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 chicagothemusical.com.

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 AnnietheMusical.com for more information about Annie the musical.

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

The Glass MenagerieANOTHER JUMP IN BROADWAY SALES
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.

NEWEST SHOWS VIE FOR AUDIENCES
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.

SOUL DOCTOR HAS A WEAK FINAL WEEK
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.

CLOSE RACE BETWEEN TOP FOUR BROADWAY SHOWS
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 nytix.com

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 ArtistsForWorldPeace.org.

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

A Time to Kill Broadway ShowVERY SMALL DECLINE IN BROADWAY SALES
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.

A TIME TO KILL NEARLY SELLS OUT
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.

LION KING TOPS THE CHART
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 nytix.com

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 rockersonbroadway.com. 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.

Musical Coming to New York’s Grand Central Terminal

Orphan TrainNew York City’s famed Grand Central Terminal, recognizable even to many non-New Yorkers because of its prominence on film and TV, is known as a place where thousands of commuters travel through each day. But it has not been much known as theatrical venue, at least until now.

Featuring music by Doug Katsaros, lyrics by Michael Barry Greer, and a book by L.E. McCollough, Orphan Train: The Musical will play in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall on October 11 and 12. The musical is based on a real-life initiative in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which had New York City orphans sent out West to adoptive families. Much of the show actually takes place in Grand Central Terminal.

“I am so pleased this show, created and performed by so many talented people, will be seen by New Yorkers in this amazing space,” stated the production’s director and choreographer Patricia Birch. “This is going to be an emotional, immersive experience for the cast and the audience alike.”

Performances of Orphan Train: The Musical are free, but reservations are required. Visit orphantrain.eventbrite.com to reserve tickets.

Broadway & Beyond! Celebrates Dancers on October 8

Liza MinnelliDancers are a critical part of the Broadway landscape, but the physical demands of their professional means that it is often short-lived. Career Transition for Dancers is a non-profit dedicated to helping these artists, and their 28th Anniversary Jubilee, titled “Broadway & Beyond! Celebrating Theatre & Dance,” will be held on October 8.

This special event is going to feature performances from several well-known Broadway and theater actors, including Rosie O’Donnell, Andrea McArdle, Kelly Bishop, Christiane Noll, Orfeh, Jimmy Tate, Randy Skinner, and Noah Racey. Liza Minnelli will also be there to present the Rolex Dance Award to Ann-Margret.

“Broadway & Beyond” will take place at the New York City Center. Tickets to the performance range from $45 to $130. Call 212-581-1212 or visit nycitycenter.org for more information or to get tickets.