“Rocky” Announces Early Closing in August

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

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

A Financial Loss

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

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

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

What Lies Ahead

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

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

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

The Biggest Winner Was the Biggest Loser

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

Plays Picking Up As They Near Closing

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

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

Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-7-13-14

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

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

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

Bill Rauch’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival

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

“All The Way” Begins Its Ascent To Vast Success

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

Making Broadway History

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

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

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

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

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

A Summer of Musicals

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

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

“The Realistic Joneses” Was An Underappreciated Play This Season

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

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

Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-7-06-14

 

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

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

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