Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/20/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“The Cripple of Inishmaan” Ends on a High Note

The Daniel Radcliffe led revival of The Cripple of Inishmaan concluded performances this Sunday, July 20, 2014.  Throughout its run, box office sales were somewhat of a disappointment, hovering around $500,000 for the weekly gross.  However, in the final week of its run, fans did turn out to catch the Harry Potter star in his final performances.  In that week, the gross was a record for the show at $740,711, which was 76.35% of its gross potential.  Prior to this past week, the highest percentage for gross potential for any full performance week was 66.37%.  With an average ticket price of $88.63, the show was filled up to an average 97.4% capacity in the week ending July 20, 2014.

“Holler If Ya Hear Me” Also Ramps It Up, But Still at the Bottom of the Pack

Also closing on Sunday, July 20, 2014 was the Tupac Shakur inspired musical Holler if Ya Hear Me.  Unlike The Cripple of Inishmaan, this show closed much earlier than expected.  Still, in its final week, sales did increase, with a weekly gross of $266,984.  Still, that was only 29.11% of its gross potential.  Only running since June 2, 2014, this musical’s highest weekly gross prior to its final week was $170,652, which was only 21.19% of its gross potential.  This past week, the average ticket price was still only $39.51, and despite such heavy discounting, it only filled up to an average audience capacity of 76.0%.

Overall An Excellent Week For Broadway

This past week, almost every single show had a higher weekly gross than it did the week before.  The only one exception was the Idina Menzel musical If/Then, which had a weekly gross decrease of $27,115.  On the other hand, the entire industry was in the black, with an overall increase of $2,232,430.  The highest increase was seen by The Lion King, which grossed the highest of any show on Broadway at $2,431,017, which was an incredible $279,608 higher than its previous week’s gross.  Just behind was The Book of Mormon, which grossed $1,817,551, showing an increase of $196,277 from the week prior.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 20, 2014:

Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-7-20-14

Show GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $957,145 7,345 101.23% $130.31
ALADDIN $1,542,832 13,781 99.98% $111.95
BEAUTIFUL $1,300,153 8,270 100.76% $157.21
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $686,693 8,725 66.91% $78.70
CABARET $831,305 6,831 95.62% $121.70
CHICAGO $601,245 7,517 87.00% $79.98
CINDERELLA $747,181 10,225 72.99% $73.07
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,088,660 7,214 102.34% $150.91
HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME $266,984 6,758 76.04% $39.51
IF/THEN $773,533 8,680 82.76% $89.12
JERSEY BOYS $873,784 8,687 88.43% $100.59
KINKY BOOTS $1,314,190 11,042 96.93% $119.02
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $556,091 4,629 96.96% $120.13
LES MISÉRABLES $1,072,101 10,798 95.79% $99.29
MAMMA MIA! $774,592 8,766 93.98% $88.36
MATILDA $1,167,031 11,544 100.77% $101.09
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $983,055 10,290 85.35% $95.53
NEWSIES $862,977 9,359 98.72% $92.21
OF MICE AND MEN $929,343 8,566 99.79% $108.49
ONCE $499,598 6,690 78.97% $74.68
PIPPIN $626,694 7,296 92.12% $85.90
ROCK OF AGES $340,633 4,066 87.18% $83.78
ROCKY $674,063 8,333 68.71% $80.89
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,817,551 9,846 102.63% $184.60
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $740,711 8,357 97.36% $88.63
THE LION KING $2,431,017 15,155 99.05% $160.41
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,114,417 12,368 96.32% $90.10
VIOLET $327,327 4,696 79.97% $69.70
WICKED $1,966,367 15,375 99.68% $127.89
Totals: $27,867,272 261,209 91.18% $103.58

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” Closes Early On Broadway

holler if ya hear meAmbitious to Begin With

Holler If Ya Hear Me, the Tupac Shakur inspired musical that has been running on Broadway since June 2, 2014, closes today on Broadway – July 20, 2014 – after just 17 preview performances and 38 regular performances.  In the first place, the producers were taking a gamble because they elected to open a new musical at the start of the summer season, just after the excitement had died down after the Tony Awards.  This was certainly not the exception to prove the rule that it is a better bet to open at the height of the fall or spring seasons.  Second of all, the subject matter of the musical and the hip hop genre are unusual for Broadway.  Though Tupac Shakur is a huge household name, his audience doesn’t exactly correspond with the usual Broadway demographic.  It is admirable for producers to aim to reinvent the Broadway demographic, but it doesn’t just happen automatically.  Unfortunately, despite noble attempts at marketing and promotional efforts, this production did not crack the code for expanding the Broadway audience.

A Financial Failure

It is very possible that, given more time to reach its audience, the show could have sustained itself financially and reached a plateau where it was inching towards profitability.  However, the economics of Broadway dictate a very high floor for running costs, and in fact the theatre landlord can invoke a stop clause to force any production out of its house that is not making a certain minimum gross each week.  In the first six weeks of its run, Holler If Ya Hear Me did not gross over $163,586 in any week.  That number was only 18.32% of the show’s potential gross.  With a comparatively modest budget of $8 million, the show would still require a much higher gross in order to remain open.  The producers were forced to discount significantly, and therefore the average ticket price was generally around $30 to $35, which is exceedingly low for Broadway.  The lead producer Eric L. Gold admitted in Variety that he made a “rookie mistake” in misunderstanding the capital required to sustain a Broadway show.

Kenny Leon’s Latest Show

Holler If Ya Hear Me is the newest show directed by Kenny Leon, the exceedingly prolific director of African American content on holler if ya hear me castBroadway.  However, Mr. Leon has just as many hits as misses, with his repertoire including the vastly successful 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun and 2010’s Fences both starring Denzel Washington, as well as the flops Stick Fly and his 2004 revival of A Raisin in the SunHoller If Ya Hear Me has book by Todd Kreidler, who has worked with Leon before in an assistant directing capacity, and music orchestrated from Tupac Shakur’s repertoire.  The musical’s cast included Saul Williams making his Broadway debut, as well as New York theatre regular Tonya Pinkins.  The show opened on June 19, 2014 to fairly negative reviews, which did not sustain the already floundering musical.  Though closure was not immediately announced, the general critical consensus was that this musical would not last long.

“The Elephant Man” Starring Bradley Cooper Is Delayed

The Broadway Run Is Pushed By A Month

Originally slated to begin performances on October 18, 2014 at the Booth Theatre, The Elephant Man has delayed its production until November 7, 2014.  Its official opening night will now be on December 7, 2014, with the limited engagement scheduled to conclude on February 15, 2015.  The delay was reportedly caused by a scheduling conflict.

This Will Be The Second Broadway Revivalbradley cooper elephant man

This 1977 play by Bernard Pomerance has been produced on Broadway twice before.  Its premiere was in 1979, for which it won the Tony Award for Best Play as well as the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play.  There was then a revival in 2002, which ran for only 57 performances.  In any case, plans for the 2014 revival are well underway, with direction by Scott Ellis.  Scenic and projection design will be by Timothy R. Mackabee, costume design is by Clint Ramos, lighting design is by Philip S. Rosenberg, and sound design is by Drew Levy.

Cooper Played the Role at Williamstown

In the lead role of John Merrick will be film star Bradley Cooper, whose credits include Silver Linings Playbook (Academy Award nomination for Best Actor), American Hustle (Academy Award nomination for Best Featured Actor), The Hangover, The Place Beyond the Pines, and Wet Hot American Summer.  The cast of this revival will also include Patricia Clarkson as Mrs. Kendal and Alessandro Nivola as Frederick Treves.  Scott Ellis directed these same three actors in a 2012 production of the play at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Joining these three cast members for the Broadway revival will be Anthony Heald, Scott Lowell, Kathryn Meisle, and Henry Stram. elephant manThe Elephant Man is the story of a severely disfigured man in 19th century England, who travels the freak show circuit until he is noticed by a renowned physician.  Bradley Cooper will play John Merrick, the disfigured man.  Interestingly, this role is always portrayed without the use of any excessive makeup or props, but rather it is up to the actor to display the proper physicality to invoke the sense of disfigurement and awe.

“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