The Triple Crown At The TONY Awards®

The term “Triple Crown” is often used to describe the winning of three significant top honors in a given competition – for example, horse racing, motor racing, wrestling, and many other sports use this term to denote a particular string of accomplishments.  In the world of entertainment, this term is most commonly employed when referring to the “Triple Crown of Acting.”  This is a variant of the EGOT (one who has earned at least one each of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards), ascribed to those individuals who have won a singular (non-group/ensemble) Acting award in each of the Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Awards.

Over the course of history, only sevetriple crownnteen individuals have earned this prestigious title.  Those are: Jack Albertson, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Ellen Burstyn, Melvyn Douglas, Jeremy Irons, Thomas Mitchell, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Scofield, Maggie Smith, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy.  In 1953, Thomas Mitchell became the first of these honorees, and in 2012, Christopher Plummer became the most recent to join their ranks.  Plummer also has the honor of being the oldest to do so, at age 82 with his Oscar win for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Beginners.

A theatre-specific, and also quite timely, version of the term “Triple Crown” is also sometimes utilized: that is, the “Tony Triple Crown.”  Referring to those musicals that win the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book, this Triple Crown truly shows far and wide appreciation from the Tony voters.  The most recent musical to earn this honor was, surprise surprise, The Book of Mormon, which earned all three honors in 2011.  Other titles to achieve this include Memphis (2010), Spring Awakening (2007), Avenue Q (2004), Hairspray (2003),and The Producers (2001).

Many musicals come close but not all the way.  In 2012, Once won the Award for Best Musical and Best Book, but not Best Score.  The same happened with Billy Elliot in 2009.  Last year, in 2013, Kinky Boots won for Best Musical and Best Score (with Cyndi Lauper becoming the first woman ever to win this award), but it did not win for Best Book.  The same occurred with In the Heights in 2008.  In 2002, Thoroughly Modern Millie won for Best Musical, but it earned neither award for Score or Book, though it did win for Best Actress for Sutton Foster, as well as Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.

This year, the four nominees for Best Musical are After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and A Gentleman’s Guide a gentleman's guide to love and murder a new musical comedyto Love and Murder.  Of these, only A Gentleman’s Guide and Aladdin have the potential to earn the title of Triple Crown.  After Midnight was not nominated for Best Score or Best Book, which makes one wonder what the Tony committee was thinking in nominating it for Best Musical.  Beautiful was nominated for Best Musical and Best Book, but not Best Score, but it was not eligible as the score was created prior to the conception of the show.  As A Gentleman’s Guide is leading the pack with ten nominations overall, it appears to be the best contender, if any, for this prestigious honor in 2014.

Shubert Launches New Website TelechargeOffers

Telecharge Replaces The Website BroadwayOffers.com With TelechargeOffers.com

telecharge offers grayThe Shubert Organization, which owns the online ticketing site Telecharge.com monopoly, as well as a number of theatres on Broadway, has officially launched a new website: TelechargeOffers.com.  This new web site allows customers to process discount ticket offers through Telecharge Offers for Broadway shows when they are in possession of a discount code.  In the past, discount codes were processed on the old Telecharge offers website Broadwayoffers.com, which has been around for over ten years.  Presently, the homepage of the new site states that they are still working on adding offers to the site, and that some of the Broadway shows have partial information.  In the case that the site is not functioning for a particular offer, they suggest that the customer instead visit the original site, BroadwayOffers.com, while the transition in underway.

In Theory, A Higher Functionality For Buying Discount Broadway Tickets

This development is the brainchild of Charles Flateman, the VP of Marketing for Shubert Ticketing, who formerly worked for Gray Line New York Sightseeing Tours and is also a co-founder of Broadway Inbound.  One new benefit that Telechargeoffers.com brings is that it allows customers in possession of discount codes to see a seating availability map and choose their seats, rather than be forced to take the seats that the Telecharge system would provide to them automatically using the old system.  This graphical seat map functionality has already been used for regular priced tickets on Telecharge.com, but it is now available to customers buying discounted tickets as well. Also, the new website allows the client to set multiple dates in their ticket search. For example the ticket buyer can say “find me tickets on October 1 or October 15) which is a very powerful feature, especially given the tight schedules of locals and visitors alike.

Despite Positive Inroads, The New Site TelechargeOffers.com Fraught With Problems

It appears that although some of the new features and benefits of the new site are very promising, the system has been poorly designed and lacks the robust architecture that a successful IT project requires. Some of the issues seen are:

  • TelechargeOffers.com uses a complicated CAPTCHA system

    In an attempt to thwart ticket brokers and robots that try to game the system and buy large amounts of Broadway tickets. the new site uses a complicated CAPTCHA system.  This process can be very annoying to legitimate customers.  The Shubert’s have not yet graduated to the newer technologies that are less bothersome to legitimate customers and more reliably keep out scammers, ticket brokers and robots.

  • the Shubert’s insist on using microsoft Silverlight.

    The Shuberts, are well known for being an anti-Google and anti-Adobe house, still insist on using Microsoft’s Silverlight to render the graphical seat map instead or tried-and-trusted web methods using Adobe Flash, or better still, HTML 5. Microsoft Silverlight is not a mainstream product and is not installed on 99% of the world’s computers. The ticket buyer has to install a special add-in program just to be able to see the graphical ticket and seat map. Comparatively, Adobe’s Flash is installed on 70% of computers, both domestically and internationally.

  • Apple’s iPad and iPhone and Mac’s cannot use the graphical map at all

    Negating all value of the new website for those kind of mobile users, Microsoft’s Silverlight product is a dismal failure on all Apple products. In many cases it is explicitly banned from such platforms due to its poor security and cannot even be installed. This means that the most common tablet on the market, the Apple iPad, cannot use this new website for the very functionality that it was created for. Although basic functionality is achieved, this is not an improvement over what they had before with broadwayoffers.com.

  • The only computers that can use the full functionality of the new website are old-style PC’s.

    All Google devices and Apple devices are left in the cold..  Though newer devices can still use the new website, it provides poor functionality without a working graphical seat map.

  • Non-PC users cannot select multiple show dates

    For non-PC users, it is actually better to use the old website, BroadwayOffers.com as non-pc users of the new site cannot select multiple dates when selecting their choices for tickets, Unfortunately, The Shubert’s are expected to take the old site down shortly, leaving ticket buyers high and dry.This will clearly have a negative affect on ticket buyers, something that many industry professionals have indicated that may be Shuberts hidden agenda.

  • MORE PAGES – Multiple tabs replace a single page

    Rather than reduce the number pages a client has to work through to buy a ticket, the Shubert’s have increased the ticket buying process by adding three additional web pages to the process, further complicating the ticket purchase process for a customer, bringing the total number of pages that the client must navigate to ten. This is at odds with web best-practices of a maximum of three pages.

  • The new system faces other problems with Speed and Reliability

    Even when used on approved PC’s with the Silverlight application installed, the system is slow, prone to error on the CAPTCHA prompt, and has crashed many times during our transaction tests.

Shubert Detractors Pile On

Detractors insist that Shubert’s failure to provide a good quality website to process ticket sales is another prime example of the poor quality of service and lack of transparency that a monopoly provides when they are the only game in town. There are many calls for the control that Telecharge (owned by the Shuberts) and Ticketmaster (owned by Live Nation Entertainment) have over Broadway theatre to be broken up and passed out to competitive bidding and free market enterprise, where it is anticipated that quality, accountability and transparency would be increased exponentially. This industry has long been dominated by the Shuberts (for over one hundred years) and they are accused of damaging the industry by stifling innovation,  slow development and introduction of new technologies and continuing to operate a monopoly with all its negative traits. The recent addition of the new website TelechargeOffers.com is a very good case in point. Incidentally, the graphical seat map technologies that Ticketmaster have introduced for the Broadway theatres it controls are far superior to Shuberts dire attempt, even though the Shubert organization is supposed to know this industry far better than anyone else.

Shubert Refuses Comment

Charles Flateman, the VP of Marketing for Shubert Ticketing, declined to comment for this story citing Shubert’s policy of not commenting to the press, unless it’s through a press release.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/29/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“All The Way” Goes Out With A Bang

The Robert Schenkkan penned Lyndon B. Johnson bioplay All The Way closed at the end of this past week on June 29, 2014, and not without fanfare.  Starring Bryan Cranston in the presidential leading role, this play deals with the Civil Rights period of U.S. history, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is also a major character.  Though it had been off to a moderate start at the box office, this show picked up in awards season, winning the Tony Award for Best Play among a slew of other honors.  In its second to last week, the show broke the box office record for a new play on Broadway with a weekly gross of $1,425,001.  However, in its final week of performances, the play attracted an extremely impressive rise of $198,494 on top of its previous week’s record-setting numbers, grossing a new record-setting total of $1,623,495.  This made it the fourth highest grossing show on Broadway that week, with only the megahit musicals Wicked, The Lion King, and The Book of Mormon ahead of it.  For a straight play on Broadway, that is a major coup.

“Bullets Over Broadway” May Be On Its Last Legs

Based on the Woody Allen feature film of the same name, the musical Bullets Over Broadway had a lot of hype going into production.  However, since it has been running, very little attention has been paid to it.  Most notably, it failed to receive a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical, and its box office numbers are now showing the brunt of this inattention.  In this past week, the show grossed only $602,629, which was a decrease of $153,930 from the previous week.  Perhaps its biggest star attraction is Zach Braff, who was out for a single performance in that eight performance week.  Still, this drop in numbers may be an indication that this show is about to enter a period of decline, and may not hold up past the summer.

“Aladdin” Reaches New Heights

This past week, the Disney stage production of Aladdin grossed $1,502,696, which is its highest weekly earnings to date.  In the week prior, the show brought in $1,325,987, which was still impressive.  In this past week, its high gross made it the fifth highest grossing show on Broadway, after Wicked, The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, and All The Way.  This bodes well for the musical entering the summer season, and will most likely mean that it continues to bring in high sales throughout this traditionally tourist-driven season.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 29, 2014:

Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-6-29-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $927,487 7,288 100.44% $127.26
AFTER MIDNIGHT $767,964 8,183 98.73% $93.85
ALADDIN $1,502,696 13,784 100.00% $109.02
ALL THE WAY $1,623,495 11,464 100.77% $141.62
BEAUTIFUL $1,235,339 8,257 100.60% $149.61
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $602,629 6,974 53.48% $86.41
CABARET $729,731 6,671 93.38% $109.39
CASA VALENTINA $235,016 4,404 85.48% $53.36
CHICAGO $516,636 6,492 75.14% $79.58
CINDERELLA $926,669 11,785 84.13% $78.63
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,069,004 7,212 102.31% $148.23
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME $159,571 3,549 39.93% $44.96
IF/THEN $887,879 9,265 88.34% $95.83
JERSEY BOYS $909,478 8,960 91.21% $101.50
KINKY BOOTS $1,382,680 11,060 97.09% $125.02
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $537,507 4,485 93.95% $119.85
LES MISÉRABLES $1,059,346 10,169 90.21% $104.17
MAMMA MIA! $695,608 8,113 86.97% $85.74
MATILDA $1,176,510 11,504 100.42% $102.27
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $992,536 10,261 85.11% $96.73
NEWSIES $793,740 9,209 97.14% $86.19
OF MICE AND MEN $840,010 8,329 97.03% $100.85
ONCE $479,509 6,080 71.77% $78.87
PIPPIN $627,679 7,106 89.72% $88.33
ROCK OF AGES $319,029 3,950 84.69% $80.77
ROCKY $711,332 8,244 67.97% $86.28
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,658,638 8,752 102.63% $189.52
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $531,521 6,094 70.99% $87.22
THE LION KING $2,044,928 13,601 100.01% $150.35
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $954,357 11,147 86.81% $85.62
THE REALISTIC JONESES $428,155 5,050 72.39% $84.78
VIOLET $340,374 4,340 73.91% $78.43
WICKED $2,107,598 15,354 99.55% $137.27
Totals: $29,774,659 277,136 87.34% $102.65

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” Opens on Broadway

“Holler if Ya Hear Me” Negative Reviews Will Not Help Low Box Office Figures

The Tupac Shakur inspired musical Holler if Ya Hear Me had its official opening on June 19, 2014 at the Palace Theatre, after running for 17 preview performances.  In the weeks approaching the opening night, upon which the critical response would be publicized to the masses, ticket sales were abominably low.  With an average weekly ticket price ranging between $24.10 and $32.84, the show only managed to bring in at the most $170,652 a week in its first three weeks of running.  These numbers were so dire, in fact, that one of the producers was quoted as saying that the musical would close just over a week after opening if the reviews were poor.  The reviews are in, and they are well below positive.  However, the production has made no official announcement of closing in the timeframe that they had supposedly specified.  Still, it is doubtful if the show will be able to stay afloat for much longer with these low numbers, coupled with the negative reviews.

holler if ya hear meVeteran Director Kenny Leon Did Not Save This Show

Holler if Ya Hear Me is written by Todd Kreidler and directed by Kenny Leon, with lyrics by Tupac Shakur, and the music arranged and orchestrated by Daryl Waters.  Leon is also behind the acclaimed and Tony Award winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun that just concluded performances this season.  However, Holler if Ya Hear Me was much less well received.  Charles Isherwood of The New York Times gave it a fairly negative review, criticizing the show for being relentless and heavy-handed in driving home its tragic themes.  The Hollywood Reporter called the show well-intentioned but toothless, and Time Out New York, NBC, and Associated Press were all on the fence but certainly not singing the praises of this tuner.  In general, critics were appreciative of the performances, especially the star Saul Williams making his Broadway debut.  They also enjoyed the beats and the music, but reviewers were less in favor of the uneven narrative storytelling and the ramshackle method of re-appropriating Tupac’s songs for the stage.

A Summer Hip Hop Musical Was A Long Shot All Along

The show was already a long-shot for success on Broadway for a number of reasons, and these reviews will certainly not help attract audiences to the struggling production.  For one, it opened in the summer after the Tony Awards, when no other shows are opening.  There is a reason for this, and it is because most summer tourists tend to choose a long-running musical, or a recent Tony Award winning hit, rather than a new show they have barely heard about.  Furthermore, its demographic is a tough one for Broadway.  According to Michael Riedel of The New York Post, a veteran producer was quoted as saying that the show would fail because the average theatre ticket buyers are middle-aged women, who are generally not familiar with the music of Tupac.  In general, he said, it would be tough for a rap musical to make it on Broadway, especially when there is not a Hollywood star leading the cast.

holler if ya hear me cast

This is unfortunate, as hip hop has been mainstream for quite a while, and it is a shame that Broadway has not reached the point where it can be representative of the nation as a whole.  Perhaps this is because Broadway prices out many of the individuals who would have enjoyed a show about Tupac, or maybe it is because the attempt to bridge these two art forms was misguided in the first place.  In any case, the show will most likely not be open for much longer, even if it is still hanging on a week after opening.

“Newsies” on Broadway Announces Closing in August 2014

Newsies: An Unexpected Closing Decision

Disney Theatricals’ production of Newsies has been running at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre since March 15, 2015, with its official opening night on March 29, 2014.  For the 2012 Tony Awards, it was nominated for eight awards, winning two: Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli, and Best Original Score for Alan Menken and Jack Feldman.  With a book by Harvey Fierstein and directed by Jeff Calhoun, this musical was the break-out role for its star Jeremy Jordan, who has gone on to star in the Broadway production of Bonnie & Clyde as well as the film version of The Last 5 Years and the television show SmashNewsies has been performing consistently well at the box office; with a modest budget of $5 million, it has gone on to gross over $100 million for Disney Theatricals.  In recent months, it has been holding up if not knocking it out of the park at the box office, which is why it comes as somewhat of a surprise that the show has just announced its closing date: August 24, 2014.

Disney Musical Newsies Broadway ShowNewsies is based on a 1992 film inspired by the true story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City.  That film was much less of a success than this musical has proven to be, as it only earned less than $3 million, with a budget of $15 million.  This film flop therefore ranks as one of Disney’s lowest-earning live action movies of all time.  This goes to show that different elements make for different degrees of success on the stage and on the screen.  With a compelling storyline, this show is renowned for its thrilling choreography, embracing the theatricality of the musical medium.  Furthermore, Harvey Fierstein is not only an industry favorite but a very talented musical book writer, and he did a wonderful job of adapting the story for the stage.

The Disney Theatricals Slate

Though Disney did not disclose its decision-making process, the organization likely felt that the show had been a great enough success to go out with a bang, rather than continue to have it run on sales that could only begin to taper off as time went on.  Whereas the show once regularly earned over a million dollars weekly, its numbers have been significantly lower in recent months.  Furthermore, Disney has several enormous Broadway hits already, the most notable being The Lion King which has been running for 16 years at the top of the gross charts, and the now-closed Beauty and the Beast which ran for 13 years.  Furthermore, the organization has just opened its new show Aladdin this season, and it will soon premiere its stage adaption in London of Shakespeare in Love (a co-production with Sonia Friedman Productions), as well as a revised stage adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in California’s La Jolla Playhouse this upcoming fall.  Still, not all of Disney’s stage shows have been successes, with notable flops including Tarzan and The Little Mermaid.

newsies choreography

A National Tour, and An Available Nederlander Theatre

Not only does Disney have other shows to focus on, but it never planned for Newsies to run for as long as it did.  The production had its first try-out run at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, with the intention of focusing the property on licensing, regional, and amateur productions, similar to its High School Musical franchise.  However, when the reception proved to be a success, especially from notable New York theatre critics, the decision was made to transfer to the Nederlander Theatre, but again only for a limited engagement of three months.  Now that the show has played for well over two years, it has far exceeded its original expectations.  Plans are now underway for a national tour to begin in October 2014.  This will now open up the Nederlander Theater for musicals that are vying for a venue, as there are remarkably few available theatres on Broadway for new musicals, though there are many in development.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/22/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Ticket Sales Have Risen Along With The Temperature

As we are officially in the summer season, and the weather is consistently lovely, the Broadway industry is seeing a healthy season of sales.  In the week ending June 22, 2014, the collective total of Broadway shows saw an increase of $1,513,333 from the week before.  Of the 34 shows presently running, only seven earned less money this week than the week prior, with the rest seeing an increase in ticket sales.  The biggest increase was seen by All the Way, which won the Tony Award for Best Play (along with a slew of other honors this season), and which is playing a strictly limited engagement; it will be forced to close in August due to the schedule of its cast.  It earned $195,542 more this week from the previous week, when it had already seen a healthy increase.  The biggest loser this week is Casa Valentina, which earned $73,413 less than the previous week, only bringing in a total weekly gross of $182,859.  That play will also be closing this summer, but it has done much less well in terms of both box office and awards this season.

Summer Blockbuster Musicals

Also with the summer season officially underway, it is becoming clear which shows will be the big summer blockbusters.  Unsurprisingly, the biggest earners this week were the megahit musicals The Lion King and Wicked, which brought in $2,098,868 and $2,027,347 respectively.  Playing in a much smaller theatre, but performing equally well in terms of gross potential, was The Book of Mormon, which brought in $1,641,677 this past week.  Not far behind is All the Way with $1,425,001, which is an immense accomplishment to be the fourth highest earner as a straight play, when musicals have a greater earning potential as well as a bigger precedent for attracting the big bucks at the box office.  In order, the next biggest grosses were achieved by Kinky Boots, Aladdin, Beautiful, Matilda, Les Misérables, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Motown the Musical, and The Phantom of the Opera.  All of those titles were in the million dollar club this past week.  Trailing not too far behind were A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical, as well as Jersey Boys, a long-running hit whose movie adaptation is just hitting the theaters.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 22, 2014:

Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-6-22-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $901,367 7,212 99.39% $124.98
AFTER MIDNIGHT $649,664 7,298 88.06% $89.02
ALADDIN $1,325,987 13,792 100.06% $96.14
ALL THE WAY $1,425,001 10,687 93.94% $133.34
BEAUTIFUL $1,196,533 8,260 100.63% $144.86
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $756,559 8,351 64.04% $90.60
CABARET $753,329 6,957 97.38% $108.28
CASA VALENTINA $182,859 3,697 71.76% $49.46
CHICAGO $552,275 6,845 79.22% $80.68
CINDERELLA $891,861 11,621 82.96% $76.75
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,069,433 7,210 102.28% $148.33
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME $170,652 5,196 58.46% $32.84
IF/THEN $873,965 8,757 83.50% $99.80
JERSEY BOYS $901,234 8,907 90.67% $101.18
KINKY BOOTS $1,394,435 11,042 96.93% $126.28
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $575,156 5,045 92.47% $114.01
LES MISÉRABLES $1,075,812 10,372 92.02% $103.72
MAMMA MIA! $699,139 8,137 87.23% $85.92
MATILDA $1,139,392 11,533 100.67% $98.79
MOTHERS AND SONS $253,788 3,903 60.83% $65.02
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,061,896 10,705 88.79% $99.20
NEWSIES $799,894 9,400 99.16% $85.10
OF MICE AND MEN $855,987 8,410 97.97% $101.78
ONCE $487,451 6,046 71.36% $80.62
PIPPIN $635,836 7,058 89.12% $90.09
ROCK OF AGES $341,945 4,080 87.48% $83.81
ROCKY $719,363 8,194 67.56% $87.79
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,641,677 8,752 102.63% $187.58
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $502,457 5,677 66.13% $88.51
THE LION KING $2,098,868 13,602 100.01% $154.31
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,030,511 11,828 92.12% $87.12
THE REALISTIC JONESES $419,041 5,210 74.68% $80.43
VIOLET $342,877 4,295 73.14% $79.83
WICKED $2,027,347 15,424 100.00% $131.44
Totals: $29,753,590 283,503 86.84% $100.22

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

“After Midnight” To Close on June 29

Tony Nomination Not Enough To Sustain Sales

Though it was nominated for this year’s Tony Award for Best Musical, After Midnight has just announced that it will play its final performance on June 29, 2014.  This date also marks the conclusion of guest star Patti LaBelle’s run in the show.  Having begun performances on October 18, 2013, it opened on November 3, 2013.  It will close having played 18 preview performances and 271 regular performances, after only eight months.  The producers were attempting to close for only a temporary hiatus over the July 4th holiday weekend, as they already had extremely high profile guest stars lined up for upcoming slots, including Gladys Knight and Natalie Cole.  However, it turned out to be impossible for all the unions to agree on this temporary shutdown, and therefore the show was forced to terminate its Broadway run.  However, a national tour is in the works.

After Midnight Broadway MusicalWith selected text by Langston Hughes, conceived by frequent producer Jack Viertel, and directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, the musical starred Fantasia Barrino with guest stars including Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, and Vanessa Williams.  Taking place in the Jazz Age, this musical revue celebrates Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club performed by a band of 17 musicians hand-picked by Wynton Marsalis.  Not only did the show receive a Tony Award nomination, but it was further honored by having its director, Warren Carlyle, choreograph Hugh Jackman’s opening number at the Awards.  However, of the seven nominations which it received, it left with only one win: that for Carlyle for Best Choreographer.  It also took home the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Revue, and it also won four 2014 Astaire Awards and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography.

Lackluster Sales Throughout Its Run

Despite this awards recognition, its box office performance was at best mediocre.  Its highest ever weekly gross was $714,663, which was still only 71.80% of its gross potential, but it generally grossed between $500 to $650,000 each week.  The top ticket for this musical was $197.00, which is low compared to most other shows’ premium ticket prices.  Its capitalization was low for a musical of this scale, only $7 million; however, it will still close at a loss.  Though it was a major coup for the show to receive a Tony Awards nomination for Best Musical, the lackluster sales did not greatly improve in the weeks leading up to the ceremony.  Though it is impossible to know whether a win for Best Musical would have greatly increased sales or allowed the show to remain open, it is clear that losing that award was the final blow to persuade producers the run could not go on.

A National Tour Is In The Works

In any event, the show was one of the most highly reviewed shows of the 2013-2014 season, and there are likely many theatregoers from around the country who are disappointed they will not have the chance to see it on their New York vacations.  However, with a national tour almost certainly to take place, these audiences will fortunately have their chance to see the show after all.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/15/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/15/2014

“All The Way” Gaining Momentum

All the Way is the Tony Award winning Best Play of 2014, and that success is showing at the box office.  It helps that the star of the show is Bryan Cranston, one of America’s most celebrated actors for such performances as his leading role as Walter White on the television show Breaking Bad.  Written by Robert Schenkkan and directed by Bill Rauch, this play has been doing excellently at the box office since it began performances on February 10, 2014.  It has been hovering over the $1 million mark, with a steady increase since the awards season has begun.  But after this play has shown well above others in several awards ceremonies, national word has spread.  In the week ending June 15, 2014, the show grossed $1,229,459, which was an increase of $288,909, the highest increase of any show this week.  With an average paid ticket of $128.90, the show reached 89.86% of its gross potential.  This is a very high number specifically for a play, putting it in competition against some of the top earning musicals.

“Holler if Ya Hear Me” Still Struggling

This Tupac Shakur inspired musical opened at an unusual time, too late for Tony Award consideration and when the summer season is beginning, when many tourists go for lighter musical fare.  Though a musical, this show deals with themes that may be traditionally less desirable in the warmer season.  Though the show will open later this week and is still in previews, it is still abnormally low that it only grossed $163,586 in a week of eight performances.  With an average paid admission of $24.35, the show only made 18.32% of its gross potential, by far the lowest of any show this past week.  The second lowest show in terms of reaching its gross potential, Mothers and Sons, just announced that it will be closing at the end of next week.  With a weekly gross of $156,116, it only grossed 20.34% of its gross potential.

Other Shows Having Difficulties

There are other shows that are earned less than half of their gross potential, many of which are produced by not for profit theatre institutions.  Casa Valentina, produced by Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, only earned 43.73% of its gross potential, though it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, which it did not win.  Furthermore, Violet, a musical produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company, only grossed 44.42% of its potential.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 16, 2014:

Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-6-15-14

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $851,262.00 6,984 96.25% $121.89
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,290,437.00 8,368 100.00% $154.21
ACT ONE $370,426.00 5,162 79.37% $71.76
AFTER MIDNIGHT $567,577.50 6,624 79.92% $85.69
ALADDIN $1,332,136.50 13,788 100.03% $96.62
ALL THE WAY $1,229,459.00 9,538 83.84% $128.90
BEAUTIFUL $1,170,050.00 8,266 100.71% $141.55
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $773,110.00 8,616 66.07% $89.73
CABARET $731,191.75 6,584 92.16% $111.06
CASA VALENTINA $256,272.00 3,837 74.48% $66.79
CHICAGO $492,950.45 6,079 70.36% $81.09
CINDERELLA $760,204.45 10,301 73.54% $73.80
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,071,625.12 7,216 102.37% $148.51
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME $163,585.50 6,719 77.19% $24.35
IF/THEN $802,082.00 8,642 82.40% $92.81
JERSEY BOYS $820,917.90 8,439 85.90% $97.28
KINKY BOOTS $1,372,011.00 10,909 95.76% $125.77
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $457,174.00 3,876 94.72% $117.95
LES MISÉRABLES $1,038,248.77 10,138 89.94% $102.41
MAMMA MIA! $629,849.20 7,501 80.41% $83.97
MATILDA $1,047,221.70 11,219 97.93% $93.34
MOTHERS AND SONS $156,116.00 2,818 43.92% $55.40
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $991,943.50 9,948 82.51% $99.71
NEWSIES $770,523.70 9,067 95.64% $84.98
OF MICE AND MEN $806,630.19 8,124 94.64% $99.29
ONCE $438,505.51 5,557 65.59% $78.91
PIPPIN $565,734.00 6,487 81.91% $87.21
ROCK OF AGES $280,008.25 3,589 76.95% $78.02
ROCKY $761,451.00 8,629 71.15% $88.24
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,604,506.92 8,752 102.63% $183.33
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $515,389.00 5,776 67.29% $89.23
THE LION KING $2,043,643.00 13,596 99.97% $150.31
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $984,108.99 11,686 91.01% $84.21
THE REALISTIC JONESES $442,301.71 5,021 71.98% $88.09
VIOLET $342,638.00 4,248 72.34% $80.66
WICKED $1,969,827.00 15,271 99.01% $128.99
Totals: $29,901,118.61 287,375 84.44% $99.61

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

“A Raisin in the Sun” Concludes Performances

An Unequivocal Success

Kenny Leon’s acclaimed revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun played its final performance at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre last night: Sunday, June 15, 2014.  Starring Denzel Washington as Walter Lee Younger, this production took home three Tony Awards last weekend: those for Best Revival of a Play, Best Director of a Play (Kenny Leon), and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Sophie Okonedo).  This was the most wins for any straight play at this year’s Tony Awards, and the show was also nominated for an additional two acting awards: those for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (LaTanya Richardson Jackson), and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Anika Noni Rose).  Though Denzel Washington was not nominated, Kenny Leon, in accepting his Tony Award, made it clear he believed this was a snub.  After all, Washington received unqualified praise for his performance, and he furthermore won the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for 2010’s Fences, also directed by Leon.

Successful Recoupment of Capitalization

The run was by all measures successful, as the producers announced last week that the play managed to recoup its entire a raisin in the sun castcapitalization, which is reported to be $4.25 million.  This is a very large cost for a straight play with a limited engagement, but the investment, as well as the profit potential, was significantly upped due to the star casting of Denzel Washington, whose innumerable fans reliably flock to the theatre for the opportunity to see him in live performance.  The recoupment is especially impressive given the briefness of the play’s run, which totaled only 85 performances in addition to 27 preview performances since it began on March 8, 2014 (the official opening was April 3, 2014).  This achievement was only possible due to the high demand for tickets, which allowed premium pricing and very limited discounting.  The entire run was sold out, the average ticket price each week was generally over $140, and the top ticket price for premium seats was $348.  In general, the weekly gross reached around 110% of its potential (due to premium pricing), and each weekly gross was almost without exception over $1.1 million.

Solidifying Its Place In History

This is the third time A Raisin in the Sun has played on Broadway.  The premiere was in 1959, marking the first time a play written by a black woman was seen on Broadway.  The first revival was in 2004, also directed by Kenny Leon.  Though that production won two Tony Awards (Best Actress for Phylicia Rashad, and Best Featured Actress for Audra McDonald), it did not win the award for Best Revival (though it was nominated), nor was Kenny Leon nominated for the award he would win in 2014: Best Director.  Critics discussed how this production was a significantly more mature achievement than Leon’s first attempt, which may justify the difference in awards reception.  This production also had the honor of being attended by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his family.  On Friday, April 11, 2014, West 47th Street was swarming was security guards, as the first family made its way to the theatre.  Barack and Michelle Obama also had attended a revival of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone in 2009, and Michelle had taken her daughters to the musicals Memphis and The Addams Family.

All in all, this production was a crowning achievement for its producers, who make up a great selection of the producing society of Broadway, including Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, Jon Platt, Scott Delman, Roy Furman, Stephanie McClelland, Ruth Hendel, Sonia Friedman, and Daryl Roth.  In this light, it was actually a success for the Broadway community as a whole, pumping much needed blood into the life of quality-driven productions on Broadway.

Broadway in Bryant Park Concert Series to Launch July 10

106.7 LITE FM Partners with New York Theatre

For fourteen consecutive years, the radio station 106.7 LITE FM has held an annual lunchtime summer concert series in Manhattan’s Bryant Park featuring the casts of Broadway shows.  The series will begin on Thursday, July 10, 2014, and will continue for six consecutive Thursday until its final event on August 14, 2014.  The Bryant Park stage is located at 6th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets in midtown Manhattan.  The performances will begin at 12:30pm, arranged to be convenient for lunchtime entertainment, as many full-time workers in the area take their lunch break in the park on the many green tables and chairs set up around the field.  In addition, the shows are broadcast live on the radio, 106.7 LITE FM.

Bryant Park people on grass big stage with 106.7 lite fm Broadway in Bryant Park

Rocky, Wicked, If/Then, Pippin, Chicago, Les Misérables

The first three events are co-hosted by an Off-Broadway show, and all are hosted by a LITE FM personality.  On July 10, the host will be Delilah, and the show will be co-hosted by Off-Broadway’s Buyer and Cellar, running in the West Village at the Barrow Street Theatre.  The four musicals featured on that first show will be Rocky, Wicked, If/Then, and Stomp.  The last of these is an Off-Broadway show, but still a long running musical hit.  Interestingly, this show features both Wicked, which launched Idina Menzel to undeniable fame, and If/Then, in which she currently stars.  On July 17, the 106.7 LITE FM host will be Helen Little, and the show will be co-hosted by the show Perfect Crime.  This show will feature the Broadway shows Pippin, Chicago, and Les Misérables, as well as the Off-Broadway shows Atomic and iLuminate.

Phantom of the Opera, Cinderella, Bullets over Broadway, Rock of Ages, Once, Holler if Ya Hear Me, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

106.7 lite fm new york skylineaFor the third week in the series, on July 24, the 106.7 LITE FM host will be Christine Nagy, and the show will be co-hosted by the Off-Broadway show Sistas the Musical.  The event will feature the Broadway shows Phantom of the Opera, Cinderella, and Bullets over Broadway as well as the Off-Broadway shows Avenue Q (once a Broadway hit, now running at New World Stages), and Piece of my Heart (not to be confused with the recent Broadway show A Night With Janis Joplin, this is a musical about the life of Bert Berns).  On July 31, the event continues led by 106.7 LITE FM host Bob Bronson, and featuring the four Broadway shows Rock of Ages, Once, Holler if Ya Hear Me (the new Tupac Shakur musical), and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which just won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Jersey Boys, After Midnight, Matilda, Mamma Mia!, Motown the Musical, On the Town

The penultimate event in the series will take place on August 7, hosted by Rich Kaminski.  The event will feature two Broadway shows – Jersey Boys and After Midnight – as well as the Off-Broadway shows Heathers and 50 Shades! The Musical.  Finally, on August 14, the series will come to a close hosted by Delilah, and featuring four Broadway shows: Matilda, Mamma Mia!, Motown the Musical, and On the Town, which will soon be running at the newly named Lyric Theatre (the former Foxwoods Theatre, where Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark was most recently running).  In general, this series is a marketing event aiming to lure more radio listeners to become theatregoers, while also offering a treat to New Yorkers in the bliss of summertime.