“The Visit” Closes on Broadway

The Last Collaboration Between John Kander and Fred Ebb

Visit-Broadway-Musical-Chita-Rivera-Tickets-176-012818On March 26, 2015, The Visit began previews at the Lyceum Theatre. This was the last collaboration by John Kander and Fred Ebb, who were also the creators of Chicago, Cabaret, and The Scottsboro Boys. Upon its official opening night on April 23, 2015, it received firmly mixed reviews, with some critics praising the musical but others being more on the fence. Like most musicals, the show began with an open-ended run, but it has now officially closed as of June 14, 2015. The musical was one of only four shows nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical, along with the victorious Fun Home as well as An American in Paris and Something Rotten! However, nobody really expected The Visit to win that award, as the box office grosses were dire from the beginning, never reaching beyond $250,000 in a given week. The show was also nominated for the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, honoring the 82 year-old Chita Rivera for her starring role. However, that award went to Kelli O’Hara for The King and I. Having won no Tony Awards, and performing poorly at the box office, the producers had no choice but to close this show, which had been on its last legs for a long time.

Struggles at the Box Officechita rivera roger rees

In the final week of its run, The Visit made its highest weekly gross of $274,465, which still only represented 35.99% of its gross potential. Its lowest week took place in the week ending May 31, 2015, when the show brought in only $149,032, representing 19.54% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $225.00, the average paid admission each week fluctuated between $34.45 and $59.50. Therefore, even in its best week there was a heavy amount of discounting to fill seats so that those audience members who had paid full price, or anything at all, for their tickets would feel that they were getting a fuller experience. The highest percentage of audience capacity was reached in the show’s first partial week of five performances, when the audience was filled up to an average of 79.5%. Still, on most weeks the audience was only 50% to 60% full. All productions have an agreement with the theatre landlord called a “stop clause,” whereby the landlord has a right to evict the production if its weekly gross is below a certain specified amount for a certain number of weeks in a row. With such low numbers, it is possible that The Visit was dangerously close to, if not in violation of, its stop clause, and perhaps the Shubert Organization allowed the show to remain in reverence to Fred Ebb, John Kander, and Chita Rivera, awaiting the Tony Award results. However, when the show received no awards, there was nothing left to hope for.

A Future Beyond Broadway

Nevertheless, a Kander and Ebb musical is still a valuable property to own the rights to, even if the Broadway run was a disappointment. As memory fades, diehard theatre fans will continue to remember the piece, and the show will likely receive productions all over the country on a range of levels. Furthermore, the music will be used for theatre auditions and the scores will be sold in published form. There is still a way for the producers to continue to make some money on their investment. Still, it only made $1,963,656 throughout the entire run, which is certainly nowhere near its entire capitalization, especially when running costs are added to the mix. Therefore, the show will certainly go down in history as a financial loss, but not a complete failure due to its Tony Award nomination for Best Musical.

“Skylight” Completes Run on a High Note

Tony Award Winning Best Revival Concludes Run

skylight posterOn June 21, 2015, Skylight played its final performance of its Tony Award winning run. It had been running since it began previews on March 13, 2015, and opening night took place on April 2, 2015. Skylight is a play by David Hare (The Year of Magical Thinking, The Vertical Hour) the premiered in the West End in 1995, followed by a Broadway premiere in 1996. The 2015 revival at the John Golden Theatre is likewise a transfer from the West End, where Stephen Daldry’s production ran in 2014. Stephen Daldry is the extremely prolific theatre director whose credits this season alone also include the highly acclaimed Broadway production of The Audience, as well as earlier productions on Broadway of Billy Elliot: The Musical, An Inspector Calls, and Via Dolorosa, the last of which was also written by David Hare. This revival of Skylight was nominated for seven Tony Awards, taking home only one but a prestigious one: the award for Best Revival of a Play. Of the three actors in the play – Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy, and Matthew Beard – all received nominations for their performances, which were, respectively, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. Stephen Daldry received a nomination for his direction, and the scenic designer and lighting designer were also honored with nominations.

Recoupment and Escalating Box Officecarey mulligan bill nighy skylight

On May 31, 2015, Skylight announced that it had recouped its initial capitalization, which is suspected to be in the realm of $3 million. Its highest weekly gross was achieved in the final week of performances, when the show brought in $927,539, representing 108.09% of its gross potential. The penultimate week was also an excellent one for Skylight’s box office, bringing in $865,346, which represents 100.85% of its gross potential. Though it took the final two weeks to reach the heights of 100% or higher of gross potential, the box office throughout the run was really not bad. With only two minor exceptions, every single week showed an increase in box office from the week before. In the first full week of eight performances, the week ending March 29, 2015, the weekly gross was $618,692, representing 76.54% of its gross potential. The only two occasions where the box office took a dip from the week before were the week ending May 10, 2015, and the week ending May 31, 2015, which were the insignificant decreases of $12,606 and $16,475, respectively. Therefore, ticket buyers became more interested in Skylight as the run went on, due likely to positive word of mouth, reviews, and then the announcement of Tony nominations and wins.

Another Coup for Scott Rudin

The lead producers of Skylight were Robert Fox and Scott Rudin. Rudin is known for his excellent productions of both new plays and revivals, generally starring a major Hollywood name. This season alone, Rudin was also responsible for the already recouped Fish in the Dark, the highly acclaimed A Delicate Balance, and the excellent revival of This Is Our Youth. He also had a hand in The Audience, The River, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. In previous seasons, he has mounted such hits as The Book of Mormon, Death of a Salesman starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Motherf**ker with the Hat, and countless others. Therefore, an investment with Rudin is generally a good bet, as is buying a ticket to a show that he has produced.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/21/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Gigi” and “Skylight” See Rise in Final Week

In the week ending June 21, 2015, both Gigi and Skylight played their final week of performances. Gigi was nominated for no Tony Awards and received mixed to negative reviews, and therefore its closing was on somewhat of a disappointing note. Still, in its last week, Gigi saw an upturn of sales with the last chance fans rushing to catch Vanessa Hudgens in the title role, and Victoria Clark in the acclaimed supporting role of Mamita. This past week, Gigi brought in $619,008, which is an increase of $110,365 from the week before. In the previous week, its penultimate week of performances, sales also went up, that time by $106,697. However, in the previous three weeks before that, sales decreased on a weekly basis, so it was only in the last two weeks that sales saw an upsurge due to scarcity of remaining performances. This past week, the show brought in 46.01% of its gross potential, which is the almost the highest potential reached of any week. With a top ticket price of $198.00, the average paid admission in Gigi’s final week was $75.98. Skylight is a completely different story. Skylight was nominated for several Tony Awards and took home the award for Best Revival of a Play. It received excellent reviews, and performed very well throughout its run. Still, like with Gigi, in its final two weeks sales went even higher. In the week ending July 21, 2015, Skylight brought in $927,539, which was 108.09% of its gross potential, by far the highest gross of the run. The previous week, the gross was $865,346, which was 100.85% of the gross potential. Therefore, Skylight went out on a high note, averaging $144.57 for paid admission and filling up 100.0% of the audience capacity.

An Overall Static Week on Broadway

This past week, the entire Broadway industry saw an increase of only $349,473. With 30 shows running that week, that averages to be an increase of $11,649 per show. In actuality, 11 shows saw a decrease in sales, and 19 shows saw an increase in sales. From a macro perspective, the industry stayed relatively static from the week before. The greatest increase was seen by Gigi, and the second greatest by Skylight, as discussed in the previous paragraph. The biggest decrease was seen by Wolf Hall Parts One and Two, which brought in $467,890, a decrease of $114,082 from the week before. While the show received a lot of recognition from the Tony Awards, it seems to have nearly saturated its demand prior to its closing in early July. In addition, It Shoulda Been You saw a decrease of $58,885, bringing in a weekly gross of $344,196, which represents only 34.73% of its gross potential. Still, overall the Broadway industry stayed fairly constant this week, without too much extreme fluctuation.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 21, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-06-21-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $587,784 6,465 89.10% $90.92
ALADDIN $1,625,997 13,792 100.06% $117.89
AN ACT OF GOD $890,098 7,156 88.92% $124.38
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,440,627 13,391 99.69% $107.58
BEAUTIFUL $993,120 7,734 94.23% $128.41
CHICAGO $718,511 8,533 98.76% $84.20
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,132,133 11,703 97.27% $96.74
FISH IN THE DARK $849,330 7,770 90.52% $109.31
FUN HOME $744,646 6,129 103.53% $121.50
GIGI $619,008 8,147 73.58% $75.98
HAND TO GOD $415,154 4,784 77.46% $86.78
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $479,292 5,024 71.27% $95.40
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $344,196 5,350 66.08% $64.34
JERSEY BOYS $680,486 7,058 71.84% $96.41
KINKY BOOTS $867,192 8,458 74.25% $102.53
LES MISÉRABLES $659,355 8,550 75.85% $77.12
MAMMA MIA! $782,060 8,624 92.45% $90.68
MATILDA $1,044,453 11,375 99.29% $91.82
ON THE TOWN $558,807 9,118 60.82% $61.29
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $582,490 5,620 97.30% $103.65
SKYLIGHT $927,539 6,416 100.00% $144.57
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,169,433 12,241 91.79% $95.53
THE AUDIENCE $1,206,318 7,612 101.72% $158.48
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,517,932 8,752 102.63% $173.44
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $919,935 7,914 97.18% $116.24
THE KING AND I $1,154,506 8,264 98.66% $139.70
THE LION KING $2,154,719 13,600 100.00% $158.44
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $982,442 11,419 88.93% $86.04
WICKED $1,947,674 15,331 99.50% $127.04
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $467,890 4,923 44.50% $95.04
Total $28,463,126 261,253 88.24% $107.38

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

“Gigi” Concludes Its Run on Broadway

Negative Reviews, No Tony Love, and Inadequate Sales

gigi vanessa hudgensWhen Gigi began previews on March 19, 2015 at the Neil Simon Theatre, the first-time Broadway producer Jenna Segal had high hopes. She had shepherded this revival through substantial revisions to make it more suitable for modern day sensibilities, and she had found a bonafide star to play the title role: Vanessa Hudgens, making her Broadway debut no less. However, the community was fairly unwelcoming to this novice stage producer, which was demonstrating by the revival’s failure to receive any Tony nominations or awards. When the show opened on April 8, 2015, the reviews were mixed to negative, with most critics disliking the show for its bland attempts at political correctness and its overly bubbly efforts to dazzle without substance. Though Hudgens’ performance was praised, as was that of Victoria Clark who played Mamita, this was not enough to make the overall impression a positive one for reviewers. The musical did have a chance to perform at the Tonys, with Hudgens singing “The Night They Invented Champagne” along with the ensemble cast, but the highly theatrically and admittedly corny number did not sit well with broadcast audiences, and sales continued to be disappointing.

Unable to Achieve Even Half of Its Gross Potentialgigi-broadway-vanessa-hudgens

Since the show began performances, the highest weekly gross was $635,256, which occurred in the week ending April 12, 2015, shortly after the reviews came out. However, that response was very short lived, and probably was mostly made up of fans of Vanessa Hudgens who hadn’t yet heard she was on Broadway. However, a tween star has a limited marketing potential for Broadway audiences, who usually tend to average around age 55 and female. Therefore, other than that one week, the highest weekly gross was $585,448, which represents 49.44% of the show’s gross potential. The lowest gross earned thus far was $401,946, taking place in the week ending June 7, 2015, the week leading up to the Tony Awards. The following week, the show did see a jump to $508,643, which represents 37.81% of the show’s gross potential. However, that is not enough to allow this musical to persist on Broadway, as it has announced the closing date will be at the end of this week: June 21, 2015. The top ticket price is not abominably high at $198.00, and yet the average paid admission ranged from $65 to $80, demonstrating a heavy amount of discounting. Therefore, despite all the producers’ greatest efforts at marketing, much of which was done over social media, this show just couldn’t take off.

Demonstrating the Limited Power of Social Media on Broadway

Whereas social media has proven itself to be a force to be reckoned with in many other forms of entertainment, Broadway has been slow to embrace this marketing method. Gigi was an exception, with the producers aiming to leverage Hudgens’ young fan base. However, this wasn’t enough to make the show a hit at the box office. Though there is still potential for Broadway to catch up with the world in terms of how information is spread, it appears that theatre remains in the world of “old school,” with direct mail still functioning as a more effective marketing tool than social media. It is true that email blasts and websites are a major source of ticket sales and marketing, but social media is still proving a tough nut to crack for Broadway.

“Skylight” and “Fish in the Dark” Recoup

Tony Winning Revival “Skylight” Recoups Its Investment

skylight posterAmong the shows this season that have earned enough profits to recoup their initial capitalization, Skylight managed achieved this crucial marker of success in the week before the Tony Awards. The show has been running in previews since March 13, 2015 at the John Golden Theatre, and its official opening night was on April 2, 2015, after which it earned magnificent reviews. Skylight has been regularly bringing in grosses between $700,000 and $800,000 per week since this opening, with the highest weekly gross yet achieved this past week, the week ending June 14, 2015: $865,346. For the first time, the show broke through the 100% of gross potential mark, bringing in 100.85% of its gross potential with an average paid admission of $134.87. Though it was not revealed what the initial capitalization was for this show, the producers Scott Rudin and Robert Fox have done well for themselves, as recoupment was announced on May 31, 2015. It may have helped that this week the highest paid admission was raised from $297.00 to $323.00, but it is nevertheless undeniable that audience members were keen to catch this show before its closing next week on June 21, 2015.

Tony Snubbed Play “Fish in the Dark” Also Recoupslarry david  jason alexander

Unlike Skylight, which recouped after earning rave reviews and significant recognition from the Tony committee, Fish in the Dark achieved this honor after earning none of the other accolades. Fish in the Dark, written by and starring Larry David, began previews on February 2, 2015, and opened on March 5, 2015 at the Cort Theatre. This play has more than just financial success in common with Skylight; both plays are also produced by Scott Rudin, who certainly knows how to pick them. Fish in the Dark received a mixture of negative and blasé reviews, and it was not nominated for a single Tony award. However, Larry David still had the honor of presenting the Tony Award for Best Musical at the ceremony, alongside Jason Alexander who has recently replaced him in the starring role of Fish in the Dark. Despite a lack of success in the press and awards, the play achieved success in the way that ultimately matters most to producers: financial success. Recoupment was announced on May 20, 2015. Although the producers would not specify what the capitalization was, Variety speculated that it was between $3 million and $4 million, due to the large cast and A-list talent involved. The highest gross achieved thus far by Fish in the Dark took place in the week ending June 7, 2015, the week approaching the Tony Awards, when it brought in $1,246,196, representing 119.73% of its gross potential. The top ticket price is a whomping $497.00, and the average paid admission that week was $142.98. Still, since Jason Alexander took over in the following week, grosses have significantly diminished.

Skylight’s Tony Success

Skylight was nominated for seven Tony Awards, but only won one; still this was arguably the most coveted of the awards for which it was nominated: Best Revival of a Play. The other nominations it received were Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for Bill Nighy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Carey Mulligan, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Matthew Beard, Best Scenic Design of a Play for Bob Crowley, Best Lighting Design of a Play for Natasha Katz, and Best Direction of a Play for Stephen Daldry. Daldry, who also directed the highly acclaimed and financially successful The Audience, was nominated just for Skylight. However, in this case the Tony voters believed that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, for it won the Tony Award that sums them all up: Best Revival. Fish in the Dark, on the other hand, received no Tony Awards, but made an even bigger splash at the box office with weekly grosses over $1 million every week in which Larry David appeared.

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.