Broadway’s First Date Auctions Items for Operation Smile

First Date Broadway ShowFans of the new Broadway musical comedy First Date can get some interesting items from the show online right now as it is in the midst of holding an auction on eBay. The auction is raising money for the charity Operation Smile, while helps children all over the world who suffer from cleft lip and cleft palate, along with other facial deformities, by providing surgeries to correct these problems.

There are a number of items up for sale in the First Date auction, including a wig, scarf, silver boots, leg warmers, sweater, Diane Von Furstenber​g dress, pink jacket, go-go boots, and a men’s troubadour hat, all directly from the First Date wardrobe department. A First Date script that has been signed by the show’s writers, as well as a CD of the musical that has been signed by its cast are also on the auction block. Two tickets to the show, plus a dinner, meet & greet, and backstage tour are also be auctioned off. One of the most unique items being offered is a personalized song written by Bryce Ryness.

A recurring gag in First Date features actor Kristoffer Cusick as “Reggie” leaving voicemail messages for his friend – a personalized message from Cusick as Reggie is also one of the items available for auction.

First Date stars Krysta Rodriguez (The Addams Family) and Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck) as two very different types of New Yorkers who are set up on a blind date that becomes a bit of a circus as their friends, families, and dating pasts come to terrorize them as they try to get to know one another over dinner. Zachary Levi has been an ambassador for Operation Smile for some time, so this cause is near to the actor’s heart.

Go to to see the auction listings and to bid on an item. The First Date items that are currently up for auction are scheduled to conclude taking bids on Friday, October 25.

Actor Jeff Daniels To Play 54 Below

Jeff DanielsThough he is better known as a television and film actor, Jeff Daniels (currently starring in HBO’s series The Newsroom) will soon be taking the stage at 54 Below, the favored venue for New York City theater performers who want to perform solo shows. Daniels will perform six shows there, from January 2-4, 2014.

During his concert engagement, Daniels will present several of his own original songs. Highlighting the actor’s humorous side, the tunes feature such titles as “You Can Drink An Ugly Girl Pretty” and “If William Shatner Can, I Can Too”.

Jeff Daniels’ breakout roles came in the early 1980s in movies such as Terms of Endearment and The Purple Rose of Cairo, going on to gain greater recognition in Hearburn and Something Wild. Other film credits include Gettysburg, Speed, Pleasantville, The Squid and the Whale, State of Play, and Looper. He is also scheduled to star in a sequel to the silly comedy favorite Dumb & Dumber in 2014.

More recently, Jeff Daniels has gained acclaim for his starring role as veteran newsman Will McAvoy in Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama The Newsroom. He recently took home an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work in The Newsroom.

While Daniels has distinguished himself in movies and TV over the years, he has always kept one foot in the theater. He studied drama in college and began his career on the New York stage in the late ’70s. Daniels founded the Purple Rose Theatre Company in 1991 in his hometown of Chelsea, Michigan, and he has authored numerous plays for the company.

Jeff Daniels’ stage work has included five Broadway productions, including Fifth of July, The Golden Age, and Redwood Curtain. His most recent appearance on Broadway was in the popular 2009 play God of Carnage.

Tickets for the Jeff Daniels concert at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) are priced in the $40-$50 range, plus there is a $25 minimum for food and drinks. For further ticketing and show information, visit

Ice Skater Elvis Stojko Coming to Broadway

Elvis StojkoThe Tony Award winning, long-running Broadway musical revival Chicago has been known (and sometimes mocked) for many years for its enthusiastic use of stunt-casting. Bringing in a wide array of performers — from pop stars to TV personalities to has-been celebrities — to play some of the musical’s key roles has become a hallmark of the production.

Now Chicago looks to the world of competitive figure skating to bring in its latest unexpected star, Elvis Stojko. Stojko will take on the part of “razzle dazzle” lawyer Billy Flynn starting March 17, 2014. However, he is only scheduled to do a total of eight shows, performing until March 23.

Elvis Stojko came to prominence as an ice skater in the 1990s, when he earned three world championships and two silver medals in the winter Olympics. Besides skating, Stojko has also taken guest roles in television and film and has even released a CD.

“People think of me as only a skater,” stated Stojko. “But what they don’t know is that I love musicals. Now I finally have the chance to play a great role in one of the greatest musicals of all times.”

Past instances of stunt-casting in Chicago have been many and varied. Usher, Jerry Springer, Brooke Shields, Huey Lewis, Patrick Swayze, Billy Ray Cyrus, Alan Thicke, Melanie Griffith, Ashlee Simpson, Wendy Williams, Marilu Henner, George Hamilton, Christie Brinkley, Kara DioGuardi, and Sofía Vergara are just a few of the people who have been tapped to feature in Chicago over the years, with many of them making their Broadway or stage debuts in the production.

Billy Flynn, the part that Elvis Stojko will be playing, is the role most often filled by male stars, though on some occasions it’s Amos Hart. For female performers with limited stage experience (but who can still belt a song), Matron Mama Morton is a common option. But even the key dancing roles of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly are sometimes filled by stunt-casted performers.

Chicago the musical, which has been playing on Broadway for more than 15 years, performs at the Ambassador Theatre (219 West 49th Street) in New York City. For tickets and other information about the show, go to

Annie Offers Tickets to People Who Adopt Shelter Dogs

Annie Broadway MusicalThe beloved Broadway musical Annie, which is currently enjoying a revival on Broadway, is well known for being about the plucky orphan Annie who optimistically sings about “Tomorrow”. But almost as well known is Annie’s adorable dog Sandy, who is her loyal companion during her adventures in New York City. Fittingly, Annie is now offering a free ticket giveaway throughout October in honor of Adopt-a-Dog month.

Anyone who decides to adopt a canine from one of the New York City animal shelters that is participating in the program will get a voucher that is good for two tickets to go see the current production of Annie on Broadway sometime during the month of November.

New York Animal Care & Control, The Humane Society of New York, Animal Haven, Sean Casey Animal Rescue and Louie’s Legacy are among the shelters taking part in Annie‘s free ticket offer for people who adopt dogs.

Annie, which is scheduled to end its Broadway run on January 5, 2014, is a big supporter of adopting pets, as evidenced by the fact that the show cast an actual shelter dog, Sunny, to play the part of the dog Sandy. Animal trainer Bill Berloni trained Sunny, who was chosen from a Houston shelter during a nationwide search, to become a Broadway “actor”.

Annie features young actress Taylor Richardson in the title role and currently co-stars Broadway regular Faith Prince as Miss Hannigan and Anthony Warlow as Daddy Warbucks. Clarke Thorell, J. Elaine Marcos, and Jenni Barber also star in the production. Written by Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, and Thomas Meehan, Annie won several Tony Awards in 1977 during its original Broadway run.

The Adopt-a-Dog free ticket giveaway goes through October 31 while supplies last. Visit for more information about Annie the musical.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 10/13/2013

Total Broadway ticket sales continue to soar upwards as several new shows are in the process of opening on the Great White Way. Sales this week jumped by more than $3 million, going from last week’s $21,422,658 up to $24,614,027.

There are many new Broadway shows now competing to get audiences in seats right now.  So far Betrayal (which has movie star Daniel Craig in the lead) and The Glass Menagerie (which received glowing reviews) are the only genuine hits.  Most of the other shows — such as A Time to Kill, Big Fish, and First Date — are either struggling or doing decent business that is respectable but not necessarily good enough to keep them running very long.  However, even with less-than-stellar sales, many of these shows will make the effort to keep running for the next few months in order to take advantage of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when Broadway inevitably sees its best ticket sales.

The new show Soul Doctor, a biographical musical about the famed “rock ‘n’ roll rabbi” Shlomo Carlebach, ended its Broadway run without much advance notice this past Sunday, October 13.  Although Soul Doctor closed in a hurry, the writing was on the wall since it first began performances in the late summer, as the show never managed to do very strong business and was always offering considerable discounts on tickets.  In its last week, the tuner came close to filling its theater to 75% capacity, but the average paid admission was a mere $30.52 per ticket.

Disney’s The Lion King came out on top this week with total earnings of $1,885,054, but its most close competitors came in very close.  Second place went to Wicked at $1,874,654, and third went to the smash hit The Book of Mormon at $1,844,539.  Coming in the fourth slot was Tony-winning newcomer Kinky Boots, which brought in $1,810,202.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending October 13, 2013:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN $353,070 5,023 93.16% $70.29
A TIME TO KILL $278,494 5,464 85.16% $50.97
ANNIE $735,228 9,182 80.77% $80.07
BETRAYAL $1,112,027 7,371 100.00% $150.87
BIG FISH $856,110 10,112 89.58% $84.66
CHICAGO $684,614 7,961 92.14% $86.00
CINDERELLA $842,893 9,964 71.13% $84.59
FIRST DATE $448,331 6,559 76.70% $68.35
JERSEY BOYS $980,494 8,862 90.21% $110.64
KINKY BOOTS $1,810,202 11,480 100.77% $157.68
MAMMA MIA! $900,507 10,027 83.67% $89.81
MATILDA $1,430,085 11,499 100.38% $124.37
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,488,380 12,124 100.56% $122.76
NEWSIES $843,620 9,198 97.03% $91.72
ONCE $798,203 7,692 90.79% $103.77
PIPPIN $989,455 8,007 101.10% $123.57
ROCK OF AGES $399,628 4,090 87.69% $97.71
ROMEO AND JULIET $470,744 5,832 55.27% $80.72
SOUL DOCTOR $128,256 4,202 74.82% $30.52
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $956,929 11,243 88.78% $85.11
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,844,539 8,752 102.63% $210.76
THE GLASS MENAGERIE $724,363 6,327 101.65% $114.49
THE LION KING $1,885,054 13,603 100.02% $138.58
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,023,947 11,986 93.35% $85.43
THE SNOW GEESE $236,863 4,030 88.57% $58.77
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL $317,826 3,148 98.71% $100.96
THE WINSLOW BOY $199,512 4,232 71.49% $47.14
WICKED $1,874,654 14,430 99.71% $129.91
Totals: $24,614,027 232,400 89.85% $99.29

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2013

Soul Doctor: Journey of a Rockstar Rabbi Closes Tonight (Sunday October 13)

Soul Doctor Broadway ShowSoul Doctor, the Broadway show that tried to combine Fiddler on the Roof , Jersey Boys, Hair and Motown The Musical closed after 32 preview performances and 66 regular performances on The Great White Way. The show had received mixed reviews both on and off Broadway, where it began last year.

The show was produced by Jeremy Chess and had been in the bottom five earning Broadway shows since it opened on July 17 2013. It offered orchestra tickets at just $77 to encourage theatre-goers, but to no avail. It failed to capture both the current vein of enthusiasm for Motown-esqe shows on Broadway and the Jewish community’s interest – with ultra soft sales since Labor day.
It is expected that this musical closed with an overall loss for financial investors.

Last weeks ticket sales were $111,912 with just 3,849 people attending that account for 68.50% of the available seats, but with a very low average of just $29.08 per ticket, presumably they were papering the theatre, to try to get something going before closing.

Artists for World Peace Concert Features Broadway Performers

Artists for World Peace on BroadwayThe 3rd annual “Artists for World Peace on Broadway” benefit will give numerous Broadway performers an opportunity to gather to sing and dance in an intimate setting and raise money for a good cause at the same time. The event is scheduled for this Sunday, October 13 at 8:45pm.

The concert will feature Clarke Thorell (Annie, Hairspray), Stephen Carrasco (Kinky Boots, Ghost), Liana Hunt (Newsies), Natalie Gallo (Jersey Boys), Blake Whyte (Wicked), Ian Paget (Soul Doctor), and many others. The evening will close with an original Bollywood dance number choreographed by Monica Kapoor (Mamma Mia!).

“Artists for World Peace on Broadway” will be held at 54 Below (254 W. 54th Street). Tickets are $150, and proceeds from the event will support the non-profit Artists for World Peace, which works to feed and house the poor and to provide various community services. Learn more at

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 9/29/2013

There was a small decrease in overall Broadway ticket sales this week, as revenue went from the previous week’s $19,497,278 down to $19,453,418, a drop of approximately $45,000.

The new Broadway play adaptation A Time to Kill marks the first time that a John Grisham novel has made its way to the stage, and even though it has only just begun previews, the production is coming close to selling out its theater at 96.67% capacity.  The average paid admission is a modest $70.81, though, indicating that the production is selling many of its preview performance tickets at a discounted price.

Disney’s The Lion King, the perennial Broadway favorite, took its much-frequented spot as #1 on the chart this week, grossing $1,710,914.  The Book of Mormon was a close second place at $1,699,204.  Those two musicals have spent most of the year being joined by Wicked in the Top 3, but relative newcomer Kinky Boots beat out the long-running Wizard of Oz prequel, out-grossing it by well over a million dollars.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending September 29, 2013:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN $271,564 4,372 81.08% $62.11
A TIME TO KILL $54,952 776 96.76% $70.81
ANNIE $441,059 6,320 55.59% $69.79
BIG FISH $736,722 10,048 91.88% $73.32
CHICAGO $540,459 6,713 77.70% $80.51
CINDERELLA $615,987 7,689 54.89% $80.11
FIRST DATE $306,593 4,734 55.36% $64.76
JERSEY BOYS $861,977 8,531 86.84% $101.04
KINKY BOOTS $1,604,362 11,480 100.77% $139.75
MAMMA MIA! $725,606 8,688 72.50% $83.52
MATILDA $1,148,640 11,013 96.13% $104.30
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,384,216 11,630 96.47% $119.02
NEWSIES $663,518 7,920 83.54% $83.78
ONCE $653,267 6,622 78.16% $98.65
PIPPIN $888,583 7,764 98.03% $114.45
ROCK OF AGES $377,822 4,259 91.32% $88.71
ROMEO AND JULIET $450,894 6,030 57.15% $74.78
SOUL DOCTOR $134,027 3,245 66.04% $41.30
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $621,960 8,950 70.67% $69.49
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,699,204 8,752 102.63% $194.15
THE GLASS MENAGERIE $511,429 5,892 94.67% $86.80
THE LION KING $1,710,914 13,586 99.90% $125.93
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $848,934 10,536 82.06% $80.57
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL $566,482 5,769 77.53% $98.19
THE WINSLOW BOY $166,477 3,664 61.89% $45.44
WICKED $1,467,774 12,923 89.30% $113.58
Totals: $19,453,418 197,906 81.49% $90.96

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2012

Rockers on Broadway Benefit Coming to Le Poisson Rouge

Rockers on BroadwayBroadway gets rocking on November 11 when Rockers on Broadway takes over (le) Poisson Rouge. The benefit concert will celebrate the collaboration between The Who’s Pete Townshend and Broadway director Des McAnuff, who worked together to bring The Who’s Tommy to Broadway in 1993.

Founded by Donnie Kehr (an original member of the Broadway cast of Tommy), Rockers on Broadway is held periodically to give Broadway performers a chance to rock out in support of charity. This newest concert will raise funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Broadway Dreams Foundation, and the ASCAP Foundation’s Children Will Listen Program.

“Rockers began because Pete wanted Tommy‘s cast of Broadway performers to get some experience performing in rock clubs to understand what he did,” stated Kehr. “So our first event actually had rock god Pete Townshend playing backup for Alice Ripley, Norm Lewis, Michael Cerveris, myself and others to help give our Broadway performances a rock n’ roll edge. And that spirit has guided 20 years of Rockers On Broadway.”

The performance line-up for Rockers on Broadway has not yet been announced, but further information can be found at Tickets start at $30. Call 212-505-3474 to purchase.

10th Annual Broadway Unplugged Concert To Be Held on September 30

Baritones Unbound

Baritones Unbound

Broadway stars will be shaking the rafters at The Town Hall on September 30 at 8pm, and without the aid of amplification, at the latest Broadway Unplugged concert. This will mark the 10th anniversary of the Scott Siegel-produced series, which aims to recreate the early days of Broadway when singers relied on the power of their voice rather than microphones.

The Broadway Unplugged concert will feature the talents of numerous Broadway singers, including Christopher Sieber, Jeff McCarthy, Tonya Pinkins, Liz Callaway, Max von Essen, Noah Racey, Christiane Noll, Bill Daugherty, and Jeffry Denman. They will also be joined by the trio Baritones Unbound, made up of Broadway regular Marc Kudisch, Jeff Mattsey of the Metropolitan Opera, and Tony Award winner Ben Davis (La Boheme on Broadway).

Tickets are available for $27, $52, and $77. The Town Hall is located at 123. W. 43rd Street.