Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/05/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

An Overall Slow Week on Broadway

In the week ending July 5, 2015, the entire Broadway industry saw a decrease in ticket sales of $2,288,441 across the 27 shows running. Of these 27 shows, only four saw an increase in ticket sales, and the remaining 23 brought in less money at the box office than they had the week before. The biggest decrease was seen by Beautiful, which brought in $860,890, a decrease of $193,146 from the week before. Even Wicked, which still brought in 104.74% of its gross potential with a weekly gross of $1,864,235 saw a decrease of $182,908 from the week before. Something Rotten! brought in $1,053,848, a decrease of $176,771 from the week before. Wolf Hall Parts One and Two, which played its final performances on Sunday July 5, 2015 saw a decrease of $169,013 from the week before. This is particularly surprising, because even shows that are not doing well at the box office tend to see an upsurge, even if slight, in their final week of performances. In this case, Wolf Hall Parts One and Two brought in only $346,459, which represents a dismal 31.08% of its gross potential – by far the lowest percentage reached of gross potential throughout its run. In this case, the Independence Day holiday weekend was pretty much the opposite sentiment to the stark and serious beauty of the English double bill. Wolf Hall even resorted to papering (giving away free tickets) in their final week. The only four shows to show an increase did so very slightly. The King and I saw an increase of $66,981 from the week before, the highest increase of any show.

“Amazing Grace” Looking Dire at the Box Office

In this overall difficult week on Broadway, the show that may have suffered the most is Amazing Grace, which only began previews on June 25, 2015. In these preview weeks prior to its opening night date of July 16, 2015, at which time reviews will be published to spread awareness of the new musical, the show is fine-tuning its production but suffering from a lack of interest. In the week ending July 5, 2015, Amazing Grace brought in $201,081, which is an increase of $689 from the week before. However, this negligible increase coincided with an addition of two performances from the previous partial week of 5 performances. So, on average the show brought in less money per performance. This past week, its weekly gross amounted to a threateningly low percentage reached of gross potential of 18.32%. This is a decrease from 29.21% the week before. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission this past week was only $38.92, cheaper than most Off-Broadway fare. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Amazing Grace will even make it to opening night without shuttering, but chances are that unless the reviews are stupendous, it won’t make it much further than that.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 5, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-7-05-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $483,592 6,105 84.14% $79.21
ALADDIN $1,598,424 13,786 100.01% $115.95
AMAZING GRACE $201,081 5,166 63.51% $38.92
AN ACT OF GOD $903,661 7,612 94.58% $118.72
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,348,052 12,530 93.28% $107.59
BEAUTIFUL $860,890 7,378 89.89% $116.68
CHICAGO $571,954 7,329 84.83% $78.04
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,087,396 11,494 95.53% $94.61
FISH IN THE DARK $854,571 8,128 94.69% $105.14
FUN HOME $744,230 6,125 103.46% $121.51
HAND TO GOD $317,404 4,357 70.55% $72.85
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $475,996 5,763 81.76% $82.60
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $344,925 5,577 68.89% $61.85
JERSEY BOYS $644,185 7,319 74.50% $88.02
KINKY BOOTS $823,566 9,175 80.54% $89.76
LES MISÉRABLES $689,495 8,916 79.10% $77.33
MAMMA MIA! $805,674 8,928 95.71% $90.24
MATILDA $1,039,197 11,456 100.00% $90.71
ON THE TOWN $473,731 8,920 59.50% $53.11
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $487,786 5,485 94.96% $88.93
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,053,848 11,978 89.82% $87.98
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,382,123 8,751 102.61% $157.94
THE KING AND I $1,241,086 8,376 100.00% $148.17
THE LION KING $2,143,344 13,603 100.02% $157.56
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $971,851 11,125 86.64% $87.36
WICKED $1,864,235 14,732 96.36% $126.54
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $346,459 6,559 59.28% $52.82
Total $24,620,107 244,225 87.03% $96.58

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2015

“Wolf Hall Parts One and Two” Concludes On Broadway

Final Performance July 5 at the Winter Garden Theatre

wolf hallOn March 20, 2015, Wolf Hall: Parts One and Two began previews at the Winter Garden Theatre. The two plays in repertory, written by Mike Poulton and based off of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, respectively, officially opened on April 9, 2015 under the direction of Jeremy Herrin. The productions transferred to Broadway following a successful London run, where the plays had been named the same as the novels; the name simplification was instituted for American audiences. These very ambitious productions amounted to five and a half hours in total, and could be seen separately or together, on the same day or different days. The stories deal with the reign of King Henry VIII and his several wives, the first play dealing with the period from 1500 to 1535, and the second with the period that follows immediately after. A third novel, The Mirror and the Light, is planned to be published later this year, and that will deal with the period from 1536 to 1540, the last four years of Thomas Cromwell’s life. Playful Productions, the London-based theatre producers who staged the shows both in the United Kingdom and on Broadway, have announced their intention to develop the third novel into a play as well, and eventually to stage the trilogy all together. That will certainly happen in London, but whether the trilogy will make it to New York anytime soon remains to be seen. Wolf Hall Parts One and Two plays its final performances on Sunday, July 5, 2015, wrapping up a run that started very strong but has dwindled at the box office in recent weeks.

A Six Million Dollar Advance But No Recoupment As of Yetwolf hall

The double bill Wolf Hall Parts One and Two had a reported capitalization of $4.2 million. (In comparison, it had cost just under a million pounds to stage the plays in London.) Playful Productions, who also staged the very successful British play The Audience this same season, appeared to be going strong with these plays as well. Before the shows began previews, they had collected an advance of $6 million. Though this is larger than the initial capitalization, there are also weekly running costs to take into account, and so it’s a game of making enough each week to sustain those running costs in addition to making back the initial capitalization, before the shows can be operating in profits. In this case, Wolf Hall has not officially announced recoupment; The Audience, on the other hand, did so after only eight weeks. Unlike The Audience which starred Helen Mirren in a performance that won her a Tony Award as well as an Olivier and an Oscar, Wolf Hall had no major stars to speak of. Furthermore, the box office was burdened by the apprehension American audiences may have faced regarding the duration of the double bill, as well as the cost incurred to watch two productions in order to get the full story. Though Wolf Hall was nominated for eight Tony Awards including that for Best Play, it won only one: that for Best Costume Design of a Play for Christopher Oram.

A Final Push to Fill Seats

wolf hallThough Wolf Hall was aided by the BBC mini-series starring Mark Rylance, as well as the novels, which helped spread the name recognition of the title, the plays had trouble keeping up in their final weeks. For this final weekend, made more difficult by the Independence Day holiday taking people out of town or to the beach, the producers even resorted to offering complimentary tickets on papering sites such as This was in order to fill seats and give the illusion to paying audiences of a full house. In the last reported week of box office figures so far, the week ending June 28, 2015, the shows collectively brought in $515,472, which represents only 46.24% of its gross potential. This is in contrast to their top grossing week, the week ending March 29, 2015, wherein the shows earned $886,920, representing 64.38% of their gross potential.

“Amazing Grace” Begins Previews on Broadway

A Summer Opening and a Risky Financial Bet

amazing graceOn June 25, 2015, a new musical called Amazing Grace began previews at the Nederlander Theatre. It was given this slot following the closure of Honeymoon in Vegas, another new musical that ran only 4 months before shuttering. Amazing Grace has been in development for many years, and its creator is a first-time Broadway writer. Christopher Smith was a former cop when he began developing this show, for which he is the lyricist, composer, and co-bookwriter along with Arthur Giron. He was inspired by the original story of the writing of the song “Amazing Grace,” and henceforth sprang this show through years of trial productions and re-crafting to prepare it for the large and demanding audiences of Broadway. In choosing to begin previews in late June, the show’s producers have made it more difficult for the show to succeed financially. Traditionally, Broadway shows open in waves in two seasons: the fall and the spring. Then, the crucial factor of the Tony Awards in early June can make or break a show. In the warm summer season, producers expect the audience to be made up of a higher proportion of tourists, who tend to flock to the longer running established musicals, rather than an unknown show with no big names. Therefore, Amazing Grace will have a tough time standing out with all of these factors against it.

A Cast Reckoning With the Portrayal of Slaveryamazing grace

The founding story of the song “Amazing Grace” is indelibly tied to the history of slavery. The song’s writer John Newton was a slave trader who then had a crisis of faith and became a full-fledged abolitionist. This song, which is commonly known as having originated with the slave population, was actually written by a white man. Nevertheless, the cast is principally made up of black actors who are portraying slaves. In contemporary society which embraces more and more color-blind casting, and certainly frowns upon the idea that black actors can only portray slaves and house servants, this show walks a fine line between pride and shame. These actors are asked to go deep within themselves to find how it felt to be a slave, in order to make a larger point about equality and the struggle for freedom. This is a plea that still resonates very strongly today in our society, which sadly still wrought with outbreaks of racially motivated violence. In any case, the producers of this show hope to attract audiences that might not be the traditional Broadway demographic. They are conducting targeted outreach to church groups and African American groups, in order to bring this powerful story to a new group of Broadway theatregoers.

Initial Difficulty at the Box Office

In the show’s first partial week of performances, in which it played five shows, Amazing Grace brought in $200,392, which represents only 29.21% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission was $57.57. The audience was filled up to an average capacity of 59.9%. Though it is too early to determine the financial fate of this production, the early figures are not extremely promising. Of course, when the show opens on July 16, 2015, it will receive wide press coverage, and then the quality of the reviews may be able to make or break the show. However, in the hubbub of the summer season, it will still be difficult to break through, especially in targeting an untraditional Broadway audience. Nevertheless, the producers are holding out that their hard work will pay off, so that this show about hard work and faith will be an inspiration to Broadway audiences.

“The Audience” Completes Its Run

An Irrefutable Success Story

the-audience-300x300On February 14, 2015, The Audience began previews on Broadway. It officially opened on March 8, 2015 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The play was written by Peter Morgan and starred Helen Mirren, reuniting the Oscar winning team from the film The Queen which dealt with the same subject matter. The director was Stephen Daldry, who also directed Skylight this same season. Audience members flocked to this play, which had excellent sales throughout its run. On April 13, 2015, it was announced that the show had recouped its initial investment of $3.4 million. That is particularly outstanding for a straight play to perform so well, earning back its capitalization in only eight weeks. The show earned two Tony Awards, that for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for Helen Mirren, as well as that for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play for Richard McCabe. It was also nominated for Best Costume Design of a Play for Bob Crowley. The play transferred to New York following an excellent West End run in 2013, as well as international screenings of the National Theatre Live version in cinemas. On May 5, 2015, yet another production began in the West End starring Kristin Scott Thomas in the lead role.

Record Sales For Final Week Ending June 28thhelen mirren the audience

On June 28, 2015, the Broadway production of The Audience concluded its run. That week, the show brought in $1,425,523, which was an increase of $219,205 from the week before. This outstanding increase was mostly due to the fact that the show played an extra performance, totaling eight, whereas it had only played seven performances each week throughout the rest of the run. It is therefore even more remarkable that the show recouped so quickly, as most shows play eight performances per week as the standard. Nevertheless, in addition to this extra performance in the final week, the show made even more money per performance. Whereas the show brought in 114.11% of its gross potential in its penultimate week, the final week brought in the outstanding gross that amounted to 118.49% of its gross potential. Therefore, the show managed to squeeze out even more dollars per available seat in the theatre for each of the eight performances. In the final week, the average audience capacity was 101.8%. With a top ticket price of $323.00, the average paid admission was $163.67, up from $158.48 the week before. Overall, it is clear that this show made an extraordinary profit for its investors and producers, operating in profits for the majority of its run, in addition to all the moneymaking opportunities from the London productions.

Helen Mirren Might As Well Be The Queen of England

Helen Mirren was lauded for every instance in which she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to winning the Tony Award for her performance in The Audience on Broadway, she won the Olivier Award for the same role in the West End, and she also brought home the Academy Award for portraying Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s screenplay for The Queen. This is only the third time that Helen Mirren has appeared on Broadway. Her previous outings were in 2001 to 2002 as Alice in Dance of Death, as well as in 1995 when she portrayed Natalia Petrovna in A Month in the Country. However, her London and screen credits have made her a household name, and the Broadway production of The Audience has secured her position as royalty in the minds of audiences, both American and British alike.

Jason Alexander Replaces Larry David in “Fish in the Dark”

Box Office Takes Major Dip With David’s Departure

jason alexander larry davidFish in the Dark has been one of this season’s major hits. Written by and starring Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld and creator / star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, this play marked the household name’s Broadway debt. The theatre going audience was riveted by this new face on the big stage, as the box office receipts were immediately excellent right out of the gate, and stayed that way until Larry David’s final performance on June 7, 2015. This was the same day as the Tony Awards. Although Fish in the Dark was not honored with any awards or nominations, there was a nod to the stardom of Larry David as he was given the honor of presenting the most coveted award and the final award of the evening: that for Best Musical. He presented this award to Fun Home. Despite this lack of accolades, Fish in the Dark was an undeniable box office success. It announced recoupment of its initial capitalization on May 20, 2015. It brought in over one million dollars every week, with rising weekly grosses as the run went one, from the first full week of performances ending February 15, 2015 until Larry David’s final week ending June 7, 2015. However, the moment Jason Alexander stepped in on June 9, 2015, the box office took a major dip. In his first week, the week ending June 14, 2015, the show saw a decrease in ticket sales of $403,563 from the week before. Though Jason Alexander is also a major star, he is also a much more prevalent face on Broadway, and fans were just not as excited to pay top dollar to see him.

Three Weeks of Piddling Grossesjason alexander larry david

In the three weeks of full performances since Alexander took over, the weekly grosses have remained fairly constant. Following the week ending June 14, 2015 with the weekly gross of $842,633, there was the week ending June 21, 2015 with a gross of $849,330, and then this past week ending June 28, 2015 had a weekly gross of $848,378. In this past week, the average paid admission was $107.66, which is still higher than many plays on Broadway, but it is a sharp decrease from the average paid admission in David’s final week, which was $142.98. Whereas David was regularly filling up the audience to an average capacity of 101.5%, the weekly average audience capacity since Jason Alexander took over have averaged about 90%. Finally, while the average percentage reached of gross potential during David’s run was about 114%, the percentage reached of gross potential since Alexander took over has been about 81%.

Keeping It in the “Seinfeld” Family

When Jason Alexander played George Costanza on Seinfeld for many years, he was reportedly written to be a character based on Larry David himself. It is therefore appropriate that he should replace David in the role he wrote and played himself in his Broadway debut. Alexander is a common name on Broadway. He was in the second cast of The Producers opposite Martin Short, when Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane departed the production. He has also appeared in Accomplice, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Broadway Bound, The Rink, and Merrily We Roll Along. Most of these roles were before his Seinfeld days, so he left his established position of appearing onstage when he became a sitcom regular. At this point, however, he is returning to his stage roots, combined with the creative source that made him a household name as well. However, he just isn’t able to sell tickets the way Larry David can. Alexander continues with the show until its final performance on August 1, 2015.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 6/28/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“The Audience” Concludes Run with Record Highs

On Sunday, June 28, 2015, The Audience played its final performance on Broadway. Written by Peter Morgan and starring Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, the show reunited the writer and star of the Oscar winning film The Queen, also dealing with the same subject. This mass recognition of these artists and this story is partially responsible for the excellent success the show enjoyed throughout its run. In its final week of performances, The Audience earned its highest weekly gross to date, which was $1,425,523. This represented an astounding 118.49% of the show’s gross potential. Prior to this final week, the show’s highest weekly gross was $1,206,318, representing 114.11% of gross potential. Still, it was common for the show regularly to make 108% to 111% of its gross potential. In its final week, the average paid admission was also at an all time high at $163.67. The top ticket price since opening night was $323.00. One major reason the show earned so much money this final week is that it played 8 performances, whereas it had played 7 throughout every other full week of its run. Still, the increase in percentage of gross potential shows that demand grew even to exceed the added performance, with fans eager to get their final dose of Helen Mirren’s Tony Award winning performance as the Queen of England.

“Amazing Grace” Begins Previews With Low Numbers

In addition, the week ending June 28, 2015 saw the start of previews for Amazing Grace, a new musical with music and lyrics by Christopher Smith, and a book by Christopher Smith and Arthur Giron. This show deals with the origination of the famous gospel song, “Amazing Grace.” In choosing to begin previews in the height of summer, following the hubbub of the Tony Awards when the world has its eye on the theatre industry, Amazing Grace was taking a big risk that it would fall between the cracks in the distraction of summer vacation. In this first week of five performances, the show brought in $200,392, which represents only 29.21% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission was $57.57. The show stars Erin Mackey, Josh Young, Stanley Bahorek, and Chuck Cooper, who have had success in the world of theatre but are by no means A-list marquee names that can sell tickets for the show. The show will open on July 16, 2015, at which point the reviews may or may not be able to save the show by spurring positive word of mouth. In any case, the box office figures out of the gate are not very encouraging, but perhaps amazing grace, how sweet the sound, will save this show once word of mouth catches on.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending June 28, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-06-28-15-1


Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $605,865 6,782 93.47% $89.33
ALADDIN $1,644,688 13,787 100.02% $119.29
AMAZING GRACE $200,392 3,481 59.91% $57.57
AN ACT OF GOD $955,566 7,581 94.20% $126.05
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,433,433 13,288 98.93% $107.87
BEAUTIFUL $1,054,036 8,005 97.53% $131.67
CHICAGO $597,661 7,524 87.08% $79.43
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,222,133 11,996 99.70% $101.88
FISH IN THE DARK $848,378 7,880 91.80% $107.66
FUN HOME $752,342 6,130 103.55% $122.73
HAND TO GOD $400,070 4,879 79.00% $82.00
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $538,365 5,594 79.36% $96.24
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $415,180 6,079 75.09% $68.30
JERSEY BOYS $744,540 7,527 76.62% $98.92
KINKY BOOTS $969,479 9,579 84.09% $101.21
LES MISÉRABLES $747,267 9,426 83.62% $79.28
MAMMA MIA! $856,775 9,167 98.27% $93.46
MATILDA $1,117,587 11,495 100.34% $97.22
ON THE TOWN $637,010 10,483 69.92% $60.77
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $594,786 5,693 98.56% $104.48
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,230,619 12,624 94.66% $97.48
THE AUDIENCE $1,425,523 8,710 101.85% $163.67
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,524,996 8,752 102.63% $174.25
THE KING AND I $1,174,105 8,378 100.02% $140.14
THE LION KING $2,120,670 13,603 100.02% $155.90
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $986,653 11,372 88.57% $86.76
WICKED $2,047,143 15,175 98.49% $134.90
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $515,472 5,500 49.71% $93.72
Totals $28,334,069 258,532 89.85% $106.66

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2015

“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 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

“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.