“A Raisin in the Sun” Opens on Broadway

On April 3, 2014, a new revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun opened at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre, the same house where the play ran in its first production.  Directed by Kenny Leon, who has become the go-to theatre director for African American content, the play received largely unqualified rave reviews from critics far and wide.  With a superb cast led by mega movie star Denzel Washington as Walter Lee Younger, the production succeeded in proving the timelessness of Hansberry’s masterwork.

A Raisin in the Sun with Denzel Washington on BroadwayThis is the play’s second revival on Broadway, following the original 1959 production.  In 2004, Kenny Leon also served as director for the show.  According to The New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley, Leon made new choices in the 2014 revival, justifying his return to directing the same play only a decade later.  He stated that this production “feels far more of a whole” than the 2004 revival, as the relaxed approach he takes in the new revival is emotionally very compelling.  Furthermore, in 2012, Bruce Norris’ clever riff off of this play, Clybourne Park, played on Broadway to great acclaim, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the Tony Award for Best Play.

The 2004 production of A Raisin in the Sun was the Broadway directing debut for Kenny Leon, who served as the artistic director of Atlanta’s True Colors Theatre Company from 1988 to 2000.  Since his first Broadway credit, Leon has directed numerous Broadway shows featuring a primarily African American cast, including three plays by August Wilson: Gem of the Ocean in 2004-5, Radio Golf in 2007, and Fences in 2010, the last of which also starred Denzel Washington in a sold-out hit run.  Furthermore, he helmed The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett as well as Stick Fly, both in the 2011-2 fall season.  Following A Raisin in the Sun, Leon will direct a second show also in this spring season, the musical inspired by the songs of Tupac Shakur, Holler If Ya Hear Me.

When Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raisin in the Sun, she was the first African American woman to have a play produced on Broadway.  The play was nominated for four 1960 Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Direction.  It was also named the Best Play of 1959 by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle.  This new revival holds promise to match up to the success of the play’s premiere.  In addition to receiving laudatory notices from a slew of major publications, the play is well on its way to entering financial profits.  The play has reached 100% capacity for every week thus far, crossing the million dollar mark for its past two weeks of grosses, which is a serious feat for a straight play.  After all, Mr. Washington is not your average Hollywood star.  He has consistently garnered well-deserved respect due to his extreme talent along with his humility, a rare combination at his level of fame.

Broadway’s Anna Kendrick to Host SNL on April 5

Anna Kendrick, the multi-talented actress and singer, has been tapped to host Saturday Night Live on April 5, 2014.  This will be her SNL hosting debut.  The telecast will also feature Pharrell, the seven-time Grammy Award winner known for his recent hit “Happy” from the animated film Despicable Me 2.  Created and executive produced by Lorne Michaels, SNL is filmed in front of a live studio audience at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

anna kendrick on SNL Saturday Night LiveAnna Kendrick made her Broadway debut at the age of 12, when she played Dinah Lord in the 1998 production of High Society.  She was nominated for a Tony Award for this performance, but she has not appeared on Broadway since.  Subsequently, her career has mostly been focused on film, yet she has not forgotten her musical roots.  Her screen debut was 2003’s Camp, where she played nerd turned surprise diva Fritzi Wagner.  More recently, her fame skyrocketed due to her role in the a cappella themed film Pitch Perfect, as her performance of the song “Cups (When I’m Gone)” became the number 2 hit on Billboard’s Adult Pop Song Chart.  Furthermore, she has just finishing filming two musical screen roles: Cathy Hyatt in The Last Five Years and Cinderella in Into the Woods, both of which will be released later this year.

anna kendrick on SNL on 04/05/14 on NBC Saturday Night LiveSince its original airing in 1975, NBC’s weekly late night variety and sketch comedy show has often been a place for celebrities to let loose and stretch their versatility.  As such, there has often been an overlap between Broadway actors and SNL hosts.  The record for having hosted SNL the most number of times is held by Alec Baldwin (he hosted 16 times since 1990), who has been on Broadway 5 times.  His Broadway debut was Loot in 1986, and he was recently seen on stage in the 2013 production of Orphans.  Furthermore, many individuals who have hosted the Tony Awards over the years have also served as SNL hosts.  These include Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Bernadette Peters, and Rosie O’Donnell, to name a few.  Even Seth MacFarlane, who hosted last year’s musical themed Academy Awards show, has also hosted SNL.

Anna Kendrick at the Toy Awards Red Carpet 2013

The list of Broadway performers who have hosted SNL does not end there.  Many A-list actors have been featured both in Broadway shows and also as the host of SNL.  For example, the stars of The Producers, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, have both served as SNL hosts.  So have Martin Short and Jason Alexander, who played those same roles in the Los Angeles production and US National Tour.  The stars of the film version of Chicago, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, have both hosted SNL.  Furthermore, there are several famous Hollywood actors who are presently appearing on Broadway, who have also served as SNL hosts.  These include James Franco, Alan Cumming, Daniel Radcliffe, and Bryan Cranston, among many more in recent years.

Anna Kendrick may not have been on Broadway since she was 12 years old, but she is nonetheless a beloved star of stage and screen, whose singing chops make her memorable as a musical theatre star.  After she makes her SNL hosting debut, and then appears back-to-back in two major musical film releases, we may see her on the Great White Way once again before too long.

“Casa Valentina” Begins Previews on Broadway

Tonight at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, previews will commence for the Manhattan Theatre Club production of Casa Valentina, a world premiere play written by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein.  Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, the play will run for a limited engagement between April 1, 2014 and June 15, 2014, with the official opening night taking place on April 23, 2014.  Fierstein, who has seen enormous success in penning the book for musicals including Kinky Boots, Newsies, and La Cage aux Folles, has not had a straight play produced in almost thirty years.  Well, none of Harvey Fierstein’s content is ever “straight,” per say.

casa-susanna is the basis for the Casa Valentina Broadway Show

casa-susanna is the basis for the Casa Valentina Broadway Show

Casa Valentina is based on the true story of a group of New York men in the 1960s – white collar professionals with families – who vacationed in the Catskill Mountains during the summers.  Unlike most vacationers in that period, however, these men had a particular quirk: they dressed up as women.  Beyond assuming female wardrobe to a meticulous degree of detail, they also adopted the personalities of their female counterparts during the vacation.  While transvestitism has proliferated in our culture in many forms since that time, these men were truly transgressive, and yet they were still firmly embedded in conventional heterosexual culture in the course of their everyday lives.  The play introduces us to these unique individuals, and then follows them as they are confronted with a difficult choice: the opportunity to become an official organization, effectively outing their precious secret.

casa-susanna is the basis for the Casa Valentina Broadway Show

Just as interesting as the plot of the play, however, is the background of how this true story became uncovered.  Some time ago, a pair of antique collectors discovered a large collection of old photographs at a New York flea market.  When they realized that the gorgeous women depicted in the photographs were in fact men, which was not immediately obvious, they decided to publish them in a book entitled Casa Susanna.  The pictures alone tell the heartbreaking story of these conflicted souls.  However, what is exceedingly interesting is that none of the press releases about this new Broadway play refer to the original source material.

After purchasing the rights to this book of photographs, the producers Colin Callender, Robert Cole, and Frederick Zollo commissioned Harvey Fierstein to write a play based on the images.  To mitigate their risk in bringing an untried play directly to Broadway, they partnered with the Manhattan Theatre Club, and agreed to be credited as granting the production “by special arrangement.”  It is curious that the producers decided not only to change the name of the play to Casa Valentina from the original title of Casa Susanna, but also to neglect to mention the book of photographs in any press release.  Perhaps the reason was to protect the appearance of originality for Harvey Fierstein, and calling this a “world premiere” by Fierstein certainly implies that it was his idea in the first place, which it was not.

casa-susanna is the basis for the Casa Valentina Broadway Show

Of course, none of this background information would affect the quality of the play itself, which is to be seen in the coming weeks as previews unfold.  What does bode well is the extraordinary cast of Broadway stalwarts and up-and-comers, including Reed Birney, John Cullum, Gabriel Ebert, Larry Pine, and Patrick Page.  Under the skilled direction of Joe Mantello, and surely featuring Harvey Fierstein’s signature wit, this play could be a very exciting addition to the Broadway season.  Indeed, it would be a true achievement if Fierstein’s concocted narrative comes close to representing the understated yet superb beauty of the mysterious found photographs, which the producers of this play clearly do not want the audience to discover.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 3/30/2014

This weeks notable movements on Broadway are:

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH
This past week saw the start of previews for the highly anticipated Broadway production of John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  This glam rock musical, which tells the story of an East German transsexual who underwent a botched sex-change operation, has stirred hearts and minds since its original Off-Broadway production in 1998.  Its audience of fans has expanded through the 2001 movie version and further productions worldwide, yet this is the first time the show has come to Broadway.  Starring Neil Patrick Harris, who has proven his charm to the Broadway community through hosting the Tony Awards on several occasions, this production is sure to be an audience favorite – and the numbers show it.  With only one performance in this first week, the show grossed $144,194, which amounted to an audience capacity of 101.40%, reaching 120.35% of its gross potential.  Collecting an average paid admission of $141.92, Hedwig was the top ticket price, with only The Book of Mormon charging a higher average admission.  In starting off with a bang, this bodes well for a profitable run.

OTHER NEW SHOWS
In the same week, two other shows began previews, but to a much less profitable start.  Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, which stars Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday, only grossed $337,951 over its 7 performances, representing an audience capacity of 83.91%.  The show must have discounted significantly, as average paid admission was only $84.36.  Even less profitably, the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Violet ran for four performances at the American Airlines Theatre, grossing only $169,792 with an average paid admission of $60.53.  Still, they filled up 96.46% of their audience capacity, with the lower gross deriving from discounted and subscription tickets.

NEW MUSICAL SUCCESSES
A musical that saw a steep increase in ticket grosses this past week was the new revival of Les Misérables, which grossed $1,223,317, up $191,448 from last week.  In addition, the new Disney production of Aladdin took in $1,104,798, which was an increase of $167,699 from the previous week.  Both of these are new productions that are proving to be strong contenders for long healthy runs.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending March 23, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $472,344 5,879 81.02% $80.34
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,045,534 8,368 100.00% $124.94
ACT ONE $318,292 5,491 63.32% $57.97
AFTER MIDNIGHT $702,074 7,378 89.02% $95.16
ALADDIN $1,104,798 13,783 100.17% $80.16
ALL THE WAY $949,056 9,283 81.60% $102.24
BEAUTIFUL $749,305 6,610 80.53% $113.36
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $886,469 11,806 90.54% $75.09
CABARET $494,440 5,069 95.68% $97.54
CHICAGO $595,765 7,559 87.49% $78.82
CINDERELLA $1,012,922 11,953 85.33% $84.74
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $144,194 1,016 101.40% $141.92
IF/THEN $1,002,321 9,897 97.03% $101.28
JERSEY BOYS $737,384 7,700 78.38% $95.76
KINKY BOOTS $1,489,070 10,995 96.52% $135.43
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $337,951 4,006 83.91% $84.36
LES MISÉRABLES $1,223,317 10,736 95.24% $113.95
MAMMA MIA! $673,967 8,032 86.11% $83.91
MATILDA $1,212,014 11,524 100.59% $105.17
MOTHERS AND SONS $228,669 4,518 70.42% $50.61
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,171,326 11,075 91.86% $105.76
NEWSIES $798,338 9,333 98.45% $85.54
NO MAN’S LAND/WAITING FOR GODOT $782,396 8,286 96.53% $94.42
OF MICE AND MEN $868,728 8,390 97.74% $103.54
ONCE $595,070 6,320 74.60% $94.16
PIPPIN $774,699 7,384 93.23% $104.92
ROCK OF AGES $376,294 4,496 96.40% $83.70
ROCKY $828,848 9,178 75.68% $90.31
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,638,380 8,752 102.63% $187.20
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $352,896 4,920 60.35% $71.73
THE LION KING $1,885,162 13,603 100.02% $138.58
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,057,502 12,439 96.88% $85.02
THE REALISTIC JONESES $462,236 5,595 80.20% $82.62
VIOLET $169,792 2,805 96.46% $60.53
WICKED $1,946,536 15,423 99.99% $126.21
Totals: $29,088,086 289,602 89.29% $97.63

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2013 nytix.com

‘The Book of Mormon’ Inks Deal with StubHub.com

The Book of Mormon now officially sells tickets on StubHub.com.

Since its opening in 2011, the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon has been selling out its houses at the 1,006 seat Eugene O’Neill Theatre.  With rampant demand for the satirical musical written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with Avenue Q writer Bobby Lopez, the show has regularly seen premium ticket prices as high as $477.  The show’s lead producers Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino have often been at the cutting edge of strategies to maximum their ticket revenue, utilizing dynamic pricing to vary ticket prices throughout the house in line with demand.  As of just week ago, they have announced a new partnership that changes the game for the Broadway ticket marketplace: they will now sell tickets on StubHub.com.

Book of Mormon and Stubhub join forces

Book of Mormon and StubHub.com  join forces

StubHub.com, an online ticket marketplace owned by eBay, has grown from America’s largest secondary-market ticket marketplace to the world’s largest ticket marketplace.  The secondary market for tickets refers to when tickets are re-sold, often at a higher amount than their original price, especially when the primary ticket sellers have sold out their inventory.  Another example of a secondary-market ticket site is TicketsNow.com, which is an acquired subsidiary of Ticketmaster.  Ticketmaster often redirects its customers to TicketsNow.com when the original inventory is sold out, which is effectively the same thing as selling tickets at a higher price through the same outlet.  Critics of secondary market ticket sites consider them to be just another form of scalping, and thus the legality of such sites is often questioned.

In an unprecedented move for Broadway, The Book of Mormon has decided to utilize StubHub.com as another outlet to sell their higher priced premium tickets.  In this way, StubHub will not be functioning as a secondary ticket marketplace, but rather a primary ticketing outlet.  Presently, the primary ticketing outlet for Broadway shows is more often than not Telecharge.com, which is owned by the Shubert Organization, one of the major Broadway landlords.  Therefore, this decision will present StubHub as a direct competitor to Telecharge.

It is common for producers to turn to additional outlets to help move their inventory, yet this is generally done in the form of discount ticket sales.  When sales are slow for a certain show, producers will often offer lower priced tickets either by direct mail to potential ticket buyers’ homes, or through online promotions by email or on websites.  However, the decision to sell premium seats for this hot-ticket show specifically through StubHub is an interesting maneuver, especially as the StubHub customer base may not be accustomed to seeing theatre options on the site.  StubHub’s biggest business comes from the music and sports industries, and this will present a Broadway option to this largely untapped audience.  On the other hand, the advantage from StubHub’s point of view is that it will help shift their reputation from that of a glorified online scalper to a more legitimate ticket sales outlet.

In any case, this novel approach presents an interesting dilemma for the Shuberts, who own Telecharge.com.  If premium tickets can be sold directly though secondary outlets commonly known for scalping tickets, there is a grey area between the primary and secondary market ticket outlets that had not previously existed for the Broadway marketplace.  If they neglect the opportunity to invest in secondary outlets, like Ticketmaster did with TicketsNow, then they might very well be losing profits in the long run.  Still, for now, The Book of Mormon’s new partnership will be a noteworthy case study to see if the StubHub customer base opens up new avenues for premium Broadway ticket sales.

Dodger Theatricals Counts On ‘Jersey Boys’ Movie To Counter Its Fading Glory On Broadway

Jersey Boys, the jukebox musical recounting the rise and fall of the 1960s rock-n-roll group The Four Seasons, has been playing at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre since 2005.  Produced by Dodger Theatricals, the musical has had quite an extraordinary run thus far.  Since earning 8 Tony Award nominations in 2006 – and winning 4, including Best Musical – Jersey Boys broke the August Wilson Theatre’s box office record for the 30th time in January 2010 (with a weekly gross of $1,440,456), and it presently holds the record for the 14th longest running show ever on Broadway.  Furthermore, the show has had two national tours and productions all over the world, from London to Singapore to South Africa.  However, though a frequent member of the millionaire’s club over the course of its run, Jersey Boys on Broadway has been struggling to compete with its old numbers in recent years.

Jersey Boys on Broadway - Marquee at August Wilson TheatreJersey Boys on Broadway - Marquee at August Wilson Theatre

Nevertheless, the producers have decided to capitalize on the musical’s global success by giving their blessing to a film adaptation.  The musical film will be released theatrically on June 20, 2014 by Warner Bros. Pictures.  It is directed by Clint Eastwood, and the screenplay is written by Tony Award winning playwright John Logan (Red) based on the play script by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, including songs by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe.  The film is produced by Graham King (Argo) and Robert Lorenz (Million Dollar Baby), and executive produced by Frankie Valli.  The starring role of Frankie Valli is played by John Lloyd Young, who originated the role on Broadway and won a Tony Award for his performance.

The decision to make a film of a successful Broadway show follows the precedent led by, among others, Mamma Mia!, which released its film version in 2008 after running on Broadway since 2001.  Though the film release didn’t move the needle for the Broadway box office in that case, it did expose the show to an international audience, thereby benefitting the overall property.  However, the films of Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia! differ in terms of their casting strategies.  Whereas Mamma Mia! took the big screen opportunity to woo big screen talent including Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Amanda Seyfried, Clint Eastwood has opted to cast the Jersey Boys movie with mostly stage actors, specifically those who originated the roles on Broadway.  One exception is the recent casting announcement of Christopher Walken, who will play the mobster Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo.  It will be interesting to see if the Jersey Boys movie makes as big a splash without Hollywood actors leading the cast. Two more examples of poor stage to screen transition were The Producers (2005) and Rock of Ages.(2012), both were critical and box office failures.

In any case, the added exposure beyond the stage to the screen can only help increase global awareness of the show.  Like with Les Misérables whose recent film version encouraged the 2014 revival, the Jersey Boys movie will surely increase interest in the show.  Even if, like Mamma Mia!, the film does not necessarily boost sales for the Broadway production, it will certainly help promote future touring and international productions.

‘Les Miserables’ Opens At NJCU at $15, Confusing Broadway Patrons

les-miserables-njcu

Les Miserables has become A Tale of Two Cities with two very different productions of Les Miserables running at the same time. One on Broadway in New York City and the other at NJCU New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ.

Music Theatre International who licenses the rights to Les Miserables describes the production as having won over 100 international awards and seen by over 65 million people worldwide. So it is not surprising that there are multiple productions playing simultaneously. What is surprising is to have a major Broadway revival opening of the show concurrently with another college production in Jersey City, New Jersey – just a short train ride away.

Also what may appear surprising is that the logos are identical. In obtaining rights from Musical Theatre International producers can also secure a logo kit which allows them to use the copy written logos on posters, fliers and postcards. So New Jersey City University has been sending out postcards, like ones sent for theatre discounts, over the last few weeks.

Generally rights to major productions have a statute of limitation on radius. However, in this case the rights had been granted prior to the decision to bring the show to Broadway and outstanding licenses were allowed to be monitored and produced according to a Music Theatre International representative.

There have been multiple National Tours and hundreds of licenses that had gone out prior to the decision to reopen the show on Broadway. They will run out in 2015 but it is unlikely one will be seeing local productions granted from this point while the show is on Broadway.

waving red flag at Les Miserables 2014 on Broadway

The Broadway Version of Les Miserables

The Broadway show opened on March 23rd, 2014 and the New Jersey University show opened on March 21st. The New Jersey City University Production will run only through March 30th . A short period when there might be some patrons buying tickets for New Jersey thinking it was for Broadway.

The Productions both have large casts and in fact the college production boasts 8 more musicians than the Broadway show. The director of the New Jersey University Les Miserables is quoted that ” it is the biggest undertaking in years”. It features students from voice and theatre departments, musicians from the music department as well as faculty and five children related to students and staff.  The admission for this production is $12.

The Broadway production is currently at the Imperial Theatre and features Ramin Karimoo who has starred in many Andrew Lloyd Webber productions. It has video projections and a large cast of Equity actors, and is produced by the shows original producer Cameron Macintosh.

So, if you saw the traditional Les Miserable logo and thought only “what a great promotion- a $12 Broadway ticket.”  If you take that ticket to the Imperial Theatre. Undoubtedly you will be re-directed to the nearest path train.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 3/23/2014

This weeks notable movements on Broadway are:

NEW SHOWS THIS WEEK
Three shows began previews on Broadway this week.  Act One played 4 performances at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, with an average paid admission of $57.67 per ticket, and an average audience capacity of 61.07%.  Another not-for-profit theatre company was significantly more successful with their Broadway debut this week: the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Cabaret had an average paid admission of $94.96 and an average capacity of 101.7%, more than selling out their house due to premium sales in its three first performances.  The third premiere this week is also off to a strong start: Of Mice and Men, benefitting from a star studded cast including James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, and Leighton Meester, attracted an average paid admission of $111.95, and filled its house to an average 95.6% capacity over the six performances of its first week.  Overall, these figures exemplify how household name actors and familiar show titles can succeed in attracting a full audience even before reviews are published.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN
A Raisin in the Sun made it into the millionaire’s club this week, a real accomplishment for a straight play on Broadway, especially so early on in its run.  With an average paid admission of $132.31 and a clean 100.00% audience capacity, this revival of the Lorraine Hansberry classic profited from the megastar status of its lead, Denzel Washington.  This is the third week in which this production has been running, but it is the first 8-performance week.  As such, it has done equally well this week compared to the prior week, which only had 7 performances.

THE REALISTIC JONESES
Another straight play in previews is The Realistic Joneses, which transferred to Broadway after an acclaimed run last year at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut.  Though Will Eno’s play features famous actors including Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, and Marisa Tomei, their star power is significantly lower than that of Denzel Washington.  As such, in its first 8-performance week, the show played to only 81.38% average capacity, with an average ticket price of $76.34.


The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending March 23, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis 3-23-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $453,663 5,880 81.04% $77.15
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,107,163 8,368 100.00% $132.31
ACT ONE $152,704 2,648 61.07% $57.67
AFTER MIDNIGHT $714,663 7,555 91.16% $94.59
ALADDIN $937,099 13,782 100.16% $67.99
ALL THE WAY $881,336 8,646 76.00% $101.94
BEAUTIFUL $832,504 6,973 84.95% $119.39
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $782,289 10,508 92.09% $74.45
CABARET $255,813 2,694 101.70% $94.96
CHICAGO $541,652 6,944 80.37% $78.00
CINDERELLA $902,579 11,245 80.28% $80.26
IF/THEN $1,008,303 9,854 96.61% $102.32
JERSEY BOYS $669,085 7,169 72.97% $93.33
KINKY BOOTS $1,451,463 11,101 97.45% $130.75
LES MISÉRABLES $1,031,869 10,931 97.11% $94.40
MAMMA MIA! $573,443 6,915 74.13% $82.93
MATILDA $1,163,417 11,519 100.55% $101.00
MOTHERS AND SONS $248,821 4,909 76.51% $50.69
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,078,097 10,359 85.92% $104.07
NEWSIES $795,046 9,384 98.99% $84.72
NO MAN’S LAND/WAITING FOR GODOT $647,289 7,389 86.08% $87.60
OF MICE AND MEN $688,832 6,153 95.57% $111.95
ONCE $563,021 6,201 73.19% $90.80
PIPPIN $730,892 7,342 92.70% $99.55
ROCK OF AGES $366,648 4,415 94.66% $83.05
ROCKY $799,879 9,746 79.52% $82.07
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,639,847 8,752 102.63% $187.37
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $385,394 5,329 65.37% $72.32
THE LION KING $1,828,835 13,575 99.82% $134.72
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $954,196 11,368 88.54% $83.94
THE REALISTIC JONESES $433,391 5,677 81.38% $76.34
WICKED $1,874,352 15,318 99.31% $122.36
Totals: $26,493,581 268,649 87.74% $95.47

The New Revival of Kander and Ebb’s ‘Cabaret’ Begins Previews

Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome.
These three words – or rather, this one word in these three languages – is deliciously familiar to Broadway fans far and wide.

cabaret Roundabout Theatre on Broadway It is therefore with great anticipation that audiences welcome the new revival of Cabaret to Broadway, which begins performances tonight: March, 21, 2014.  These are the lyrics that begin the opening number of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical masterpiece, sung by the ultimate provocateur, the Master of Ceremonies.  This role, in a turn of events generally unusual for Broadway but not for this show, is revived along with the musical itself.  Alan Cumming, the beloved Scottish actor most recently seen on Broadway in his one-man adaption of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, will reprise the Emcee role, which he also played in 1998 when the musical last appeared on Broadway.

The 2014 revival is produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company at one of their two Broadway houses: Studio 54 on West 54th Street.  This marks the show’s third Broadway revival.  It originally premiered in 1966, when it ran for 1,186 performances (including previews) and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning 8 (including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Featured Actor – Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies, and Best Director – Harold Prince).  Cabaret’s first Broadway revival took place in 1987, with Harold Prince once again directing and with Joel Grey reprising his role as the Emcee.  The second revival played 2,377 performances, becoming the third-longest running Broadway revival in history, and featured Alan Cumming as the Emcee, a role he had debuted in the 1993 London revival.

When Alan Cumming first played the Emcee, he significantly altered the interpretation from that portrayed by Joel Grey.  Grey had embodied the consummate asexual entertainer, but Cumming took on the role in a highly sexualized fashion.  Still, both interpretations were so inimitable that each actor was asked to reprise his role for the following revival.  Furthermore, following in Harold Prince’s tradition of the director reprising his position for this show, Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, who co-directed the last revival, will also direct the 2014 production.

Starring alongside Cumming in this revival is Michelle Williams in her Broadway debut, playing the role of Sally Bowles: the 19 year-old English cabaret performer who falls in love with a young American writer.  Williams rose to fame in the late 90s on the WB’s teen television drama Dawson’s Creek.  She was then nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Brokeback Mountain, and also garnered acclaim for her performances in I’m Not There, Synecdoche New York, Shutter Island, and Blue Valentine.  The musical also features Tony Award nominees Linda Emond (Death of a Salesman, Life x 3) as Fraulein Schneider, and Danny Burstein (Follies, Golden Boy, South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone) as Herr Schultz.

The musical officially opens on April 24, 2014.  Though the last revival ran for 6 years, this is slated to be a 24-week limited engagement, with the closing date scheduled for August 31, 2014.

The Rockettes’ ‘Heart and Lights’ Postpones Its Run

Heart and Lights, the new Rockettes show that was slated to begin performances on March 27, 2014 at Radio City Music Hall, has cancelled its run less than week before its first scheduled show.  The producer, MSG Entertainment, part of the Madison Square Garden Company, cited narrative issues as the reason for postponement until 2015.

heart and lights

Though traditionally successful with their Rockettes Christmas extravaganza in the winter season, MSG Entertainment has often struggled in attracting tourists during the spring and early summer season. They were attempting to turn that trend around with Heart and Lights, a love affair to New York City in which two cousins explore the city of their grandmother’s youth.  With choreography by Rockettes artistic director Linda Haberman, Heart and Lights has a story written by Doug Wright, the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning writer of the 2004 Broadway play I Am My Own Wife.

While narrative problems were the officially stated reason for the delay, the musical must not have been doing stupendously in terms of advance ticket sales.  Though MSG Entertainment claimed 100,000 tickets were sold out of the 350,000 tickets available, the show did show up on discount sites such as Groupon a week ago.  In any case, because of back-to-back booking at Radio City Music Hall following the scheduled 5-week run, Heart and Lights has needed to delay until 2015.  This decision left the 40 Rockette performers, not to mention the entire crew, jobless at the last minute.  It was reported that several of the dancers broke out in tears in hearing the news.  Furthermore, the producers were estimated to have incurred a loss of at least $5 million from foregone ticket sales alone.

For the final dress rehearsal of Heart and Lights, MSG executive James Dolan invited film impresario Harvey Weinstein, as well as producers Jane Rosenthal and Daryl Roth, to pipe in.  Though these individuals’ opinions have not been stated publically, it is clear that their advice was one of the final straws in Dolan’s decision to cancel the show.  Doug Wright commented only that Linda Haberman is a pleasure to work with, and that the rest of the heartbreaking tale of the deferment would be saved for his memoirs.  While the story was not ready, the intensive special effects and expert Rockettes dancing were said to be in top shape.  Fortunately, the groundbreaking 3-D technology and innovative puppetry will only be put on hold, as audiences will be able to witness their delights when the book has been revamped.

The postponed performances dates have not yet been determined, but MSG will make an announcement when they have reached a decision.  All purchased tickets will be refunded at point of purchase, except Ticketmaster purchases which will be refunded automatically.