“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Recoups on Broadway

An Astounding Success

hedwig and the angry inch neil patrick harris titleJohn Cameron Mitchell’s glam rock musical about a German transvestite has turned a profit on Broadway.  Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch began its Broadway premiere at the Belasco Theatre on March 29, 2014, with its official opening on April 22, 2014.  Though this is the first time the show has been in a Broadway theatre, it was considered a revival for purposes of Tony consideration because it premiered Off-Broadway and has had many productions around the world, as well as a feature film adaptation.  In that regard, the show scored big at the Tony’s.  It was nominated for eight awards, winning four: Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Neil Patrick Harris), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Lena Hall), and Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Kevin Adams).

Neil Patrick Harris to be Replaced by Andrew Rannells after August 17th

Though the production was originally slated to have a limited engagement concluding on August 17, 2014, the show has announced that it will remain open due to robust ticket sales.  Instead, the star performer will be replaced by Andrew Rannells, who made a name for himself by starring as Elder Price in the original Broadway cast of The Book of Mormon, and who is also a
regular cast member on HBO’s “Girls.”  Though the excellent box office performance was due in part to the star power of Neil Patrick Harris, the show has now laid firm ground for continued success, and Rannells will certainly shine in the lead part.  The big question is whether the profits will continue to be as astounding with Rannells in the part.

A Financial Slam Dunkneil patrick harris in performance as hedwig in hedwig and the angry inch

The show recouped in a magnificently efficient 15 weeks.  Though the budget was exceedingly low for a musical at only $5 million, the critical and commercial was better than anyone could have expected.  The recoupment occurred in the week ending July 13, 2014.  In that week, the musical grossed $1,072,311, which was 128.51% of its gross potential.  In the week ending July 20, 2014, the show did even better, reaping in $1,088,660, which was 130.47% of its gross potential.  Though that was the highest gross potential percentage for the production to date, it has consistently been well over 100%, with only 2 weeks near the start of the run when the show made less than 100% of its gross potential.  The top ticket price is $248, which is lower than some, and the average ticket price has always been over $100, generally closer to $150 in recent weeks.  This demonstrates extreme demand for the show, as discounting is not at all necessary, and audience members are vying for limited seating availability.

Shubert Organization Plans to Purchase New World Stages

Just One Block From Broadway

new world stagesThe Shubert Organization, the most powerful Broadway landlord which presently owns 17 of the 40 Broadway theatres, has disclosed that it plans to purchase New World Stages, an Off-Broadway theatre “mall” on West 50th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.  New World Stages comprises five venues ranging in size from 199 to 499 seats, and has become a home for retired Broadway shows looking to extend their runs in smaller, more affordable venues, as well as for try-outs of new shows that are looking to avoid the high production and labor costs required by Broadway union contracts.  Presently running at the complex is Avenue Q, which transferred there seamlessly following its Broadway run and is still enjoying success, as well as Heathers, a new musical based on the film of the same name which has never been on Broadway.  Other shows running at the space include The Gazillion Bubble Show, Stalking the Bogeyman, and iLuminate.  Past Broadway transfers to the space include Million Dollar Quartet and Peter and the Starcatcher.

Presently Owned by “Rocky” Producers Stage Entertainment

In its current form, New World Stages opened in 2004 when Dodger Theatricals spent $23 million to convert a flopped discount movie house into the theatre mall, complete with 5 venues as well as three bars and ample restroom space.  The complex is presently owned by Joop van den Ende, the Dutch billionaire whose international production entity Stage Entertainment was behind the Broadway shows Sister Act and Rocky, and is presently developing a musical adaptation of the 1997 animated film AnastasiaRocky will close on August 17, 2014 at a significant financial loss, but this is unrelated as Stage Entertainment began exploring this sale over a year ago in an effort to focus their attention on developing and producing Broadway shows, rather than serving as part-time landlord for an Off-Broadway house.  The Shubert sale has not been finalized, but it has been confirmed by Shubert CEO Phil Smith and is expected to occur within a year for an amount of seven figures.

Joop van den Ende of Stage Entertainment

Joop van den Ende of Stage Entertainment

A New Angle on Off-Broadway for the Shuberts

The Shubert Organization has entered the realm of Off-Broadway before, but never to outstanding success.  In the early 1990s, it partnered with producer-manager Ben Sprecher (who was also behind the infamous Rebecca) to convert a former East Village porno house into the Variety Arts Theatre.  However, that venture flopped in 2005 and the property was torn down.  A greater but still not astounding success was the Shubert’s effort to build their own Off-Broadway house, the 499-seat Little Shubert Theatre on West 42nd Street.  Despite the success of neighboring Off-Broadway institutions such as Playwrights Horizons, the Signature Theatre, and the New Group performing at the Acorn on Theatre Row, the Little Shubert has had difficulty attracting quality content.  Nevertheless, this purchase of New World Stages would be a different kind of Off-Broadway venture for the Shuberts, particularly because of the venue’s already established reputation for serving as a kind of retirement home for Broadway shows that still have some life in them.  By applying the company’s already established management structure to this new theatre, the Shubert Organization will be able to streamline costs and broker seamless transitions for shows that may benefit from the opportunity to downsize.

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” Concludes Its Run

Daniel Radcliffe Takes His Final Bow

The Cripple of Inishmaan Daniel RadcliffeThis year’s revival of Martin McDonagh’s Irish dark comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan played its final Broadway performance at the Cort Theatre on Sunday, July 20, 2014.  The production was directed by Michael Grandage and starred Daniel Radcliffe, the British Harry Potter star who has recently performed on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Equus.  The play’s American premiere was in 1998 at the Public Theater, and it also enjoyed a 2008 revival by the Atlantic Theater Company.  Though this was the show’s first time on Broadway, it was considered a revival for purposes of Tony consideration.  At the 2014 Tony ceremony, the production received six Tony Award nominations: Best Revival of a Play, Best Direction of a Play (Michael Grandage), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play (Sarah Greene), Best Sound Design of a Play (Alex Baranowski), Best Lighting Design of a Play (Paule Constable), and Best Scenic Design of a Play (Christopher Oram).

A Critical But Not Commercial Success

Beginning performances on April 12, 2014, The Cripple of Inishmaan officially opened on April 20, 2014.  Over the course of its 114 performances, the show performed adequately but not excellently at the box office.  In its final week of performances, the show saw an upsurge in ticket sales, concluding with a weekly gross of $740,711, which represented 76.35% of the show’s gross potential that week.  Unfortunately, that was the highest weekly gross of any week throughout the show’s run.  Though Radcliffe’s last two Broadway outings played to more fanfare and commercial success, this may prove that even such undeniable star power may not attract audiences to a little known Irish straight play with a puzzling title.  It is to Radcliffe’s credit, however, that he seems to be selecting his roles not based on their spectacle or pizzazz but rather for his genuine interest in their artistic merit.

Daniel Radcliffe, The Gentleman

Though this production was a financial wash, it was a critical smash.  Critics loved the revival, with Ben Brantley of The New York daniel radcliffe selfie what ifTimes calling the production “splendid,” and the ensemble “first-class.”  Though this production was not a commercial success, it did not slow down Radcliffe’s career for a second.  On Monday, July 21, 2014, the night after closing The Cripple of Inishmaan, he flew to Toronto to premiere his new film at the Scotiabank Theatre, What If co-starring Zoe Kazan.  Furthermore, the good-natured movie star took the time to take selfies with his fans outside stage door following the final performance, demonstrating his impressive ability to remain genuinely kind-hearted and appreciative of his devotees, despite his immense fame.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/20/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” Ends on a High Note

The Daniel Radcliffe led revival of The Cripple of Inishmaan concluded performances this Sunday, July 20, 2014.  Throughout its run, box office sales were somewhat of a disappointment, hovering around $500,000 for the weekly gross.  However, in the final week of its run, fans did turn out to catch the Harry Potter star in his final performances.  In that week, the gross was a record for the show at $740,711, which was 76.35% of its gross potential.  Prior to this past week, the highest percentage for gross potential for any full performance week was 66.37%.  With an average ticket price of $88.63, the show was filled up to an average 97.4% capacity in the week ending July 20, 2014.

“Holler If Ya Hear Me” Also Ramps It Up, But Still at the Bottom of the Pack

Also closing on Sunday, July 20, 2014 was the Tupac Shakur inspired musical Holler if Ya Hear Me.  Unlike The Cripple of Inishmaan, this show closed much earlier than expected.  Still, in its final week, sales did increase, with a weekly gross of $266,984.  Still, that was only 29.11% of its gross potential.  Only running since June 2, 2014, this musical’s highest weekly gross prior to its final week was $170,652, which was only 21.19% of its gross potential.  This past week, the average ticket price was still only $39.51, and despite such heavy discounting, it only filled up to an average audience capacity of 76.0%.

Overall An Excellent Week For Broadway

This past week, almost every single show had a higher weekly gross than it did the week before.  The only one exception was the Idina Menzel musical If/Then, which had a weekly gross decrease of $27,115.  On the other hand, the entire industry was in the black, with an overall increase of $2,232,430.  The highest increase was seen by The Lion King, which grossed the highest of any show on Broadway at $2,431,017, which was an incredible $279,608 higher than its previous week’s gross.  Just behind was The Book of Mormon, which grossed $1,817,551, showing an increase of $196,277 from the week prior.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 20, 2014:


Show GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $957,145 7,345 101.23% $130.31
ALADDIN $1,542,832 13,781 99.98% $111.95
BEAUTIFUL $1,300,153 8,270 100.76% $157.21
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $686,693 8,725 66.91% $78.70
CABARET $831,305 6,831 95.62% $121.70
CHICAGO $601,245 7,517 87.00% $79.98
CINDERELLA $747,181 10,225 72.99% $73.07
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,088,660 7,214 102.34% $150.91
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME $266,984 6,758 76.04% $39.51
IF/THEN $773,533 8,680 82.76% $89.12
JERSEY BOYS $873,784 8,687 88.43% $100.59
KINKY BOOTS $1,314,190 11,042 96.93% $119.02
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $556,091 4,629 96.96% $120.13
LES MISÉRABLES $1,072,101 10,798 95.79% $99.29
MAMMA MIA! $774,592 8,766 93.98% $88.36
MATILDA $1,167,031 11,544 100.77% $101.09
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $983,055 10,290 85.35% $95.53
NEWSIES $862,977 9,359 98.72% $92.21
OF MICE AND MEN $929,343 8,566 99.79% $108.49
ONCE $499,598 6,690 78.97% $74.68
PIPPIN $626,694 7,296 92.12% $85.90
ROCK OF AGES $340,633 4,066 87.18% $83.78
ROCKY $674,063 8,333 68.71% $80.89
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,817,551 9,846 102.63% $184.60
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $740,711 8,357 97.36% $88.63
THE LION KING $2,431,017 15,155 99.05% $160.41
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,114,417 12,368 96.32% $90.10
VIOLET $327,327 4,696 79.97% $69.70
WICKED $1,966,367 15,375 99.68% $127.89
Totals: $27,867,272 261,209 91.18% $103.58

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2014 nytix.com

“Holler If Ya Hear Me” Closes Early On Broadway

holler if ya hear meAmbitious to Begin With

Holler If Ya Hear Me, the Tupac Shakur inspired musical that has been running on Broadway since June 2, 2014, closes today on Broadway – July 20, 2014 – after just 17 preview performances and 38 regular performances.  In the first place, the producers were taking a gamble because they elected to open a new musical at the start of the summer season, just after the excitement had died down after the Tony Awards.  This was certainly not the exception to prove the rule that it is a better bet to open at the height of the fall or spring seasons.  Second of all, the subject matter of the musical and the hip hop genre are unusual for Broadway.  Though Tupac Shakur is a huge household name, his audience doesn’t exactly correspond with the usual Broadway demographic.  It is admirable for producers to aim to reinvent the Broadway demographic, but it doesn’t just happen automatically.  Unfortunately, despite noble attempts at marketing and promotional efforts, this production did not crack the code for expanding the Broadway audience.

A Financial Failure

It is very possible that, given more time to reach its audience, the show could have sustained itself financially and reached a plateau where it was inching towards profitability.  However, the economics of Broadway dictate a very high floor for running costs, and in fact the theatre landlord can invoke a stop clause to force any production out of its house that is not making a certain minimum gross each week.  In the first six weeks of its run, Holler If Ya Hear Me did not gross over $163,586 in any week.  That number was only 18.32% of the show’s potential gross.  With a comparatively modest budget of $8 million, the show would still require a much higher gross in order to remain open.  The producers were forced to discount significantly, and therefore the average ticket price was generally around $30 to $35, which is exceedingly low for Broadway.  The lead producer Eric L. Gold admitted in Variety that he made a “rookie mistake” in misunderstanding the capital required to sustain a Broadway show.

Kenny Leon’s Latest Show

Holler If Ya Hear Me is the newest show directed by Kenny Leon, the exceedingly prolific director of African American content on holler if ya hear me castBroadway.  However, Mr. Leon has just as many hits as misses, with his repertoire including the vastly successful 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun and 2010’s Fences both starring Denzel Washington, as well as the flops Stick Fly and his 2004 revival of A Raisin in the SunHoller If Ya Hear Me has book by Todd Kreidler, who has worked with Leon before in an assistant directing capacity, and music orchestrated from Tupac Shakur’s repertoire.  The musical’s cast included Saul Williams making his Broadway debut, as well as New York theatre regular Tonya Pinkins.  The show opened on June 19, 2014 to fairly negative reviews, which did not sustain the already floundering musical.  Though closure was not immediately announced, the general critical consensus was that this musical would not last long.

“The Elephant Man” Starring Bradley Cooper Is Delayed

The Broadway Run Is Pushed By A Month

Originally slated to begin performances on October 18, 2014 at the Booth Theatre, The Elephant Man has delayed its production until November 7, 2014.  Its official opening night will now be on December 7, 2014, with the limited engagement scheduled to conclude on February 15, 2015.  The delay was reportedly caused by a scheduling conflict.

This Will Be The Second Broadway Revivalbradley cooper elephant man

This 1977 play by Bernard Pomerance has been produced on Broadway twice before.  Its premiere was in 1979, for which it won the Tony Award for Best Play as well as the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play.  There was then a revival in 2002, which ran for only 57 performances.  In any case, plans for the 2014 revival are well underway, with direction by Scott Ellis.  Scenic and projection design will be by Timothy R. Mackabee, costume design is by Clint Ramos, lighting design is by Philip S. Rosenberg, and sound design is by Drew Levy.

Cooper Played the Role at Williamstown

In the lead role of John Merrick will be film star Bradley Cooper, whose credits include Silver Linings Playbook (Academy Award nomination for Best Actor), American Hustle (Academy Award nomination for Best Featured Actor), The Hangover, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Wet Hot American Summer.  The cast of this revival will also include Patricia Clarkson as Mrs. Kendal and Alessandro Nivola as Frederick Treves.  Scott Ellis directed these same three actors in a 2012 production of the play at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Joining these three cast members for the Broadway revival will be Anthony Heald, Scott Lowell, Kathryn Meisle, and Henry Stram. elephant manThe Elephant Man is the story of a severely disfigured man in 19th century England, who travels the freak show circuit until he is noticed by a renowned physician.  Bradley Cooper will play John Merrick, the disfigured man.  Interestingly, this role is always portrayed without the use of any excessive makeup or props, but rather it is up to the actor to display the proper physicality to invoke the sense of disfigurement and awe.

“Rocky” Announces Early Closing in August

Despite High Hopes, The Broadway Run Will End After Just Six Months

rocky the musical on BroadwayRocky The Musical took New York by storm when it first showed up on Broadway this winter.  In anticipation of its first preview on February 13, 2014, it ousted Mamma Mia! from the Winter Garden Theatre, which had been its home for the last six years.  Rocky arrived fresh from a successful 2012 run in Hamburg, Germany, directed by hot young director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher).  Based off the 1976 film of the same name, whose screenplay was written by Sylvester Stallone, Rocky is the rags to riches story of Rocky Balboa, a club fighter who eventually gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship.  The musical was nominated for four 2014 Tony Awards, winning one: that for Best Scenic Design.  However, just six short months after the musical began performances, it will close: on August 17, 2014.

A Financial Loss

With a reported capitalization of $16.5 million, Rocky is sure to close at a loss.  Weekly grosses have fluctuated, but generally been around $700,000, which is not excellent for a musical in such a large theatre.  For instance, in this past week ending July 13, 2014, the musical grossed $626,984, which is only 49.62% of its gross potential.  With such soft sales, the producers of Rocky are unlikely to have made back nearly any of their investment. This loss is a gigantic disappointment for the international producing organization Stage Entertainment, which was also behind the unsuccessful musicals Sister Act and Big Fish.  Still, there were high hopes for Rocky, which succeeded in its Hamburg run, so much that the Shubert Organization was persuaded to move Mamma Mia! and give up one of its prime houses.  However, reviews were mixed in the United States, and audiences could not quite wrap their head around the idea of a musical rendition of this classic film.

The “Golden Circle”, and the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design

The show is particularly ambitious in terms of its scenic design, for which it was given a Tony Award.  In a most notable designrocky golden circle feature, a boxing ring descends on the audience during a final climatic moment.  This “Golden Circle” requires that 64 orchestra seats be vacated, with the audience re-located to the stage.  Specifically, the center orchestra in rows AA through F are moved to bleachers, where the group’s view of the show isn’t as good as the remaining audience’s view of them.  However, this scenic feat is very impressive, and succeeds in making the audience feel as close to being in an actual boxing match as could be possible in a Broadway theatre.  Unfortunately, this spectacle was not enough to overcome the mediocre response to the narrative and score.

What Lies Ahead

Though this is a blow to the otherwise perfect record for director Alex Timbers, he is likely to remain on his feet.  His most recently announced upcoming project is a collaboration with husband and wife composing team Bobby Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Frozen).  It is called Up Here, and will premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2015.  Meanwhile, Rocky may decide to embark on a national tour, although its scenic elements are sure to pose a difficulty in creating a portable version of the show.  As the elaborate design was its biggest asset, a tour is a questionable choice, and the producers may decide that it is ultimately unfeasible.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/13/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

The Biggest Winner Was the Biggest Loser

Wicked is generally in the top two highest grossing shows of any given week, neck in neck with Disney’s The Lion King.  This week was no different.  It was the second highest earning show of the week ending July 13, 2014, grossing a total of $1,936,778, which was 115.21% of its gross potential.  The gravity defying musical was only beaten by one, as expected: The Lion King, which grossed $2,151,409, coming out to 95.72% of its gross potential.  However, interestingly, Wicked was not only one of the biggest winners this past week in terms of overall weekly gross, but it was also the biggest loser: in terms of gross differential from the week before.  In a week when a majority of the shows increased in comparison to last week (which is more a matter of poor sales last week), Wicked went down by the highest amount, losing $51,314 in comparison to the week prior.  The Lion King, on the other hand, increased by $85,240 from the week before.  This goes to show that even the highest earning musicals can vastly fluctuate from week to week.  Although $1,936,778 is no chump change, it is still significantly less than Wicked earned in the previous week.

Plays Picking Up As They Near Closing

The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe has not done exceedingly well at the box office over the course of its run.  In fact, it has announced that it will close in one week on July 20, 2014.  In anticipation of its closing, audiences are taking notice.  This past week, the show grossed $596,630, which was an increase of $129,241 from the previous week.  In fact, it was the show’s second highest grossing week to date.  Time will tell whether sales continue to increase in its final week of performances.  Similarly, Of Mice and Men had sales significantly pick up in anticipation of its closing on July 27, 2014.  Last week, it grossed $862,862, which was an increase of $107,506 from the previous week.  Unlike with The Cripple of Inishmaan, however, this weekly gross is not an extraordinary increase, so it may just be part of its normal cycle of fluctuations.  In the final two weeks, we will be able to analyze whether this is in fact due to anticipation of closing.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 13, 2014:


Show GrossGross TotalAttn  %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $901,681 7,298 100.58% $123.55
ALADDIN $1,517,996 13,783 99.99% $110.14
BEAUTIFUL $1,253,526 8,254 100.56% $151.87
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $626,679 7,920 60.74% $79.13
CABARET $809,887 6,701 93.80% $120.89
CHICAGO $514,101 6,461 74.78% $79.57
CINDERELLA $654,306 9,203 65.70% $71.10
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,072,311 7,213 102.33% $148.66
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME $154,948 4,031 45.35% $38.44
IF/THEN $800,648 8,879 84.66% $90.17
JERSEY BOYS $857,349 8,544 86.97% $100.35
KINKY BOOTS $1,206,479 10,311 90.51% $117.01
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $549,125 4,596 96.27% $119.48
LES MISÉRABLES $982,762 9,972 88.47% $98.55
MAMMA MIA! $698,652 8,297 88.95% $84.21
MATILDA $1,101,510 11,501 100.39% $95.78
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $866,511 9,224 76.51% $93.94
NEWSIES $745,988 9,273 97.82% $80.45
OF MICE AND MEN $862,862 8,488 98.88% $101.66
ONCE $420,569 5,699 67.27% $73.80
PIPPIN $536,051 5,946 75.08% $90.15
ROCK OF AGES $284,152 3,674 78.77% $77.34
ROCKY $626,984 7,693 63.43% $81.50
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,621,274 8,752 102.63% $185.25
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $596,630 7,300 85.04% $81.73
THE LION KING $2,151,409 13,384 98.41% $160.74
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $977,007 11,500 89.56% $84.96
VIOLET $306,668 4,426 75.37% $69.29
WICKED $1,936,778 15,014 97.34% $129.00
Totals: $25,634,839 243,337 85.73% $101.33

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2014 nytix.com

“All The Way” Concludes Its Run, Breaking Box Office Records

Bill Rauch’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival

It all started in a small Shakespeare-themed town called Ashland, Oregon.  Bill Rauch, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is as prolific as he is revolutionary.  Since taking on this position in 2007, Rauch has contributed a great deal to this already extraordinary year-round festival, which takes place in three beautiful theatres with one company of actors performing a dozen shows in repertory.  One of his initiatives was to incorporate more historical themed shows, beyond Shakespeare’s history plays.  And thus began his working relationship with Robert Schenkkan, the playwright who would go on to write the historical drama All The Way, which would go on to take Broadway by storm, directed by Bill Rauch.  It is the story of United States president Lyndon B. Johnson, during the period of Civil Rights unrest in the 1960s, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is also a prominent character.

“All The Way” Begins Its Ascent To Vast Success

Bryan Cranston in all the way on broadwayWhen All The Way transferred from Ashland, Oregon to New York, New York, it got an entirely new cast with one exception: the role of Walter Jenkins, the top aide to Lyndon Johnson, was still played by Oregon Shakespeare Festival company member Christopher Liam Moore, who is also the life partner of Bill Rauch.  Most notably, for the Broadway production, the lead role of Lyndon B. Johnson was given to Bryan Cranston, who has built a lengthy career as a screen actor, and who has recently taken the world by storm in portraying Walter White on the television show Breaking Bad.  With this beloved and relevant actor leading the cast, the excellent play was able to perform excellently at the box office.  In the beginning of its run, the play was grossing a weekly average of $700,000 to $900,000, which is not shabby for a straight play on Broadway.  However, once the Tony Awards nominations were on the horizon, the play broke through the million dollar mark, and the achievements continued from there.

Making Broadway History

All The Way won the Tony Award for Best Play, as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.  Furthermore, Bryan bryan cranston on broadway as Lyndon B Johnson in all the wayCranston won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.  In the week immediately following the Tony Awards, the play’s box office performance soared to a weekly gross of $1,229,459.  The following week, it grossed an outstanding $1,425,001, setting a new all-time sales record for a straight play on Broadway.  But that was not all.  In the week ending June 29, 2014, which was its final week of performances, All The Way grossed a phenomenal $1,623,495, once again breaking that record for the highest grossing straight play of all time on Broadway.  One can only guess how well the show would have continued to do had it stayed open for more weeks, but unfortunately scheduling did not allow that hypothetical scenario to play out.  In that last week, though, it already earned 118.66% of its gross potential, due to its sale of premium tickets.  The average ticket price was a marvelous $141.62, and the top ticket price was $225.00.  Somehow, of the total seats over 8 performances of 11,376, the show sold 11,464.

“The Great Society” – The Sequel To “All The Way”

This was a case where a straight play that began its run as a questionable bet became a slam dunk.  Even with a star actor with equivalent fame to Bryan Cranston, many other plays have performed much less well.  For All The Way, all the stars aligned, and the show went on to make Broadway history.  Now, in this upcoming season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bill Rauch will direct Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to All The Way, which is a play called The Great Society.  Beginning performances July 27, 2014, this sequel spans the years 1965 to 1968, wherein Lyndon Johnson struggles to fight the war on poverty, while also reckoning with the war in Vietnam.  Time will tell whether The Great Society will also transfer to Broadway, and whether Cranston might reprise his role, but with the outstanding success of All The Way, there is a high chance that it will.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/06/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

A Summer of Musicals

In the week ending July 6, 2014, only 4 out of the 30 shows playing on Broadway are considered to be straight plays, and one of those – Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill – is really a play with music.  Based on the box office figures, this seems to be for good reason, as the plays grossed far less than the musicals over the course of the week.  While many plays were on Broadway in the months leading up to the Tony Awards, most of them have closed by this point in the summer.  Though Lady Day has just announced an extension until September 21, 2014, the rest of the plays are not slated to be on for much longer.  The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe, which only brought in $467,389 this past week, will close on July 20, 2014, and Of Mice and Men starring James Franco, which grossed $755,356 last week, will close on July 27, 2014.  The last of these plays, The Realistic Joneses, played its final performance this past week on July 6, 2014, finishing with a modest weekly gross of $420,300, which was only 58.65% of its gross potential.

On the other hand, the grosses for musicals were quite healthy last week.  The frontrunners were, as expected, The Lion King with a gross of $2,066,169, and Wicked with a gross of $1,988,092.  Just behind those two megahits was The Book of Mormon with a gross of $1,578,566, followed by a new lead contender Aladdin with a gross of $1,498,146.  This goes to show that summer on Broadway is truly a season of musicals, as theatergoers tend to be tourists who flock to the musical fare.  Local New Yorkers, on the other hand, tend to get out of the city over the hot summer season, and instead prefer to attend the theatre during the fall and spring, when straight plays do much better at the box office.

“The Realistic Joneses” Was An Underappreciated Play This Season

Playing its last performance at the end of last week, The Realistic Joneses did not go out with much fanfare.  It only grossed $420,300, which was actually a decrease of $7,856 from the week before.  Generally, even for shows that have not done particularly well over the course of their runs, the final week shows an upswing.  However, The Realistic Joneses did not even manage to woo large audiences in their last week of performances.  Not only did this show do fairly poorly at the box office, it was completely snubbed for the Tony Awards, failing to receive a single nomination.  This most likely contributed to the poor box office performance at the end of the run.  Since it began performances on March 13, 2014, the highest weekly gross was $619,507.  Despite these unimpressive financials, the show received very positive reviews, was selected as a New York Times critics pick, and is considered by many theatre aficionados to have broken new ground in terms of structure and content for a play on Broadway.  This is further evidence that quality does not necessitate financial success in the world of theatre.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 6, 2014:



Show GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $886,839 7,295 100.54% $121.57
ALADDIN $1,498,146 13,785 100.01% $108.68
BEAUTIFUL $1,180,965 8,256 100.58% $143.04
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $492,009 6,682 51.24% $73.63
CABARET $684,807 6,311 88.34% $108.51
CHICAGO $526,548 6,502 75.25% $80.98
CINDERELLA $658,070 9,307 66.44% $70.71
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,023,210 7,214 102.34% $141.84
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME $144,773 4,726 53.17% $30.63
IF/THEN $801,037 8,921 85.06% $89.79
JERSEY BOYS $822,944 8,787 89.44% $93.65
KINKY BOOTS $1,237,182 10,788 94.70% $114.68
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $471,917 4,296 89.99% $109.85
LES MISÉRABLES $988,962 10,383 92.11% $95.25
MAMMA MIA! $644,803 8,209 88.00% $78.55
MATILDA $1,089,356 11,446 99.91% $95.17
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $833,702 9,092 75.41% $91.70
NEWSIES $699,637 8,711 91.89% $80.32
OF MICE AND MEN $755,356 8,117 94.56% $93.06
ONCE $428,194 7,404 87.39% $57.83
PIPPIN $550,166 6,569 82.94% $83.75
ROCK OF AGES $303,796 4,049 86.81% $75.03
ROCKY $625,635 9,015 74.33% $69.40
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,578,566 8,752 102.63% $180.37
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $467,389 5,815 67.74% $80.38
THE LION KING $2,066,169 13,601 100.01% $151.91
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,001,126 11,666 90.86% $85.82
THE REALISTIC JONESES $420,300 5,792 83.03% $72.57
VIOLET $247,921 3,971 77.29% $62.43
WICKED $1,988,092 15,387 99.76% $129.21
Totals: $25,117,615 250,849 86.39% $95.68

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2014 nytix.com