“On the Twentieth Century” Begins Previews

A Roundabout Production at the American Airlines Theatre

on the twentieth centuryOn February 13, 2015, On the Twentieth Century begins previews at the American Airlines Theatre. Produced by the non-for-profit Broadway and Off-Broadway powerhouse Roundabout Theatre Company, this revival marks the third Broadway production of the musical. With book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Cy Coleman, it first premiered in 1978, directed by Harold Prince. The 2015 revival is directed by Scott Ellis, who has recently helmed such works as The Elephant Man, You Can’t Take It With You, Harvey, Curtains, and The Little Dog Laughed. He is also the Roundabout Adams Associate Artistic Director, and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. Opening night is scheduled for March 12, 2015, and it is scheduled to be a limited engagement that closes on July 5, 2015. If it is successful, it may extend through the end of summer.

Cast and Creative Team

The musical stars Kristin Chenoweth, who is well known for being the original Glinda in Wicked (Tony kristin chenowethnomination), has won a Tony Award for her performance of Sally Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and who has also branched into television with such shows as The West Wing and Pushing Daisies. Alongside Chenoweth will be Peter Gallagher (The Country Girl, Noises Off, “the O.C.”, “American Beauty”), Andy Karl (Rocky Balboa in Rocky the Musical), Mark Linn-Baker (Relatively Speaking, Losing Louie), Michael McGrath (Tony Award winner for Nice Work if You Can Get It), and Mary Louise Wilson (The Women, Cabaret, The Importance of Being Earnest). The choreographer is Warren Carlyle, who won a Tony Award for his choreography for After Midnight, which he also directed). Scenic design is by David Rockwell, lighting is by Donald Holder, sound design is by Jon Weston, and costume design is by William Ivey Long. The musical director is Kevin Stites, and orchestrations are by Larry Hochman, with dance arrangements and incidental music by David Krane.

The Twentieth Century: A Luxury Train

The musical’s title refers to being aboard a luxury train called the Twentieth Century, which is traveling from Chicago to New York. The business aboard the train is, not coincidentally, the theatre business. A temperamental actress named Lily Garland (Kristin Chenoweth) is at odds with her flailing producer named Oscar Jaffee (Peter Gallagher). He is at once trying to woo her romantically, and at the same time to play the lead part in his upcoming show, which has not yet been written. The musical is a screwball comedy, with elements of farce as well as operetta. The musical is based on a straight play of the same name from 1932, written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, which was turned into a film in 1934 called Twentieth Century directed by Howard Hawks. To complicate the matter, Hecht and MacArthur based their play on an unproduced work by Charles Bruce Millholland called Napoleon of Broadway, which is based on his real life experiences with the legendary producer David Belasco, who left his name to the theatre on 44th Street, where Hedwig and the Angry Inch is now playing.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/8/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Fish in the Dark” Strong Out of the Gates

On February 2, 2015, Larry David’s Fish in the Dark began previews at the Cort Theatre. In its first week of seven performances, it fared brilliantly at the box office. As previously reported, this play broke advance box office records due to the notoriety of its writer and star, Larry David, who rose to fame principally through the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm as well as through co-creating Seinfeld. In the week ending February 8, 2015, the show brought in a weekly gross of $993,940, which is especially not bad given that was with only seven performances. It made 113.39% of its gross potential, with an average paid admission of $130.95 and a top ticket price of $423.00. Miraculously, it had the fifth highest gross this week on Broadway, following only the mega hit musicals The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, and Aladdin. Once again, that was with one fewer performance that week than the other shows.

“If/Then” Struggling Following Week-Long Hiatus

Idina Menzel, the star of the presently running musical If/Then, took a weeklong hiatus from performing in that show in order to travel to Phoenix, Arizona to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015. Without her, the producers felt it best to cancel performances for that entire week, rather than bring in an understudy. Menzel’s fame is clearly soaring, due in large part to her recent success playing the lead part and singing the hit song “Let It Go” from the Disney animated film Frozen, as well as John Travolta’s heavily referenced flub of her name, calling her Adele Dazeem. It is for this reason she was asked to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. However, If/Then isn’t doing quite as well. It’s clear that without Menzel at center stage, this musical would be faring even less well. Still, in the first week back after this week-long hiatus, the musical brought in $563,156, which was only 43.65% of its gross potential. With an average paid ticket price of $76.71, the show is clearly doing a lot of discounting. Still, it only managed to reach an average capacity of 70.0%.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 8, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-2-8-15

 

Show Name GrossGross Total Attn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $456,872 4,427 69.00% $103.20
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $584,938 5,838 80.46% $100.19
ALADDIN $1,203,871 13,090 94.97% $91.97
BEAUTIFUL $966,461 7,330 89.30% $131.85
CABARET $932,882 7,016 98.21% $132.96
CHICAGO $447,331 5,903 68.32% $75.78
CONSTELLATIONS $530,585 5,132 98.69% $103.39
DISGRACED $333,741 4,633 63.09% $72.04
FISH IN THE DARK $993,940 7,590 101.05% $130.95
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $473,945 4,507 74.59% $105.16
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $359,163 4,849 51.63% $74.07
IF/THEN $563,156 7,341 69.99% $76.71
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $474,936 5,633 65.38% $84.31
JERSEY BOYS $616,604 6,870 69.93% $89.75
KINKY BOOTS $819,594 8,385 73.60% $97.75
LES MISÉRABLES $511,848 6,773 60.09% $75.57
MAMMA MIA! $362,236 5,157 55.29% $70.24
MATILDA $692,151 9,328 81.42% $74.20
ON THE TOWN $379,914 5,420 36.15% $70.09
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,455,237 8,715 102.19% $166.98
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $738,815 7,130 87.55% $103.62
THE ELEPHANT MAN $721,450 4,651 100.15% $155.12
THE LION KING $1,463,314 13,180 96.91% $111.03
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $583,683 7,818 60.89% $74.66
THE RIVER $503,377 5,703 102.42% $88.27
WICKED $1,262,017 12,266 84.76% $102.89
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $334,244 4,507 52.50% $74.16
Totals $18,766,304 189,192 77.35% $97.66

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

“It’s Only a Play” Extends Until June

Excellent Sales and a Chance to Earn More

it's only a playJack O’Brien’s production of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play, which had previously been expected to conclude its run on March 29, 2015, has now announced that tickets are on sale until June 7, 2015. The starry cast has drawn excellent box office response since the play begin previews on August 28, 2014, and has continued to perform marvelously since the opening night of October 9, 2014. The high-profile cast members include Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, who are reunited following their history-making run in Mel Brooks’ musical The Producers. The stars don’t stop there, as Lane and Broderick are joined by Stockard Channing (Grease, Other Desert Cities), Rupert Grint (Ron from the Harry Potter movie franchise), F. Murray Abraham ( , and Megan Mullaly, along with newcomer Micah Stock. Rupert Grint, Nathan Lane, and Megan Mullaly played their last performance on January 4, 2015. However, when Matthew Broderick announced that he would extend until at least March to star alongside Martin Short, the show got another breath of life.

Box Office Declined after Nathan Lane’s Departureit's only a play

It’s Only a Play was a miraculous box office performer this season, earning more than 100% of its gross potential every single week since it began previews – that is, until the second week in January 2015. As soon as Nathan Lane, Rupert Grint, and Megan Mullaly stepped out of the show, ticket sales declined enormously. The show’s weekly gross record was earned in the week ending January 4, 2015, which was the exact day that those three actors left the show. It is likely that Nathan Lane was the biggest ticket seller, with Rupert Grint also attracting a different demographic to the audience. With the loss of those two huge names, it became apparent that Matthew Broderick alone was not a big enough name to sustain the hyperbolically high ticket sales. In the week immediately following, the week ending January 11, 2015, the weekly gross went down by $764,914, resulting in a gross of $690,904, which represented only 60.79% of the gross potential. Furthermore, the average paid ticket went down from $171.68 in the week ending January 4, 2015, to $88.95 in the week ending January 11, 2015. In the four weeks since, the show has still been struggling. Most recently, in the week ending February 1, 2015, the show only brought in $513,389, which is only 44.21% of its gross potential.

Optimism about the Spring Season

The decision to extend the show until June demonstrates that the producers felt optimistic that ticket sales would pick up along with the temperature. The months of January and February are traditionally very slow on Broadway, and March brings the opening of many new shows in the spring season. Therefore, it is a risky choice to extend a show from the fall season into the spring, as it will need to compete with all of the new fare. However, the producers must have felt confident that they had a hit show, and that even without Nathan Lane and the other early deserters, that they would attract enough interest with the second-tier cast and very hyped production. It definitely helps that Matthew Broderick has extended until March 29, 2015, although he will be out from March 4 to 21, 2015. It is not yet clear whether Broderick will remain with the show through the final three spring months, or whether Martin Short and the other cast members will stay.

“The River” Concludes Its Run

An Unqualified Success Both Critically and Commercially

hugh jackmanOn February 8, 2015, The River concludes its run at the Circle in the Square Theatre on Broadway. It has been running since its first preview on October 31, 2014, with its official opening night taking place on November 16, 2014. The small-scale play starred Hugh Jackman along with Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo, the latter two who are British actresses making their Broadway debuts. Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, is a huge Broadway name, as well as a magnificent actor commended for his work on both stage and screen, musical and dramatic. It is no question that Jackman’s stature contributed to the vast success of this show at the box office, but the unmatchable quality of the production precedes him. The play is written by Jez Butterworth, an English writer whose previous Broadway production, Jerusalem, starred Mark Rylance and received rave reviews in both London and New York. Like Jerusalem, The River is also directed by Ian Rickson, and also produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, both of whom have a secure reputation for producing only works of the finest quality.

A Profitable Production, Plus a T-Shirt Auction for Charityhugh jackman laura donnelly

After just seven weeks of performances, The River recouped its $3.2 million capitalization and entered profitmaking territory. This is especially impressive given the intimate size of the Circle in the Square Theatre, which seats just 776 audience members, by far smaller than most all other houses on Broadway. With just three actors and one set staged “in the thrust,” the show still had a moderately high budget for a play, presumably due to the star salary required by Jackman’s representation. However, this was no challenge for this dramatically compelling and intellectually provocative work of art, as it attracted as much money as it did praise. In addition, the creative team decided to incorporate an innovative strategy into their efforts to raise money for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. Whereas most shows in this season raise money merely with a post-show speech and some plastic buckets held by supporting cast members, Jackman took center stage once again following his bow to conduct a crowd-pleasing auction. The item for sale was none other than the t-shirt he wore each night. The winner also earned the chance to go backstage with him briefly to receive it. Of the $5.2 million record-breaking amount that this organization earned from the totality of Broadway shows, The River contributed a miraculous $550,000. In one high profile example, Taylor Swift attended the show with her family on Christmas Eve, and purchased his t-shirt for $6,000. Jackman matched that amount himself, and another audience member bought his belt for $2,000.

Proof that Quality-Driven Productions Can Thrive on Broadway

It is to the credit of the marvelous Sonia Friedman Productions that plays like The River can even come to Broadway in the first place, not to mention earn vast profits and critical praise. This is an example of expert producing, which is an underappreciated artform perfectly illustrated in this case. Sonia is an advocate of the artist, and that is why Jez Butterworth’s play and works directed by Ian Rickson time and again are produced by her company. It is not only a matter of seducing the perfect star, in this case Hugh Jackman, but it is also demonstrating a true appreciation for good art that allows these artistic relationships to thrive. It is certainly not an easy balance to strike, but The River has proved that this recipe does exist; it just takes experience, dedication, and excellent taste.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/1/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

The Winter Continues to Take Its Toll

In the week ending February 1, 2015, New York was cold and the Broadway wraps show this clearly. Of all the shows running on Broadway, only two experienced a slight upturn in ticket sales, and both only by small amounts. The biggest increase was seen by It’s Only a Play, making up for a large dip it took last week, increasing its weekly gross by $51,381 for a weekly box office of $513,389. This only represents 44.21% of that show’s gross potential, whereas it was playing in the millionaire’s club only a month ago. In addition, a new addition to the Broadway slate Constellations saw an even smaller upturn of $8,907, which brought it to a weekly gross of $508,352. This Jake Gyllenhaal starrer only made 64.99% of its gross potential this past week, which is around the median range that the show has been achieving since it began previews 5 weeks ago. Other than these two shows, every single play and musical experienced a decrease in sales from the week before. The Lion King saw the biggest decrease of $303,224, followed by Aladdin with a decrease of $228,422, and then Wicked with a decrease of $209,690. The highest earning shows may be able to afford to take the biggest toll, but that still does not represent a healthy week on Broadway.

“The Elephant Man” and “The Book of Mormon” Lead the Way

This past week, only two shows made more than 100% of their gross potential, which is the marker these days for a successful week due to the overabundance of premium tickets sold on Broadway. The greatest percentage of gross potential was achieved by The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper, which brought in 104.28% of its gross potential with a weekly gross of $976,936. Still it saw a slight decrease of $58,883 from the week before. This revival of a classic play has announced that it will take its success with it to London, where Cooper will continue with the transfer production. The other show that earned more than 100% of its gross potential was The Book of Mormon, which is still an unbeatable earner on Broadway. This past week, it brought in $1,423,750, which represents 102.36% of its gross potential. It was also the highest earning show of the whole week, beating out even The Lion King and Wicked, both of which have much larger audience capacities.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 1, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-2-1-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $462,985 4,289 66.85% $107.95
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $610,647 6,228 85.83% $98.05
ALADDIN $1,119,398 11,343 94.05% $98.69
BEAUTIFUL $964,098 7,222 87.99% $133.49
CABARET $896,478 6,756 94.57% $132.69
CHICAGO $365,600 4,948 65.45% $73.89
CONSTELLATIONS $508,352 5,060 97.31% $100.46
DISGRACED $348,413 4,911 66.87% $70.95
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $604,410 5,704 80.92% $105.96
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $369,342 5,088 54.17% $72.59
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $513,389 5,681 65.94% $90.37
JERSEY BOYS $624,100 6,953 70.78% $89.76
KINKY BOOTS $839,718 8,762 76.91% $95.84
LES MISÉRABLES $565,551 7,730 68.58% $73.16
MAMMA MIA! $357,539 5,297 64.90% $67.50
MATILDA $682,942 9,085 79.30% $75.17
ON THE TOWN $491,489 7,272 48.51% $67.59
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,423,750 8,676 101.74% $164.10
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $756,733 7,396 90.82% $102.32
THE ELEPHANT MAN $976,936 5,913 95.49% $165.22
THE LION KING $1,337,983 11,847 99.55% $112.94
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $555,046 7,607 67.71% $72.97
THE RIVER $484,695 5,575 100.13% $86.94
WICKED $1,291,035 12,829 88.65% $100.63
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $354,139 4,986 58.08% $71.03
Totals $17,504,766 177,158 78.84% $97.21

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

“The Heart of Robin Hood” Delays Broadway Run

heart of robin hoodProducers Extend Toronto Run for Four Weeks

The Heart of Robin Hood is a new play by David Farr, directed by Gisli Örn Gardarsson, and featuring music by the bluegrass roots band Parsonsfield, based in Connecticut. It was scheduled to begin previews on Broadway on March 11, 2015, but producers recently announced that the show would not play as planned. The reasoning is principally due to low ticket sales. The group sales box office reported slower interest than anticipated, and meanwhile the Toronto run was selling very well. Therefore, the producers opted to extend the run at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre for four weeks until March 29, 2015. Another reason that this decision may have been made is that the producers had only arranged for a limited run of 5 weeks at the Marquis Theatre, due to theatre availability. However, it would be significantly more preferable to have a theatre that allowed for the potential of an open-ended run, as this show could be a long running hit if it found the right traction. Therefore, the next time the show finds a theatre, it may be able to arrange for a longer availability. It is not clear if the producers needed to pay a fee for the last-minute cancellation, but Broadway theatres are always in high demand, so chances are it will be snatched up quickly.

Not a Musical, Not a Spectacle, Not a Spoofheart of robin hood

Though Toronto audiences are finding The Heart of Robin Hood to be a very appealing show, a prominent Toronto critic expressed ambivalence about whether the show would fare well on Broadway. Though its themes, classic story, and fun staging are all certainly appealing for children and adults alike, it is not a musical, which could make it a less interesting choice with all of the musical options on Broadway at the moment. Furthermore, it is not purely a spectacle such as Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, so it will not be able to ride exclusively on that. Nevertheless, it does contain a fair amount of acrobatics, comedy, aerial choreography, swashbuckling, and dramatic tension. Still, it is not a spoof either, as the show is a fairly serious rendition of the classic Robin Hood tale, although with a unique take. Therefore, it may be tricky for the play to find its audience enough to sustain it through the difficult opening weeks. The play stars Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert (Matilda the Musical) as the title character Robin Hood, as well as Tony Award nominee Euan Morton (Taboo) as his nemesis Prince John, in addition to Izzie Steele as his love interest Marion, and Christian Lloyd as the character Pierre.

Indefinitely Postponed

It is not clear when the show will come to Broadway. The Toronto run is extended for another four weeks, and it could potentially extend further. There is always a lot of demand for theatres on Broadway, and it will be a matter of reconciling schedules – with the landlords, cast members, and other key team members – in order to find the perfect slot to bring this show to Broadway. The play succeeded earlier this year in Winnipeg, and played to rave reviews in Ashland, Oregon at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Time will tell whether the more cutthroat environment of Broadway will welcome this unique play when it finally does come to town. However, the press agent Boneau Bryan Brown removed the show from their website, indicating it will not be coming any time particularly soon. Coincidentally, the account representative from BBB, Christine Olver, left the organization at around the same time as the show announced its delay, relinquishing her shows including The Heart of Robin HoodThe Book of MormonThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeThe Elephant Man, and Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS to other BBB staff members. Therefore, it will be up to another press contact to liaise with reviewers and press personnel when The Heart of Robin Hood does eventually come back to Broadway.

Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” Breaks Advance Records

fish in the darkThe “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Star Conquers Broadway

Larry David, best known for creating and starring in the television show Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as for co-creating and lead writing the series Seinfeld, is coming to Broadway as both lead actor and writer. Fish in the Dark, billed as a dark comedy that involves the death of the patriarch of the family, has released little other information about the show. However, the pedigree of Larry David’s name alone has allowed the show to break advance box office records. Additional cast includes Rita Wilson, Rosie Perez, and Jayne Houdyshell. The show is directed by Anna D. Shapiro (Motherf**ker with the Hat) and produced by Scott Rudin. Previews begin this upcoming Monday, February 2, 2015, and the play is already selling out. Opening night is scheduled for March 5, 2015, and the run is intended to be a limited engagement of 18 weeks.

A Record Breaking $13.5 Million Advancelarry david

It has taken in a remarkable $13.5 million, which breaks the advance box office records for a straight play. The previous record for a straight play’s advance was $13.05 million, earned by Betrayal starring Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz. That play was produced by Scott Rudin, who is also the producer of Fish in the Dark. The budget for this play has not been reported, but it is surely in the low millions, probably not over $3 million. It is therefore a surefire hit before it even begins. Other plays this season are also doing well, but not quite as well as Fish in the Dark. It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick was performing alongside top musicals this whole season, but its opening advance was only $10 million. The Bradley Cooper led revival of The Elephant Man also performed very well at the box office, as did Hugh Jackman in The River, but neither could compete with Fish in the Dark in terms of advance sales. Other starry plays opening this spring include Helen Mirren in The Audience, as well as Bill Nighy in Skylight by David Hare.

Larry David, the Broadway Newbie

Larry David is a novice in the theatre. He told the press that he has not been in a play since the eighth grade. In a memorable episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, David plans to star in The Producers alongside fellow performers David Schwimmer and Cady Huffman. Though the audience is wowed, Mel Brooks is not impressed, and he ends up failing to make the cut. Of course the entire scenario was played for comedic effect, but he certainly demonstrated that he was not intending to pursue a career in musical theatre. Nevertheless, theatre itself is not outside his domain, as he is making quite a debut on Broadway this week. The critical response will become clear in March after the opening night, but there is no going back now; audiences are already committed to loving this show.

“The Curious Incident” Recoups on Broadway

A Financial Coup for a Straight Play

curious incidentThis week, it was announced that the Broadway production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has recouped its capitalization. The budget was reported to be $4.75 million, which is high for a straight play, though low compared to most musicals. This is therefore an extraordinary achievement, not only because it is a financial success with a high capitalization for its genre, but also because it is difficult and statistically unlikely for straight plays to recoup on Broadway in general. Whereas audiences generally flock to uplifting musicals with glitzy spectacle and catchy scores, it is more difficult for a play to gain traction and for positive word of mouth to spread enough for ticket sales to reach the level of profits. It is even more unusual for this to happen when there are no Hollywood stars leading the cast. The star of The Curious Incident is Alex Sharp, a recent Juilliard graduate who plays a 15 year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome (although this diagnosis is never specifically mentioned in the play).

A Transatlantic Success Storyalex sharp

However, this play does have one thing going for it that can be considered a predictable factor: that is transferred from London. It is more likely due to the fact that London breeds theatre of such immense quality due to a strong theatrical tradition, than that ticket buyers have a bias towards British content, that this is a trend. However, time and again, if a show transfers from London and gets good reviews, people take notice more than they might have with a homegrown production. For instance, One Man, Two Guv’nors was a critical and commercial hit that made its lead actor a talk show star in America. Like One Man, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time also transferred from the National Theatre via the West End. This play is based on a novel of the same name by Mark Haddon, which may have also contributed to its recognition, but most importantly the show has built up strong word of mouth due solely to excellent reviews from critics and audience members alike.

An Open Ended Run

Whereas most straight plays will announce limited engagements of 12, 16, or 20 weeks, and then perhaps announce an extension if the play is doing well, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has not yet said when it will close. The open-ended run began with the first preview on September 10, 2014, and its official opening night was on October 5, 2014. It has since run for over 130 performances in addition to the 23 preview performances, and it may not be stopping anytime soon. Whereas only a quarter of shows ever enter profits, this play managed to do so after only 4 and a half months. This quirky play is said to be spectacular in design, brilliantly clever in construction, and flawless in execution, which overcomes its less than commercial subject matter and cast. The play is written by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott, who won the Tony Award for her direction of War Horse, another excellent example of a British transfer that won over America while still proving a great success at home.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 1/25/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

An Overall Slow Week

In the week ending January 25, 2015, only three shows demonstrated an increase in ticket sales from the week before. Those were The Elephant Man, Constellations, and The Last Ship. The Elephant Man went up by $357,369, which is an inflated figure due to the fact that the production played only five performances last week. In terms of percentage reached of potential gross, the performance actually went down from 111.75% to 110.23%, which is of course still extraordinary. The weekly gross for Constellations went up by $67,046, which is attributable to the recent opening and the ripple effect of positive word of mouth. Finally, The Last Ship went up as well, but only by $5,171, which may be due to the fact that Sting has entered the cast. Otherwise, the entire Broadway industry performed quite poorly this past week, with the remaining 24 shows decreasing in their weekly grosses.

A Dip For the Heavy Hitters

The biggest decrease was seen by It’s Only a Play, which went down from $693,963 last week to $462,008 this week. However, that is also a misleading figure as the play only had five performances this week. The next biggest decrease was seen by Wicked, often in the top two grossing shows each week. In the week ending January 25, 2015, however, Wicked brought in $1,500,725, which was a decrease of $183,939 from the week before. Still, it came in third in terms of weekly gross, behind only The Lion King and The Book of Mormon. Matilda also went down by $182,198, bringing in $805,176 which is only 63.16% of its gross potential. Aladdin, though still a top earner at $1,347,820, went down by $139,296 from the week before. Still, that brought it to earning 110.48% of its gross potential. Les Miserables also went down by $115,379, bringing it to a weekly gross of $609,270. Finally, the last show to exhibit a six figure decrease in weekly gross from the week before was The River, which went down by $106,452, bringing it to a weekly gross of $616,535.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending January 25, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-1-25-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $562,850 4,941 77.01% $113.91
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $667,767 6,547 90.23% $102.00
ALADDIN $1,347,820 13,747 99.73% $98.04
BEAUTIFUL $1,047,501 7,637 93.04% $137.16
CABARET $911,305 7,004 98.04% $130.11
CHICAGO $427,273 5,787 66.98% $73.83
CONSTELLATIONS $499,445 5,155 99.13% $96.89
DISGRACED $360,932 4,928 67.10% $73.24
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $609,617 5,268 87.19% $115.72
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $425,029 6,699 71.33% $63.45
IF/THEN $635,189 7,992 76.20% $79.48
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $462,008 4,722 87.69% $97.84
JERSEY BOYS $710,588 7,798 79.38% $91.12
KINKY BOOTS $1,001,877 9,890 86.82% $101.30
LES MISÉRABLES $609,270 8,391 74.44% $72.61
MAMMA MIA! $463,090 6,563 70.36% $70.56
MATILDA $805,176 10,110 88.25% $79.64
ON THE TOWN $624,882 9,035 60.27% $69.16
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,575,262 8,750 102.60% $180.03
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $820,145 7,890 96.88% $103.95
THE ELEPHANT MAN $1,035,819 6,304 101.81% $164.31
THE LAST SHIP $843,445 9,459 87.65% $89.17
THE LION KING $1,641,207 13,056 96.00% $125.71
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $689,571 9,235 71.92% $74.67
THE RIVER $616,535 5,531 99.34% $111.47
WICKED $1,500,725 14,236 98.37% $105.42
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $441,995 5,613 65.39% $78.74
Totals: $21,336,320 212,288 84.93% $99.98

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

“Honeymoon in Vegas” Opens on Broadway

Based Off the 1992 Film of the Same Name

Honeymoon in vegasOn January 15, 2015, Honeymoon in Vegas had its opening night at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre. It had been running in previews since November 18, 2014, which is an unusually long preview period of 66 performances. This fact would normally imply a lack of confidence about the quality of the material, allowing the creative team and cast an extra month to develop the show in front of live audiences prior to the critical reviews hitting the presses. However, the reviews are in, and they are largely positive. Most notably, Ben Brantley of The New York Times, who is known as the toughest and most important critic of the most important paper in this one-paper town, loved the show. This musical is based off the 1992 film of the same name, which wasn’t exactly a hit nor was it exactly a cult success. In any case, someone sometime ago decided it would make a good musical, and they got top theatrical composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years, The Bridges of Madison County) to sign on to the job. With a book by Andrew Bergman (who wrote and directed the film), the musical starred Tony Danza (who received raves for his leading performance), as well as Rob McClure (Chaplin) opposite Brynn O’Malley (Annie).

The Reviews Are In, and Critics are Impressedrob mcclure tony danza

When the musical played its pre-Broadway tryout run at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey in the fall of 2013, New York critics gave it positive reviews which encouraged the producers to make the leap over the Hudson river to the cut-throat Broadway turf. Fortunately, the most important critic – Ben Brantley of The New York Times – stood behind his praise. When the same critic voices in on a pre-Broadway run and then the Broadway run, it can go either way, but usually they are tempted to stick to their guns, and in this case that benefitted Honeymoon in Vegas wildly. Other critics followed suit – both David Cote from Time Out New York and Robert Kahn from NBC New York loved the show as well. Cote harked to the unbeatable position of Jason Robert Brown in Broadway composing royalty, and was equally a fan of the concept of seedy Las Vegas being represented with so much glitz on Broadway. Kahn was a huge fan of Tony Danza’s performance as the tough talking gangster Tommy Korman, and calls Brown’s score jackpot-winning. However, other reviewers were less laudatory. Marilyn Stasio from Variety was on the fence, enjoying the catchy songs and witty lyrics along with the savvy visuals, but ultimately could not get over the mindlessness of it. Similarly, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter felt that the show was ultimately slight, though he granted that the musical was better than he was expecting.

Will the Box Office Turn Around?

tony danzaIt’s difficult to say whether the financial figures will respond to these positive reviews, especially as the show has already been running for two months with lackluster box office performance. In the last reported week – the week ending January 18, 2015, the show saw a slight upturn but still only brought in a weekly gross of $440,476, which represents only 43.11% of the gross potential. With an average paid ticket of $57.51, the producers are clearly heavily discounting, which may have already damaged the brand value of the show such that it cannot recover, even with such positive reviews. However, there is hope with this renewed burst of lifeblood for the show, and optimism is riding high that it might stick around for a while on Broadway, adding a burst of hot Las Vegas silliness to the cold New York winter.