Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/14/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Fish in the Dark” Took Major Hit with Jason Alexander Replacing Larry David

In the week ending June 14, 2015, Larry David’s blandly reviewed but heretofore top-selling comedy Fish in the Dark brought in $842,633 at the box office. This is a decrease of $403,563 from the week before. In almost every single week of the show’s run so far, it has brought in over one million dollars per week, and reached over 110% of its gross potential. However this past week, it only reached 80.97% of its gross potential. The reason is too clear to be denied: Jason Alexander took over the lead role from Larry David this week. Larry David, whose last performance was on June 7, 2015, has proven himself to be a huge draw at the box office. Even though the show was reviewed by most critics as less than magnificent, David lured fans in immense numbers for every single week in which he appeared onstage. Jason Alexander played Larry David’s surrogate George Costanza on the TV show “Seinfeld” for many years, and he is also a very successful actor on both stage and screen. However, it is probably the fact that Alexander is such a usual face on Broadway that made fans less interested in seeing him in this role. On the other hand, David was making his Broadway debut, and fans were dying to see him in person, even if the overall play was less than gut wrenchingly hilarious.

Tony Awards Had Only Small Impact on Sales This Week

This week was the first full week of Broadway performances since the Tony Awards, which took place on June 7, 2015. The biggest award, that for Best Musical, was given to Fun Home. Still, in the week ending June 14, 2015, Fun Home brought in $716,631, which is an increase of only $63,701 from the week before. It is true that Fun Home is in the very small Circle in the Square Theatre, which has a low ceiling on the number of audience members it can accommodate. Still, this week Fun Home brought in 94.26% of its gross potential, where other shows bring in over 100% due to premium ticket sales. Therefore, there is still room for growth in audience interest in this Tony Award winning Best Musical. As for An American in Paris, which some thought to be Fun Home’s biggest competition for that award, it showed a similar minor increase in ticket sales. This past week, it brought in $1,399,818, which is an increase of $31,084 from the week before. It barely beat out Fun Home in terms of percentage reached of gross potential, achieving 95.14% of its potential. As for Something Rotten!, the third and only other possible contender for the Best Musical award (no one thought The Visit would win), it brought in $1,178,048 this past week, which is an increase of $144,556 from the week before. Therefore, though it only reached 92.77% of its gross potential, it still saw a greater increase than either of the other two Best Musical nominees, proving that the winners of Tony Awards saw only a minor impact in comparison to those nominees that lost, at least in this first week right after the ceremony.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 14, 2015:Broadway Show Ticket Gross analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $553,366 6,046 83.32% $91.53
ALADDIN $1,592,508 13,786 100.01% $115.52
AN ACT OF GOD $852,902 6,889 85.60% $123.81
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,399,818 13,345 99.35% $104.89
BEAUTIFUL $993,724 7,607 92.68% $130.63
CHICAGO $702,637 8,392 97.13% $83.73
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,172,903 11,920 99.07% $98.40
FISH IN THE DARK $842,633 7,781 90.65% $108.29
FUN HOME $716,631 6,116 103.31% $117.17
GIGI $508,643 6,482 58.54% $78.47
HAND TO GOD $389,264 4,585 74.24% $84.90
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $456,585 4,858 68.92% $93.99
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $403,081 6,151 75.98% $65.53
JERSEY BOYS $681,426 7,144 72.72% $95.38
KINKY BOOTS $880,700 8,462 74.28% $104.08
LES MISÉRABLES $639,481 8,160 72.39% $78.37
MAMMA MIA! $776,089 8,773 94.05% $88.46
MATILDA $1,058,673 11,446 99.91% $92.49
ON THE TOWN $559,983 8,360 55.76% $66.98
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $609,744 5,717 98.98% $106.65
SKYLIGHT $865,346 6,416 100.00% $134.87
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,178,048 12,195 91.44% $96.60
THE AUDIENCE $1,171,220 7,577 101.26% $154.58
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,494,196 8,748 102.58% $170.80
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $885,114 8,015 98.42% $110.43
THE KING AND I $1,109,198 8,115 96.88% $136.68
THE LION KING $2,102,748 13,500 99.26% $155.76
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $980,877 11,657 90.79% $84.14
THE VISIT $274,465 4,613 64.00% $59.50
WICKED $1,954,144 15,332 99.51% $127.46
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $581,972 5,978 54.03% $97.35
Totals $28,388,117 264,166 86.94% $105.08

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” Concludes Its Run

Successful Run Concludes With Final Performance On June 7, 2015

it's only a play coverOn June 7, 2015, Jack O’Brien’s production of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play played its final performance at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. On August 28, 2014, it began previews, at that time playing at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. After its opening night on October 9, 2014, the show received mixed to positive reviews. However, that did not stop the show from becoming a huge hit, with the box office flowing healthily due to the star studded cast. The original cast included Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, bringing back the excellent chemistry from their world renowned star turn in The Producers. On top of those two, the cast included Stockard Channing (Grease, Other Desert Cities), Rupert Grint (“Ron” from the Harry Potter movies), Megan Mullaly (Young Frankenstein, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), F. Murray Abraham (Mauritius, Triumph of Love, A Month in the Country), and Micah Stock. Though Micah Stock was the least famous of the bunch, and the only one making his Broadway debut, he was also the only one to be nominated for a Tony Award, that for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. This was the only nominated the show received, and it did not win.

Nathan Lane is the Golden Ticketit's only a play cast

Despite the mixed recognition from reviewers and Tony voters alike, It’s Only a Play was an unqualified financial hit. On December 17, 2014, the production announced that it had recouped its $3.9 million investment, making it the first show of the 2014-2015 season to announce recoupment. Fortunately for the producers, that achievement took place before the planned departure of Nathan Lane, who quickly proved himself to be the biggest star in the show. In every single full performance week where Lane appeared, up until the week ending January 4, 2015, the show brought in over a million dollars. Immediately after he departed, starting the week ending January 11, 2015, the numbers took a huge dip. Whereas the play had been bringing in over 100% of its gross potential consistently, suddenly it was bringing in just over 60% for three weeks, and then those numbers dipped even further, bringing in around an average of 45% of its gross potential each week. In the week ending January 4, 2015, the weekly gross was $1,455,818, but just three weeks later, the weekly gross was $462,008.

Matthew Broderick Did Not Have As Much Box Office Pull

Matthew Broderick, who had originally also planned to leave on January 4, 2015, decided to extend his participation in the show until the end of the run, whereas Lane had to leave to appear in The Iceman Cometh. However, Lane clearly proved he is a bigger star than Broderick, as Broderick’s decision to remain did not keep the numbers as high as they had been. However, when Lane came back to It’s Only a Play on March 31, 2015, the numbers did jump up, though not quite as high as they had been. Once he returned, the weekly grosses were averaging around $600,000 to $700,000. In the last week of the run, the week ending June 7, 2015, both Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane took their final bow, with a weekly gross of $669,145, representing 66.51% of the show’s gross potential. Therefore, the show was clearly running in the black, having entered profits back in the end of 2014. Since that time, they were playing for laughs as much as for money.

Tony Awards TV Viewership Down 10 Percent Despite Record Breaking Broadway Season

Broadway Grosses and Attendance Up By Over 7 Percent

tony awardIn the 2014 to 2015 Broadway season, 37 new productions opened. These included 15 musicals, 10 of which were new and 5 of which were revivals, as well as 20 plays, 11 of which were new and 9 of which were revivals. This is in addition to two special engagements. Across the board, the industry yielded $1.37 billion dollars, which is a 7.6% increase from last year’s gross of $1.27 billion dollars. On top of that, total attendance reached 13.1 million people, up 7.3% from last year’s total attendance of 12.2 million people. Though the number of shows was down to 37 from 44 the year before, that is actually a positive sign, as it shows that the shows that did go up stayed up more successfully, leading to less turnover. With regards to the sheer number of shows running on a weekly basis, the number of total playing weeks increased by 8.7% from the previous season. Despite these record breaking figures, the greatest theatre event of the season on broadcast television – the Tony Awards on CBS – had remarkably low TV viewership. According to Nielsen, the event pulled 6.35 million viewers, which is down by 10% from the year before. In comparison, the Golden Globes, often considered the Oscar’s poor cousin, brings in about 20 million viewers.

NBA Conflict Overstated in the Press

When Variety reported on this strange contradiction, its headline proclaimed that the Tony Awards “flirted” with record lows “opposite big NBA finals,” which were shown on rival station NBC. However, this is simplifying the facts. First of all, this was only Game 2 of the NBA Finals. If it were nearing the end of the finals, this may be more of an explanation for the low Tony viewership. Furthermore, the core demographic for theatre awards ceremonies and NBA basketball games couldn’t be less overlapping. The only justification for this could be households where there were conflicting interests, such as wives wanting to watch the Tony Awards and husbands wanting to watch the sports game. In addition, the Tony Awards began at 8:00pm, and the basketball game didn’t begin until 9:00pm. That first hour also includes the opening number, traditionally one of the more exciting elements to watch, as well as some of the major awards. Therefore, the real reason may have more to do with other factors.

Less Interesting Hosts? Less Interest in Awards?alan cumming and kristin chenoweth

One major difference between the 2015 Tony Awards ceremony and the 2014 Tony Awards ceremony is that this year, the hosts were Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, whereas last year the host was Hugh Jackman. From the Broadway box office reports, it is clear that Hugh Jackman is a major attraction, as both The River and Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway performed excellently in terms of ticket sales. This year’s hosts, though certainly big names on Broadway and with lists of screen credits that are nothing to scoff at, are arguably less big stars. Also, it is possible that having two hosts diluted the interest in the hosting position. Whereas the decision to have two co-hosts may have been an effort to make up for each individual not being a big enough star, the result may have been the opposite: that two hosts are inherently less interesting than one. The Broadway League could be tempted to bring in someone more mainstream who is also funny, but it is doubtful that Ricky Gervais, Amy Poehler or Tina Fey would be expected to host any time soon. Furthermore, the contradiction between an excellent Broadway season and low Tony Award viewership may be explained by the fact that there has been an increased interest in seeing live theatre, but the fan aspect of watching the awards ceremony may have not increased in kind. There were also complaints about this year’s broadcast, such as the Dramatists Guild’s statement that they were increasingly dismayed that key awards, such as Best Book and Best Score, were not shown live on the telecast. In any case, it is excellent for Broadway that more people went to the theatre this past season, and perhaps next year more will tune in for the awards.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/07/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

An Act of God Sails Upward

In the week leading up to the Tony Awards, the week ending June 7, 2015, the show that saw the biggest increase in ticket sales from the week before was one that was ineligible for awards consideration. An Act of God, a new comedy starring Jim Parsons, opened past the date for eligibility for Tony nominations, and thus it was not honored at the ceremony this past Sunday night. Still, it received great reviews on its recent opening night, and the numbers showed an increase because of it. This past week, it brought in $843,731, which represents 83.72% of the show’s gross potential. This weekly gross is an increase of $150,352 from the week before, when it brought in only $693,379. This past week, the average paid admission was $120.12, with a top ticket price of $349.00. This is also a significant increase from last week’s average paid admission of $93.92. Finally, the average audience capacity across the eight performances increased to 91.7%, up from 82.5% the week before. Therefore, this show is defying the general principle that a summer opening is a bad idea, and that Tony recognition is a crucial factor in a show’s success. In this case, a beloved lead actor, great reviews, and the attraction of a light hearted comedy on religious themes was enough to boost ticket sales.

Long Running Musicals Saw a Decrease in Interest

As the Tony buzz was buzzing, the long running musicals that have been playing on Broadway for years saw a decrease in ticket sales. One of the highest earning musicals on Broadway, The Lion King, saw a decrease of $67,274 from the week before, bringing in the still extraordinary gross of $1,959,636. Les Miserables saw a decrease of $46,631, bringing in a weekly gross of $564,893. Furthermore, The Phantom of the Opera, decreased by $45,159 from the week before, bringing in a weekly gross of $883,328. Kinky Boots, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2013, decreased by $23,688, bringing in a gross of $832,015. In addition, Chicago saw a decrease of $12,481, Jersey Boys went down by $4,586, and Matilda decreased by $3,063. The only shows nominated for this year’s Tony Awards that saw a decrease in ticket sales this past week were On the Twentieth Century, Something Rotten!, and Gigi. On the other hand, most of the shows that were nominated for Tony Awards saw an increase in ticket sales in the week approaching the event. These included It’s Only a Play, which increased by $134,047, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which increased by $97,788, Wolf Hall Parts One and Two, which increased by $86,781, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which increased by $67,380.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 7, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-06-07-15

Show GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $533,867 5,932 81.75% $90.00
AIRLINE HIGHWAY $169,126 3,690 73.56% $45.83
ALADDIN $1,535,301 13,787 100.02% $111.36
AN ACT OF GOD $843,731 7,024 87.28% $120.12
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,368,734 13,489 100.42% $101.47
BEAUTIFUL $964,024 7,357 89.63% $131.03
CHICAGO $626,499 7,700 89.12% $81.36
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,103,830 11,588 96.31% $95.26
FISH IN THE DARK $1,246,196 8,716 101.54% $142.98
FUN HOME $652,930 6,054 103.66% $107.85
GIGI $401,946 5,324 48.09% $75.50
HAND TO GOD $449,227 5,481 88.75% $81.96
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $457,557 4,912 69.68% $93.15
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $321,819 5,304 65.51% $60.67
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $669,145 7,314 84.89% $91.49
JERSEY BOYS $639,044 6,565 66.83% $97.34
KINKY BOOTS $832,015 7,942 69.72% $104.76
LES MISÉRABLES $564,893 7,193 63.81% $78.53
MAMMA MIA! $718,764 8,173 87.62% $87.94
MATILDA $873,458 10,887 95.03% $80.23
ON THE TOWN $493,263 10,016 66.81% $49.25
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $491,692 4,972 98.38% $98.89
SKYLIGHT $831,694 6,416 100.00% $129.63
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,033,492 11,430 85.71% $90.42
THE AUDIENCE $1,114,361 7,499 100.21% $148.60
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,478,236 8,716 102.20% $169.60
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $800,264 7,887 96.84% $101.47
THE KING AND I $1,110,174 8,376 100.00% $132.54
THE LION KING $1,959,636 13,557 99.68% $144.55
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $883,328 10,771 83.89% $82.01
THE VISIT $194,400 4,213 58.45% $46.14
WICKED $1,737,141 14,228 98.42% $122.09
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $634,917 6,302 56.96% $100.75
Totals $27,734,699 268,815 85.18% $99.84

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

“Fun Home” and “Curious Incident” Win Big at the Tony Awards

Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth Host at Radio City Music Hall

alan cumming and kristin chenowethLast night, the 69th Annual Tony Awards took place at Radio City Music Hall, hosted by Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth. After much excitement, the winners were revealed, amidst many gorgeous musical numbers performed by shows that were nominated, as well as by shows that received no nominations. At the end of the night, the final and most anticipated award was announced: Fun Home took home the Tony Award for Best Musical. Arguably the most prestigious and meaningful award among a list of huge honors, this award will ensure that Fun Home continues to run for at least another year if not many more. After transferring from the Off-Broadway Public Theater, Fun Home has been playing at the small Circle in the Square Theatre since March 27, 2015. Though it has been playing to sold out houses, it has not been reaching the top of its money earning potential. This past week, the week ending June 7, 2015, it made only 87.60% of its gross potential. That is sure to change immediately, as the tiny venue can only accommodate 776 people, by far the smallest house on Broadway. Time will tell whether the show will need to transfer to a larger venue to meet demand, or whether it will just become an extremely tough ticket.

Best Play, Best Revivals, Best Actors, and Best Directorscurious incident

The other very prestigious honor at the Tony Awards is that for Best Play, which was earned by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Having transferred to Broadway from the National Theatre in London, this show took home 5 of the 6 awards for which it was nominated. In addition to Best Play, it won the awards for Best Direction of a Play for Marianne Elliott, Best Actor in a Leading Performance in a Play for Alex Sharp, Best Lighting Design of a Play for Paule Constable, and Best Scenic Design of a Play for Bunny Christie and Finn Ross. As for revivals, the award for Best Revival of a Play was earned by Skylight, which did not earn any of the other awards for which it was nominated. These include three acting awards, for Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy, and Matthew Beard, none of whom took home an award for their performances, as well as the award for Best Direction, which Stephen Daldry lost to Marianne Elliott. The award for Best Revival of a Musical was given to The King and I. That show also earned the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, given to Kelli O’Hara. This is the sixth time this wonderful actress has been nominated for a Tony Award, and the first time that she won. The award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play was given to Helen Mirren for The Audience, and the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical was given to Michael Cerveris for Fun Home. Finally, Sam Gold took home the award for Best Direction of a Musical, also for Fun Home.

Writing and Composing Awards

fun homeWhereas the creators of straight plays are honored through the awards for Best Play and Best Revival of a Play, separate awards are given to the book writers, as well as the composers and lyricists, of musicals. These awards are in addition to the awards for Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical, which are generally accepted by the producers. The award for Best Original Score was given to Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, who wrote the music and lyrics respectively for Fun Home. The award for Best Book of a Musical was also given to Lisa Kron for Fun Home. Whereas this year the award for Best Musical served basically the same purpose as these two awards, sometimes the recipients do differ. In this case, the three separate honors proved irrefutably that Fun Home is the most exciting new musical of the year. Something Rotten!, which was the only show nominated for Best Musical not based on a previous work, was only recognized once, when Christian Borle took home the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. Still, that show was nominated for a total of ten awards, which is certainly no small honor. As for An American in Paris, which was considered to be the next most likely show to win Best Musical, it only took home the awards for Best Choreography for Christopher Wheeldon, as well as Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, and Best Lighting Design, showing that the Tony voters ultimately considered it to be a beautiful ballet show, but not dramatically substantial enough to win the highest honor of the event.

“An Act of God” Opens on Broadway

Jim Parsons as Our Holy Father

an act of godOn May 28, 2015, An Act of God opened at Studio 54, a Roundabout Theatre Company Broadway venue. It had been running in previews since May 7, 2015. Presently, it is scheduled for a limited engagement to close on August 2, 2015. Although much of the excitement in the Broadway community these days regards the Tony Awards, which will happen this upcoming weekend, An Act of God made the unusual choice to open just after the cut off for Awards consideration. Therefore, like God in heaven above, the play is above all the awards hubbub, and it thrives independent of any commendation or lack there of from the Tony nominating committee and voters. The play stars Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory,” Harvey, The Normal Heart) as God, and the cast also includes archangels Michael, played by Christopher Fitzgerald, and Gabriel, played by Tim Kazurinsky. The play is directed by Joe Mantello, who appeared as an actor alongside Jim Parsons in The Normal Heart, and whose directing credits include Airline Highway, Casa Valentina, and 9 to 5. The play is written by David Javerbaum, the producer of “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and previous writer and producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” It is based off his book “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God.”

Generally Positive Reviewsan act of god

Most all critics gave the play a standing ovation. Charles Isherwood at The New York Times found Parsons to be an adorable and funny version of God, and that the play is divinely funny itself. David Cote from Time Out New York found this play to be so good that it went beyond comfort, instead rattling the audience’s complacencies. Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter found Parsons to be surprisingly authoritative as the Great Almighty, and enjoyed the play greatly. Jesse Green from Vulture loved how the play moved with great ease between camp and profundity. Only Marilyn Stasio from Variety was more on the fence, deciding it was a waste of time to review a play by God, but she did praise Parsons’ performance as a source of light.

Box Office Started Well, Now Just Okay

When the show began previews on May 7, 2015, the first week of box office looked divine. Over the course of its first four performances, An Act of God brought in $477,703, which represented 93.01% of its gross potential. However, in the three full weeks since, the show has decreased each week in its weekly grosses. This past week, the week ending May 31, 2015, the show brought in $693,379, which represents only 68.80% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $349.00, the average paid admission was $93.92. This is a decrease from the previous week, when the average paid admission was $109.95. Therefore, the production is offering more discounts that they did the previous week. However, it seems to have worked, as the average audience capacity increased to 91.7%, up from 82.5% the week before. After these post opening reviews, interest should increase, and once the Tony Awards buzz wears down, An Act of God has the potential to have a successful summer.

“Airline Highway” to Close Early

Manhattan Theatre Club Production Shutters One Week Early

airline highwayOn April 1, 2015, Airline Highway began previews at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Broadway venue, the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. It officially opened on April 23, 2015. At that time, it was scheduled to conclude performances on June 14, 2015. However, it has been announced that the show will close one week early, playing its final performance on June 7, 2015. Though the play received mixed reviews, it has been performing dismally at the box office the entire run. Perhaps surprisingly, the show received four Tony Award nominations in a season when many productions received zero (those snubbed include Finding Neverland, The River, It Shoulda Been You, Living on Love, and several more). Airline Highway received nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for K. Todd Freeman, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for Julie White, Best Costume Design of a Play for David Zinn, and Best Lighting Design of a Play for Japhy Weideman. Nevertheless, the show will close the same day as the Tony Awards, the producers figuring that even four wins (however unlikely) would not save the flailing production.

Mixed Post Opening Reviewsairline highway

When the play opened on April 23, 2015, critics had a mixed set of opinions. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times was in favor of this production, the first by a woman to be produced on a Broadway by MTC for some time. He found the play to be compassionate but unvarnished, with some excellent performances such as that by Julie White. Robert Kahn of NBC New York was also a fan of the show, finding the story of these misfits in New Orleans to be ultimately uplifting. However, other critics were more on the fence. For instance, Adam Feldman from Time Out New York found the show to have a jazzy vigor, but he finds that the plot doesn’t ultimately go anywhere of interest. Similarly, Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal was in favor of Lisa D’Amour’s play being chosen for production as she is such a young writer, but he finds the play to be wholly derivative. On the far negative end of the spectrum, David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter found the play to be rambling, uninteresting, and deficient of any action, despite the noble efforts of the cast and creative team.

Struggling Box Office from Day One

Despite some positive reviews, the show never made greater than 36.84% of its gross potential in any given week. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending May 31, 2015, the show brought in $160,888, which represents 32.84% of its gross potential. The average paid admission was only $46.19, showing a significant amount of discounting as well as complimentary tickets being given out, but the audience capacity still only made it to an average of 69.4%. Even though the Manhattan Theatre Club has more of a luxury to sustain a suffering production than purely commercial productions, given their not for profit status as an institution, even they had to draw the line somewhere. The decision to close only one week early allowed them to save face and still go out with four Tony nominations, but they must have decided they would cut some minor losses to cancel the final eight performances.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/31/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

An Overall Poor Week on Broadway

In the week ending May 31, 2015, the Broadway box office took a major toll, with 29 of the 33 currently running shows reporting a decrease in ticket sales from the week before. The biggest increase was seen by Something Rotten!, which brought in $1,100,399, an increase of $36,234 from the week before. The only other show to increase in the five digits was The King and I, which increased by $25,885. Furthermore, Fun Home went up by $1,329, and Fish in the Dark went up by $1,289. As for the remaining 29 shows, every single one saw a decrease in ticket sales. Of all 33 shows, the overall decrease in ticket sales was $2,382,536 from the week before. The biggest decrease was seen by Beautiful, which went down by $235,946, bringing in a weekly gross of $909,618. One major reason why the industry took such a dip this week may be due to Tony voters cashing in on all their free tickets, as each of the approximately 700 voters receives a free pair of tickets to all shows (except Finding Neverland, as Harvey Weinstein revoked the offer upon the show receiving no nominations). Therefore, the overall grosses may have seen a decrease with all of the comps being cashed in as the Tony Awards are nearing very close. Furthermore, the overall ticket buying community may have purchased excitedly when the nominations came out, but now may be waiting for the results next week before choosing which shows to see next.

“An American in Paris” Continues to Bring In Big

One of the biggest contenders for the Tony Award for Best Musical is An American in Paris. In the week ending May 31, 2015, the show brought in $1,339,416. Though this is a slight decrease of $10,516 from the week before, it is still a consistently high number. The biggest weekly gross thus far was the previous week, when the show brought in $1,349,932, which represented 91.75% of its gross potential. This past week, the show reached 91.04% of its gross potential, which is almost as good. Furthermore, it filled 99.1% of its audience capacity. It is clear that ticket buyers are going crazy for this revamped Gershwin dance musical, based off the film of the same name. With such great buzz, this show may very well win the award for Best Musical. However, Fun Home, which still has not come close to the million dollar mark, granted in a much smaller theatre, is also an interesting pick due to its groundbreaking nature. Fun Home is the first mainstream musical to deal with the concept of lesbianism as its major plot point. Time will tell whether Tony voters choose to commend the novel concept of Fun Home or whether they are swayed by the good old-fashioned excellence of An American in Paris.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending May 31, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-05-31-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $485,524 5,745 79.18% $84.51
AIRLINE HIGHWAY $160,888 3,483 69.44% $46.19
ALADDIN $1,469,138 13,788 100.03% $106.55
AN ACT OF GOD $693,379 7,383 91.74% $93.92
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,339,416 13,305 99.05% $100.67
BEAUTIFUL $909,618 6,997 85.25% $130.00
CHICAGO $638,980 7,563 87.53% $84.49
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,048,475 11,140 92.59% $94.12
FISH IN THE DARK $1,216,518 8,718 101.56% $139.54
FUN HOME $628,970 6,001 102.76% $104.81
GIGI $426,246 6,013 54.31% $70.89
HAND TO GOD $406,784 5,011 81.14% $81.18
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $390,177 4,306 61.09% $90.61
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $272,693 4,393 54.26% $62.07
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $535,098 5,742 66.64% $93.19
JERSEY BOYS $643,630 6,847 69.70% $94.00
KINKY BOOTS $855,703 8,812 77.35% $97.11
LES MISÉRABLES $611,524 7,853 69.67% $77.87
MAMMA MIA! $697,686 7,831 83.95% $89.09
MATILDA $876,521 10,661 93.06% $82.22
ON THE TOWN $512,816 10,025 66.87% $51.15
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $583,755 5,663 98.04% $103.08
SKYLIGHT $782,580 6,337 98.77% $123.49
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,100,399 12,184 91.36% $90.32
THE AUDIENCE $1,096,582 7,466 99.77% $146.88
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,417,312 8,737 102.45% $162.22
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $702,476 7,191 88.30% $97.69
THE KING AND I $1,095,371 8,376 100.00% $130.77
THE LION KING $2,026,910 13,578 99.84% $149.28
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $928,487 11,146 86.81% $83.30
THE VISIT $149,023 3,564 49.45% $41.81
WICKED $1,670,922 13,830 95.67% $120.82
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $548,136 5,436 49.13% $100.83
Totals $26,921,735 265,125 83.23% $97.72

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 King and I” Extends and Announces National Tour

Nine Tony Nominations and Indefinite Extension

the king and iWhen Lincoln Center’s current revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I opened on April 16, 2015, it received a full round of rave reviews from critics. Then, it received nine Tony Award nominations, including those for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Ken Watanabe, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for Kelli O’Hara, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Ruthie Ann Miles, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Direction for Bartlett Sher, and Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli. Ken Watanabe received this nomination in his Broadway debut, and Kelli O’Hara received her sixth Tony nomination; perhaps this will be her first and long-awaited win. Furthermore, since the nominations were announced, the box office has broken the million dollar mark for the weekly grosses, and there it has stayed for three weeks and running. With all of this good news, Lincoln Center announced that the musical will be extended indefinitely at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. This is big news for the 51 member company, who will continue to play for months to come.

National Tour to Commence November 2016the king and i

In addition to the news of the indefinite extension, the producers announced that this revival of The King and I will embark on a national tour to begin in November of 2016, launching in Providence, Rhode Island. Throughout the 2016 to 2017 season, the show will play a mixture of multi-week and single week runs in different cities throughout the nation. It has not yet been announced what the cast will be, or whether it will be an Equity or non-Equity tour, which is always a matter of some discussion given the costs and benefits to both producers and company. Comparably in 2008, Bartlett Sher directed another revival of a timeless musical – South Pacific – also starring Kelli O’Hara and also produced by Lincoln Center Theatre. That show, too, was a huge success, extending at first indefinitely and ultimately running for 996 performances, in addition to 37 preview performances. When South Pacific began its national tour, it did so in a non-Equity production with a smaller orchestra in order to save costs. It is possible that The King and I will follow suit, although that may stir some controversy.

Rave Reviews and Excellent Box Office

Upon the show’s opening, Ben Brantley of The New York Times found The King and I to be impressive and resplendent, relishing in the detailed revival. David Cote of Time Out New York found the show to be majestic, pointing out the timelessness of this masterpiece. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter found the revival to be breathtaking and magnificent, praising not only the large scale of the production but also its fine quality. Steven Suskin of The Huffington Post enjoyed that the show was produced as written, rather than taking unnecessary artistic liberties, thereby preserving the classic. Robert Kahn of NBC New York was equally smitten by the production, impressed by the cast of over 50 and deeming Kelli O’Hara’s performance astonishing. Following suit, the box office has been excellent. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending May 31, 2015, The King and I brought in $1,095,371, which is the largest weekly gross in the run thus far. This is still only 89.90% of the show’s gross potential, but it shows much promises to continue increasing in upcoming weeks. With a top ticket price of $297.00, that week’s average paid admission was $130.77. Therefore, audience members are willing to pay top dollar to see the revival of this classic, with such a breathtaking production and magnificent reviews.

“Finding Neverland” Thrives Despite Tony Snub

Broadway Proving Not So Welcoming to Harvey Weinstein

finding neverland posterHarvey Weinstein, the mega powerful film producer and distributor whose countless credits include Shakespeare in Love, Gangs of New York, The Artist, and The King’s Speech, has served as lead producer for the first time of a Broadway show. Finding Neverland, based on the 2004 film of the same name which Weinstein executive produced, is a new musical that has been running at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre since it began previews on March 15, 2015. Its official opening night was April 15, 2015. Technically, Weinstein has been on the producing team of several Broadway shows in the past such as The Producers and Billy Elliot, but his involvement with those shows was almost exclusively financial. With Finding Neverland, he takes on the full producing responsibility for the first time on Broadway. Unfortunately, Broadway is proving a tough nut to crack, even for a man as powerful as Weinstein. The most important recognition that a show can receive is the Tony Award, and Finding Neverland was nominated for a grand total of zero of these awards. Proving the hostility Weinstein felt towards the Broadway community, he rescinded the invitations to the approximately 700 Tony voters, who are generally offered a free pair of tickets to all shows on Broadway. Though he had already sent out those invitations prior to the nominations, he bitterly revoked the offer upon the show receiving no nominations.

A Pitiful Series of Reviewsfinding neverland

In line with the Tony nominating committee’s decision not to recognize Finding Neverland, the show received almost entirely negative reviews after its opening night. Ben Brantley of The New York Times disdained the show, not falling for the strength of the brand name of the show or its stars, Kelsey Grammer and Matthew Morrison. David Cote of Time Out New York was equally unimpressed, calling the show awkward, garish, and manipulative. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter reported that the show was severely lacking in charm, despite admitting that it is probably critic-proof due to the strong brand name and pre-opening ticket sales. Jesse Green of Vulture found the show utterly false and therefore deeply frustrating. Robert Kahn of NBC New York was only slightly more generous, admitting there is some thrilling stage magic but ultimately finding it erratic. However, as The Hollywood Reporter presaged, the show is proving immune to these negative reviews, as it has been over the million dollar mark at the box office for every full week of its run so far.

Strong Box Office and Celebrity Album

finding neverlandThough Weinstein may be aggravated by the lack of full welcome to the Broadway community, his ticketbuyers don’t seem to be devastated. In the most recently reported week of ticket sales, the week ending May 24, 2015, Finding Neverland brought in a weekly gross of $1,107,925, which is almost exactly how much the weekly gross has been since its first full week ending March 22, 2015, give or take $100,000 at the most. That weekly gross represents 75.06% of the show’s gross potential, and the audience capacity was an average of 94.2% full. Therefore, there is some room for growth still in the box office grosses, but failing motivation from Tony recognition or critical appreciation, Weinstein is trying another approach. One innovation he has introduced is that he is releasing an album of celebrities singing the score for Finding Neverland, though most of these celebrities are not involved with the show. This is pure promotion, and Weinstein clearly knows how to pull a lot of strings. The extensive list of impressive singers on the album include Christina Aguilera, Nick Jonas, Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend, the Goo Goo Dolls, Kiesza, Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding, and Matthew Morrison, only the last of which is actually in the cast of the show. The album is to be released on June 9, 2015 via Republic Records, although pre-sales started on May 12, 2015. In addition to providing another income stream for the show, this album is sure to spur continued interest in the Broadway musical, which is still looking for that last boost to reach its full gross potential.