Constantine Maroulis Returning to “Rock of Ages”

Returning to His “Rock” Roots

Rock of Ages Broadway Musical celebrates RocktoberfestConstantine Maroulis, who originated the role of the protagonist Drew in the Broadway production of Rock of Ages, has returned to the role for a limited 12 week engagement. Maroulis first sang the part onstage in October 2008, when the show had its New York premiere in an Off-Broadway production at New World Stages. When the show transferred to Broadway in March 2009, Maroulis went with it. At the time, he had been on Broadway once before, as a two-month replacement in fall 2006 as Sammy in The Wedding Singer musical. For his role in Rock of Ages, Maroulis was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He then set out on the show’s national tour, in September 2010, traveling to sixty venues including Washington D.C. Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale. On August 4, 2014, Constantine returned to the Helen Hayes Theatre where he will reprise his role for 12 weeks.

From “American Idol” to “Jekyll and Hyde”

MaroConstantine Maroulis stars in the Jekyll & Hyde Tourulis first entered the national consciousness in 2004, when he made it to the final six contestants on the fourth season of

American Idol. As earlier seasons of Idol made an even bigger difference in the careers of contestants than later seasons, Maroulis saw a significant boost from this success. He launched a solo career in 2005, and amongst other performances, he premiered a New York show called “A Night at the Rock Show” in September 2009. Other stage credits include the Off-Broadway shows Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. He also played the role of Roger in the National Tour of Rent. His third and thus far only other Broadway credit began in April 2013, when he played the lead role of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde in Jekyll and Hyde. Prior to this Broadway run, he traveled with the show for a 25 week National Tour.

“Rock of Ages” Continues to Rock

Though Constantine has been pursuing other endeavors since he completed the Rock of Ages national tour in July 2011, the show has been alive and well. With a book by Chris D’Arienzo and featuring a jukebox of classic 1980s rock hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Here I Go Again,” “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” and “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” it has been playing to continuously appreciative houses at the Helen Hayes Theatre ever since. Furthermore, a fairly successful film was released in 2012 starring Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Cruise, Bryan Cranston, Mary J. Blige, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, and Diego Boneta in the role of Drew. The show will surely get a boost from Constantine’s return, but perhaps he is pursuing this opportunity for his own interest as much as because it will benefit the show. After all, he has a long way before his name is box office gold, although he has seen great success in his three Broadway outings. In any case, he is surely a face to watch on Broadway, and his voice will continue to soar to amazing heights.

Poor Movie Reviews for Eastwood’s “Jersey Boys” Damage Dodgers’ Gravy Train

The Dodgers’ Hopes for Jersey Boys Are Dashed

Jersey Boys Broadway MusicalDodger Theatricals, the producing team behind Broadway’s Jersey Boys, hasn’t had any new tricks in a while. Their most recent Broadway production is Matilda, which has been running since April 2013. Though that show has been performing quite well at the box office, the Dodgers are only second in command there, hanging onto the coattails of the Royal Shakespeare Company who originally produced the musical in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ biggest hit in the last decade is the jukebox musical Jersey Boys, based on the life and incorporating the music of The Four Seasons. Jersey Boys has been running since November 2005 at the August Wilson Theatre, often to stupendous feats of success. Not only did the show win the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical (amongst its 4 wins and 8 nominations), but it has had excellent box office success over the years. It broke the August Wilson Theatre’s box office record for highest weekly gross for the 30th time in January 2010, and it is presently the 14th longest running show on Broadway.

Jersey Boys filmThe “Jersey Boys” Movie

In light of this success, the decision was made to adapt Jersey Boys into a film, following in the tradition of many musical to movie adaptations of recent years including Les Misérables, Chicago, Hairspray, and Rent. Unlike all of those adaptations, however, the biggest name involved with Jersey Boys is the director, Clint Eastwood. Eastwood opted to choose actors from the stage musical casts rather than filling it with big Hollywood stars. The theory was that the name of the property itself – Jersey Boys – would be enough to attract large audiences to the movie theater. However, the movie received mixed reviews, and the box office response has been fairly modest. With a budget of $40 million, the film has so far posted a domestic gross of $46,377,524 as of August 7, 2014. Though this is less than 2 months past its release date of June 20, 2014, expectations were that the box office response would be greater.

Film Reception Not Improving Broadway Grosses As Hoped

Though the Dodgers are not producers on the film, it is certain that their licensing agreement allowed for a cut of the profits of the movie. More importantly, they must have been hoping that a successful movie run would indirectly boost profits for the still running Broadway production, as the brand power of the show would increase. However, Jersey Boys on Broadway is nowhere near the financial heights that it once had reached. When it broke the theatre’s box office record, for example, it had grossed $1,440,456 in a week. Though this summer has been more successful than the spring and winter that preceded it, the box offices grosses since June have still only been hovering around $800,000 to $900,000, which is around 70% to 80% of the box office gross potential. Therefore, to the disappointment of the floundering Dodgers, the movie does not seem to be re-launching Jersey Boys as a top grossing hit.

Have The Dodgers Run Out Of Good Ideas?

Matilda Broadway Musical Roald DahlMoreover, Micheal David’s Dodgers seem to be losing steam on their own development, as they haven’t announced a new show in a while. Before Matilda, their most recent show was a revue, An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin, and before that it was the notorious flop Elling which only ran for a total of nine regular performances in November 2010. Resting on the success of the RSC’s Matilda, the Dodgers now seem to have run out of good ideas. Unfortunately, it does not look like the Jersey Boys movie was the golden ticket that had been hoping for and David and his renegade team will be looking for a way out, creatively speaking, pretty soon.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 8/03/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Soars Above the Pack

This past week, Hedwig and the Angry Inch may not have earned the highest gross, but it earned the highest amount in terms of percentage of gross potential. Whereas Wicked and The Lion King play in enormous theatres that allow them to gross over $2 million, Hedwig is playing in the Belasco theatre (which is only just over 1,000 seats), and yet it managed to earn 127.25% of its gross potential this past week. With a weekly gross of $1,061,754, the average paid ticket was an astounding $147.18, and the top ticket price is $248.00. Furthermore, the show is only mounted 7 times a week, whereas most all other shows play 8 performances a week. It is therefore especially impressive that audience demand has allowed this show to flourish so brilliantly at the box office.

“Bullets over Broadway” and “Violet” Floundering in Their Final Weeks.

These two musicals have already announced closing, but that announcement does not seem to have upped their box office sales. Bullets over Broadway, based on the Woody Allen film of the same name, will close on August 24, 2014, having played only 156 performances. This past week, it was at the bottom of the pack in terms of gross potential, having earned only 42.29% of this potential with a weekly gross of $641,157. That was a decrease of $22,793 from the week prior. Furthermore, the previous week also saw a decrease of $22,743 compared to the week before that. Meanwhile, the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Violet starring Sutton Foster has announced that it will close on August 10, 2014, after only 128 performances. This past week, the show was second to the bottom in terms of gross potential, having earned only 47.42% of that potential with a weekly gross of $365,789. Though this early closing is a disappointment, especially as Foster is such a big star, Roundabout is better equipped to handle this loss with its not-for-profit status than a commercial production would be.

 

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending August 3, 2014:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-8-03-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $950,133 7,322 100.91% $129.76
ALADDIN $1,570,266 13,784 100.00% $113.92
BEAUTIFUL $1,308,762 8,141 99.18% $160.76
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $641,157 9,028 69.23% $71.02
CABARET $839,690 6,868 96.14% $122.26
CHICAGO $614,092 7,583 87.77% $80.98
CINDERELLA $785,390 10,562 75.40% $74.36
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,061,754 7,214 102.34% $147.18
IF/THEN $780,181 8,533 81.36% $91.43
JERSEY BOYS $867,352 8,578 87.32% $101.11
KINKY BOOTS $1,245,947 10,972 96.31% $113.56
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $529,942 4,551 95.33% $116.45
LES MISÉRABLES $1,081,040 10,796 95.78% $100.13
MAMMA MIA! $804,605 8,938 95.82% $90.02
MATILDA $1,201,174 11,546 100.79% $104.03
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,016,377 10,893 90.35% $93.31
NEWSIES $919,050 9,289 97.99% $98.94
ONCE $512,632 6,840 80.74% $74.95
PIPPIN $615,505 7,308 92.27% $84.22
ROCK OF AGES $378,386 4,137 88.70% $91.46
ROCKY $767,519 10,152 83.71% $75.60
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,645,580 8,752 102.63% $188.02
THE LION KING $2,559,076 15,306 100.04% $167.19
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,149,037 12,647 98.50% $90.85
VIOLET $365,789 5,309 90.41% $68.90
WICKED $2,181,109 16,746 97.21% $130.25
Totals: $26,391,544 241,795 92.55% $106.95

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

“Lady Day” Recoups on Broadway

Continual Extensions, and a Financial Hit

microphoneLady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, the play with music starring Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday, has recouped its investment and will conclude its run having earned a substantial profit. Running at the modest sized Circle in the Square Theater since March 25, 2014, with its official opening on April 13, 2014, this production has been extended three times, and is now slated to run until September 21, 2014 (with a hiatus between September 1st to 7th). With a budget of $2.6 million, the play was performing only mediocrely at the box office until June, when Audra McDonald took home the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play. Since then, the show has taken in between 80 and 90% of its gross potential each week. The weekly grosses are lower than many other shows due to the small seating capacity of the theatre, but audience demand nevertheless allowed the show to enter profits.

Audra McDonald Draws in the Audiences

The critical response to the show was mixed, but reviewers unanimously lauded McDonald’s performance as Holiday at the end Actress singer Audra McDonald red carpet event black dressof her career. The plot piles in the more tragic elements of Holiday’s life, and some reviewers felt that this storytelling was contrived. However, McDonald – a favorite with theatregoers, Tony voters, and critics – was praised for her ability to tone down her magnificent voice to communicate the sadder period of Holiday’s career, and yet she still managed to convey a rich and expressive tone. The production, directed by Lonny Price, was nominated for one more Tony Award beyond McDonald’s, that for Best Sound Design of a Play (Steve Canyon Kennedy), which it did not win. The Tony committee deemed that the show was eligible for the award of Best Revival of a Play, which was controversial both because the play had never been done on Broadway, and because it is full of music. However, the committee felt it was best categorized as a play with music.

The Play’s History

Lady Day was written by Lanie Robertson with its original premiere in 1986 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. The play also ran Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in 1986, running for 281 performances. The Broadway production, produced by Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, was originally scheduled for a 10-week limited engagement, but awards recognition and audience support allowed the show to continually announce extensions. With many weeks now left to go, the show will conclude its run significantly in the black.

Recoupment on Broadway This Season

Several other shows have announced recoupment this season. Most recently, Of Mice and Men starring James Franco ended its run having passed the line into profits. A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, also made back its investment, while also performing excellently both critically and in terms of awards. Furthermore, All the Way starring Bryan Cranston recouped its investment, having won the Tony Award for Best Play. Finally, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is still running indefinitely after having won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, has already announced recoupment. This goes to show that in general, Tony Awards make a huge difference at the box office, especially for the four major awards (Best Play, Best Musical, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Revival of a Musical), as well as the Best Performance categories.

“Of Mice and Men” Concludes Its Run

A Magnificent Financial Success

Of Mice and Men with James Franco and Chris O'DowdThis year’s revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, and Leighton Meester, concluded performances this past Sunday, July 27, 2014. Having begun performances on March 19, 2014 at the Longacre Theatre, the play officially opened on April 16, 2014. Directed by Anna D. Shapiro (Motherf**ker with the Hat), this production received moderate to positive reviews, but it succeeded in becoming a record-breaking financial hit. With a budget of $3.8 million, the play recouped its capitalization in just 12 weeks of its 19 week run. With sales doing well but not extraordinarily throughout the bulk of the run, Of Mice and Men saw a huge upsurge in box office in its final week of performances, earning $1,038,106 over the course of 8 performances. With just over 100 seats, the Longacre Theatre has never seen a gross this high; in fact, it marks the first time a show in this theatre has broken the million dollar mark.

National Theatre Live

The production also locked down another notable achievement in its final weeks. The National Theatre Live series produced by the National Theatre in London, which films live performances to be screened to 500 movie theaters around the world, has chosen Of Mice and Men as the first ever Broadway production to be filmed for its series. In fact, this is the first time a non-British production has been chosen for this prestigious scheme allowing it to be seen so accessibly worldwide. So far, the National Theatre Live series has filmed and screened 40 productions. After the final public performance on Sunday, July 27, 2014, instead of loading out of the theatre on Monday, the crew loaded in the equipment of the National Theatre. On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, the cast performed the play once more to be filmed, this time for a select group of invited guests. Although this would generally break many union requirements, the show’s producers have come to agreement with all the relevant unions.

The Cult of James Franco

The play earned two Tony Award nominations – those for Best Leading Actor for Chris O’Dowd and for Japhy Weideman for james francoLighting Design – but it won neither. A notable snub was that James Franco was not nominated for an award, although the press surrounding the show is overwhelming in his regard. This is possibly because the theatre community resented Franco’s entitled egotism, which he displayed prominently on social media following a negative review by the most respected New York Times theatre critic, Ben Brantley. In any event, the show’s reviews did not seem to deter ticket buyers, as those who wanted to see the show would not be put off by some niche bad theatre press. After all, James Franco’s influence is gigantic and increasingly so, as he continues to expand into more and more domains. During the period in which he was performing in this Broadway show eight times a week, which is usually enough to occupy any actor, he also directed an Off-Broadway show at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre called The Long Shrift, not to mention his numerous other commitments ranging from teaching acting in Los Angeles, to running his film production outfit Rabbit Bandini, to performing and directing in numerous film projects. In this light, the cult of James Franco does not seem to be slowing its pace anytime soon, and Broadway is another box he can tick on his infinite list of achievements.

Broadway Dims Its Lights for Elaine Stritch

On Thursday, July 17, 2014, Elaine Stritch, the notorious and viscerally talented star of stage and cabaret, died at the age of 89. The following evening at 7:45pm, every Broadway marquis dimmed its lights in her honor for one minute. This is a long Broadway tradition only given to truly eternal contributors to the world of Broadway, and Elaine Stritch is certainly one of them.

elaine stritch

A Long and Lauded Career

Stritch first performed on Broadway in 1946, playing the role of Pamela Brewster in a play called Loco. Her first major recognition came from her performance as Melba Snyder in the 1952 revival of the musical Pal Joey, when she famously performed a song called “Zip!”. She earned her first Tony Award in 1956, earning the honor of Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as a waitress named Grace Hoylard in William Inge’s Bus Stop. Her next Tony Award came in 1962, when she won the award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Mimi Paragon in Noël Coward’s Sail Away. Perhaps the role for which she is best remembered, however, is Joanne in Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Not only did she win the 1971 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance, but her rendition of “Ladies Who Lunch” will always be definitive. She also won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance in 1996.

elaine stritch at libertyCabaret Performance and Documentary

More recently, Stritch performed a one-woman show entitled Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, which premiered Off-Broadway at the Public Theater in 2001, then transferring to Broadway in 2002. This show earned the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. Directed by George C. Wolfe and with a book by John Lahr (or rather the technical credits are Constructed by John Lahr, and Reconstructed by Elaine Stritch), the cabaret show then toured to London’s Old Vic Theatre, and it was also filmed for a TV documentary. Furthermore, Stritch was the subject of a 2014 documentary film entitled Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, which received a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and includes interviews with her friends such as Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, James Gandolfini, Cherry Jones, Nathan Lane, Harold Prince, John Turturro, and George C. Wolfe.

Personal Life

Stritch was candid about her long struggle with alcoholism. In the beginning of her career, this gave her credit as a woman who could challenge a man at anything, even drinking, but as the years progressed she admitted it as a problem, and supposed it as a cause for her later onset of diabetes. She began to drink at age 14 in order to overcome stage fright, but her drinking got worse after her husband’s passing. As recounted in her cabaret show, Stritch has had romances over the years with Marlon Brando, elaine stritchGig Young, and Ben Gazzara, and was married for a short time to John Bay, until his death in 1982.

In the final years of her life, she retired to her home state of Michigan. She died in her sleep in her home in Birmingham at the age of 89. Upon news of her passing, not only did Broadway dim their lights, but countless obituaries surfaced from many individuals – some very renowned – who loved her very dearly.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/27/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Of Mice and Men” Breaks a Million in its Final Week

The revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men played its final performance on Sunday, July 27, 2014.  Starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, and Leighton Meester, the show attracted a fair amount of press attention upon its premiere; however the reviews were mixed, with the celebrity appeal and inherent value of the classic play superseding actual praise for the production.  Nevertheless, in its final week, audiences flocked to catch Franco in his last moments onstage.  The weekly gross last week was $1,038,106, which was the first week the show broke through the million dollar mark.  It was also the first time it earned over 100% of its gross capacity, coming in at 109.97%.  The average ticket price was also at a high of $121.06.  The show even beat out some major musicals including this year’s Tony Award winning show A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.  These sales were likely helped by the recent announcement that this production will be the first Broadway show ever to be recorded and screened live as part of the National Theatre Live screening series.

“Violet” Gasping for Air

This Roundabout musical starring Sutton Foster has already announced its closing date: August 10, 2014.  In its final weeks, it is at the bottom of the Broadway barrel.  This past week, it grossed only $357,776, which was only 46.38% of its gross potential.  This is quite low, especially for a musical.  However, because it is produced by a not-for-profit theatre institution, this musical does not face the same commercial pressures as most Broadway shows that are fronted by private funds.  With a top ticket price of $142.00, the show’s average ticket price this week was $73.74.  Still, though Violet earned the title of lowest grossing show this week, it was beat out by one show in terms of lowest percentage earned of its gross potential. Bullets over Broadway, which has also announced its closing date of August 24, 2014, grossed a higher amount of $663,950 this past week.  However, because it is in a larger theatre with a greater earning capacity, it managed to bring in only 43.80% of its gross potential.  This musical, unlike Violet, is not backed by a not-for-profit theatre institution.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 27, 2014:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-7-27-14

Show GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $944,778 7,330 101.02% $128.89
ALADDIN $1,512,464 13,775 99.93% $109.80
BEAUTIFUL $1,315,468 8,272 100.78% $159.03
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $663,950 8,985 68.90% $73.90
CABARET $834,470 6,790 95.04% $122.90
CHICAGO $626,904 7,598 87.94% $82.51
CINDERELLA $824,605 11,262 80.40% $73.22
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,068,441 7,212 102.31% $148.15
IF/THEN $822,516 9,283 88.51% $88.60
JERSEY BOYS $902,008 9,085 92.48% $99.29
KINKY BOOTS $1,305,460 10,997 96.53% $118.71
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $556,537 4,654 97.49% $119.58
LES MISÉRABLES $1,081,661 10,886 96.58% $99.36
MAMMA MIA! $788,598 8,863 95.02% $88.98
MATILDA $1,196,994 11,540 100.73% $103.73
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $991,495 10,220 84.77% $97.02
NEWSIES $896,763 9,461 99.80% $94.79
OF MICE AND MEN $1,038,106 8,575 99.90% $121.06
ONCE $472,176 6,218 73.39% $75.94
PIPPIN $676,450 7,673 96.88% $88.16
ROCK OF AGES $360,045 4,148 88.94% $86.80
ROCKY $701,805 9,278 76.50% $75.64
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,640,549 8,752 102.63% $187.45
THE LION KING $2,304,798 13,604 100.03% $169.42
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,140,517 12,634 98.40% $90.27
VIOLET $357,776 4,852 82.63% $73.74
WICKED $2,012,891 15,423 99.99% $130.51
Totals: $27,038,224 247,370 92.87% $107.68

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

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Recoups on Broadway

An Astounding Success

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

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

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

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

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

Shubert Organization Plans to Purchase New World Stages

Just One Block From Broadway

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

Presently Owned by “Rocky” Producers Stage Entertainment

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

Joop van den Ende of Stage Entertainment

Joop van den Ende of Stage Entertainment

A New Angle on Off-Broadway for the Shuberts

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

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” Concludes Its Run

Daniel Radcliffe Takes His Final Bow

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

A Critical But Not Commercial Success

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

Daniel Radcliffe, The Gentleman

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