Teller brought in $1,075,289, which represents 62.40% of the show’s gross potential. Though this figure is outstanding at over one million dollars for the first week of previews, there is still a lot more ticket selling room at the Marquis Theatre, which can seat 1,611 people. With a top ticket price of $247.00, the average paid admission was $114.64, showing that the magic of the world’s most famous magicians extends beyond their home territory in Nevada. Those who travel to New York looking for a spectacle-filled Broadway show are not looking for dramatic or literary profundity; they are looking to be dazzled. Therefore, Penn & Teller is a great tourist treat, not relying on the Tony Award buzz to sell tickets in the summer months right after the awards. Though the audience was only 66.4% filled this week, word of mouth is sure to spread as Penn & Teller stick around New York for another month and a half. The word of mouth needs to spread quickly in order to catch up with the longtime performing duo before they turn right back around and return to Vegas.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 12, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-07-12-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $489,049 5,707 78.65% $85.69
ALADDIN $1,787,410 13,785 100.01% $129.66
AMAZING GRACE $291,315 5,810 62.50% $50.14
AN ACT OF GOD $920,623 7,375 91.64% $124.83
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,406,875 12,894 95.99% $109.11
BEAUTIFUL $918,122 7,337 89.39% $125.14
CHICAGO $625,581 7,675 88.83% $81.51
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,126,473 11,526 95.79% $97.73
FISH IN THE DARK $861,784 7,863 91.60% $109.60
FUN HOME $783,291 6,129 103.53% $127.80
HAND TO GOD $317,244 4,239 68.64% $74.84
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $533,938 5,539 78.58% $96.40
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $358,327 5,281 65.23% $67.85
JERSEY BOYS $614,775 6,423 65.38% $95.71
KINKY BOOTS $841,500 8,802 77.26% $95.60
LES MISÉRABLES $688,996 8,389 74.42% $82.13
MAMMA MIA! $852,207 9,130 97.88% $93.34
MATILDA $1,077,379 11,416 99.65% $94.37
ON THE TOWN $509,820 9,090 60.63% $56.09
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $469,559 5,219 90.36% $89.97
PENN & TELLER ON BROADWAY $995,616 8,685 66.44% $114.64
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,088,662 11,847 88.83% $91.89
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,450,865 8,745 102.54% $165.91
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $890,693 7,711 94.68% $115.51
THE KING AND I $1,247,155 8,376 100.00% $148.90
THE LION KING $2,308,891 13,556 99.91% $170.32
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $914,409 10,596 82.52% $86.30
WICKED $1,900,091 14,729 96.34% $129.00
Total $26,270,648 243,874 85.97% $104.00

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

Deaf West “Spring Awakening” Comes to Broadway This Fall

Acclaimed Los Angeles Production of Tony Winning Musical

deaf west spring awakeningIn a surprise move, the Deaf West Theatre Company production of Spring Awakening has announced that it will come to Broadway this fall. Following the announcement that It Shoulda Been You will be closing on August 9, 2015 and vacating the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, the producers of Spring Awakening revealed that they will be taking advantage of the opportunity to move the production out east. With previews beginning on September 8, 2015, and an official opening night scheduled for September 27, 2015, Spring Awakening is scheduled to run for an 18 week limited engagement with a closing date of January 9, 2016. Spring Awakening premiered on Broadway in December 2006, and it conquered the 2007 Tony Awards by winning eight awards of their 11 nominations, with the wins including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, and Best Choreography. Spring Awakening has music by Duncan Sheik (American Psycho) and book and lyrics by Steven Sater. The original production was directed by Michael Mayer with choreography by Bill T. Jones. Though this production will step back onto the Broadway stage less than a decade later, it will be a very different Spring Awakening.

Deaf West Theatre Company’s Second Time on Broadwaydeaf west spring awakening

The Deaf West Theatre company was founded in Los Angeles in 1991, since which time they have been dedicated to producing theatre made for deaf and hearing audiences both, utilizing both deaf and hearing actors. The highest profile show of theirs to date was Big River, the Huckleberry Finn tale which transferred to Broadway in 2003 and was nominated for Best Musical. That year, the Deaf West Theatre company was also given an honorary Tony Award for their contributions to theatre. This production of Spring Awakening will be the second Deaf West production to make it to Broadway. Spring Awakening, which is based on an 1891 German play of the same name by Frank Wedekind, tells a story about teenagers reckoning with inner and outer tumult and dealing with their own burgeoning sexuality. One of the main themes is the teenagers’ difficulty communicating with parents who do not understand them, and that is one reason why the show is a particularly apt choice for a Deaf West production. This production, directed by Arden, premiered in Los Angeles at Inner-City Arts and then transferred to Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where it concluded its run on June 7, 2015. After receiving rave reviews, the show decided to move to Broadway.

The Beauty of Using Both Hearing and Non-Hearing Performers

According to Charles McNulty’s rave review in the Los Angeles Times, this production is a very successful reimagining of the modern classic, going above and beyond the mere fact of using deaf performers as well as hearing performers. The choice of which characters are to be played by hearing actors, or non-hearing actors, or sometimes both, is very thoroughly conceived. For example, one of the lead roles, a young woman named Wendla, is portrayed by two actors – one hearing, and one non-hearing who uses sign language. Therefore, we are able to step inside her head even more than usual, understanding the alienation and fear she is encountering while also listening to the beauty of these feelings expressed in song. However, the male lead of Melchior is played solely by one actor who sings his heart out. Overall, this production seamlessly integrates the complex logistics of this sometime dual casting, while making the audience completely suspend disbelief as they are lead into the heart of this beautiful ensemble story.

“Penn & Teller on Broadway” Begins Previews

Famous Magician Duo Returns for a Broadway Engagement

penn and tellerOn July 7, 2015, Penn and Teller on Broadway began previews at the Marquis Theatre. The show is scheduled for a limited engagement to conclude on August 16, 2015. The performance is directed by John Rando, who has directed many shows on Broadway including the current revival of On the Town, A Christmas Story: The Musical, The Wedding Singer, Urinetown, and A Thousand Clowns. The duo – whose full names are Penn Jillette and Teller (Teller goes by just the one name) – has been performing together for over 40 years. However, they haven’t performed on Broadway together since 1991, with their show The Refrigerator Tour. One of the reasons for the long hiatus is that they have strict contracts with the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which is understandably reluctant to let them take even seven weeks off from their regular performing five nights a week to do the Broadway show. Penn Jillette told Entertainment Weekly that when you’re having success in Las Vegas, Las Vegas wants to keep you there. Therefore, the negotiation just to take this break for New York took 15 years to complete, even though they wanted to return to the Big Apple the moment they left.

Old Tricks and New Nutty Ideaspenn and teller

The duo reportedly works very hard on their bits, even though they appear to be effortless on stage. For example, Teller revealed in an interview that they have a new bit for this show where they use the song “I’m a Little Teapot,” where Penn picks up Teller and pours tea out of him like a teapot. Even though it will be quick in performance, they said they have been working on that new trick for two years and three months. This New York run is an opportunity for Penn and Teller to reconfigure their act for a different audience. Though America has become more homogenous over the years, Penn mentioned that he believes the audiences in New York are a little more intellectual, and a little more interested in political content. Although their show will not enter the realm of the political, they will be taking the opportunity to put a little more intellectual thought into this show. They will be performing one of their oldest tricks – Needles – where Telle eats a fistful of needles and some sewing thread, and then pulls it out of his mouth with the needles threaded. Furthermore, they are bringing back one of the oldest tricks in magic, but one which they say is deceptively hard to do: pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Sardi’s Caricature and “Fool Us” TV Show

Just last week, Penn and Teller were welcomed into the Broadway community the best way we know how: they were given their very own framed caricature to be hung on the walls of Sardi’s Restaurant. They had a small signing ceremony at the classic Broadway eatery on July 1, 2015. Now theatregoers can enjoy their smiling faces alongside all the timeless faces while enjoying their pre or post theatre meal. Furthermore, just one day before previews began for their Broadway show, their television show Penn & Teller: Fool Us began its second season on the CW. In this British-American co-produced television show hosted by Jonathan Ross, Penn and Teller hold a magic competition where magicians line up to show off their best tricks to the duo. Penn and Teller do their best to explain how the trick is done. If they cannot figure it out, the magicians win a five-star trip to Las Vegas where they get to perform as the opening act to Penn and Teller’s show at the Rio Hotel and Casino. On top of this, the duo will be performing their act in the upcoming feature film Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! With such a busy schedule, it will likely be a long time before they return to Broadway again, so this six-week engagement is an exciting time to catch them live in New York.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/05/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

An Overall Slow Week on Broadway

In the week ending July 5, 2015, the entire Broadway industry saw a decrease in ticket sales of $2,288,441 across the 27 shows running. Of these 27 shows, only four saw an increase in ticket sales, and the remaining 23 brought in less money at the box office than they had the week before. The biggest decrease was seen by Beautiful, which brought in $860,890, a decrease of $193,146 from the week before. Even Wicked, which still brought in 104.74% of its gross potential with a weekly gross of $1,864,235 saw a decrease of $182,908 from the week before. Something Rotten! brought in $1,053,848, a decrease of $176,771 from the week before. Wolf Hall Parts One and Two, which played its final performances on Sunday July 5, 2015 saw a decrease of $169,013 from the week before. This is particularly surprising, because even shows that are not doing well at the box office tend to see an upsurge, even if slight, in their final week of performances. In this case, Wolf Hall Parts One and Two brought in only $346,459, which represents a dismal 31.08% of its gross potential – by far the lowest percentage reached of gross potential throughout its run. In this case, the Independence Day holiday weekend was pretty much the opposite sentiment to the stark and serious beauty of the English double bill. Wolf Hall even resorted to papering (giving away free tickets) in their final week. The only four shows to show an increase did so very slightly. The King and I saw an increase of $66,981 from the week before, the highest increase of any show.

“Amazing Grace” Looking Dire at the Box Office

In this overall difficult week on Broadway, the show that may have suffered the most is Amazing Grace, which only began previews on June 25, 2015. In these preview weeks prior to its opening night date of July 16, 2015, at which time reviews will be published to spread awareness of the new musical, the show is fine-tuning its production but suffering from a lack of interest. In the week ending July 5, 2015, Amazing Grace brought in $201,081, which is an increase of $689 from the week before. However, this negligible increase coincided with an addition of two performances from the previous partial week of 5 performances. So, on average the show brought in less money per performance. This past week, its weekly gross amounted to a threateningly low percentage reached of gross potential of 18.32%. This is a decrease from 29.21% the week before. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission this past week was only $38.92, cheaper than most Off-Broadway fare. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Amazing Grace will even make it to opening night without shuttering, but chances are that unless the reviews are stupendous, it won’t make it much further than that.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 5, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-7-05-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $483,592 6,105 84.14% $79.21
ALADDIN $1,598,424 13,786 100.01% $115.95
AMAZING GRACE $201,081 5,166 63.51% $38.92
AN ACT OF GOD $903,661 7,612 94.58% $118.72
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,348,052 12,530 93.28% $107.59
BEAUTIFUL $860,890 7,378 89.89% $116.68
CHICAGO $571,954 7,329 84.83% $78.04
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,087,396 11,494 95.53% $94.61
FISH IN THE DARK $854,571 8,128 94.69% $105.14
FUN HOME $744,230 6,125 103.46% $121.51
HAND TO GOD $317,404 4,357 70.55% $72.85
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $475,996 5,763 81.76% $82.60
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $344,925 5,577 68.89% $61.85
JERSEY BOYS $644,185 7,319 74.50% $88.02
KINKY BOOTS $823,566 9,175 80.54% $89.76
LES MISÉRABLES $689,495 8,916 79.10% $77.33
MAMMA MIA! $805,674 8,928 95.71% $90.24
MATILDA $1,039,197 11,456 100.00% $90.71
ON THE TOWN $473,731 8,920 59.50% $53.11
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $487,786 5,485 94.96% $88.93
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,053,848 11,978 89.82% $87.98
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,382,123 8,751 102.61% $157.94
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $861,351 7,552 92.73% $114.06
THE KING AND I $1,241,086 8,376 100.00% $148.17
THE LION KING $2,143,344 13,603 100.02% $157.56
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $971,851 11,125 86.64% $87.36
WICKED $1,864,235 14,732 96.36% $126.54
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $346,459 6,559 59.28% $52.82
Total $24,620,107 244,225 87.03% $96.58

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