Peter and the Starcatcher To Close in January

Peter and the Starcatcher has announced that it will be closing on Broadway on January 20, 2013.  The play with music, which is currently running at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, was nominated for a Best Play Tony Award.  Though it didn’t win that honor, the production did win Tonys for Best Actor, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Sound Design.

Based on a book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher is the untold story of how the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up became known as Peter Pan.  In its original appearance Off-Broadway, the play gained a great deal of critical acclaim, leading to its Broadway transfer. 

By waiting until January to close, Peter and the Starcatcher will have the opportunity to enjoy ticket sales during the lucrative holiday months around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A tour is expected to launch in August of 2013.

Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy Still On Track to Broadway

Nora Ephron

Despite her recent death, writer Nora Ephron’s final play, Lucky Guy, is still set to come to Broadway.  A few months ago it was announced that Tom Hanks would star in the play about columnist Mike McAlary.  Though no official casting details have been confirmed recently, a new Equity casting notice claims that the role of McAlary has been cast, which may be a clue that Tom Hanks is still attached.

George C. Wolfe (The Normal Heart) is expected to direct Lucky Guy, which is planning to start previews in March of 2013 at a Shubert theater that has yet to be announced.  In a previous statement made to the New York Times, producer Colin Callender said,  “We are honored to be part of her legacy and remain committed to seeing her magnificent work ‘Lucky Guy’ shine on Broadway and can think of no more fitting tribute to her extraordinary writing and remarkable body of work.”

Lucky Guy is about the life and career of New York Post and New York Daily News columnist Mike McAlary, who earned a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the famed Abner Louima case.  A previous version, titled Stories About McAlary, had a reading starring Hugh Jackman in 2010.

Broadway: The American Musical Returns to PBS October 7

One of the most comprehensive accounts of Broadway history ever assembled is returning to TV on October 7, when New York City’s PBS/Thirteen re-airs Broadway: The American Musical.  The six-part documentary, which debuted on television in 2004, is hosted by beloved musical theater icon Julie Andrews and covers Broadway from 1893 to the present.

In addition to production photos, interviews with theater greats, and excerpts from original Broadway cast recordings, the documentary also contains rare archival footage, newsreels, home movies, diary excerpts and personal correspondence, and notable moments, from the opening night of the groundbreaking Rodgers & Hammerstein classic Oklahoma! to the opening night of today’s hit Wicked.

Dozens and dozens of performers, choreographers, directors, composers, lyricists, bookwriters, producers, and Broadway legends take part in the series, including Carol Channing, Mel Brooks, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Agnes de Mille, Harvey Fierstein, Bob Fosse, Joel Grey, Jerry Herman, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Arthur Laurents, Jerry Orbach, Harold Prince, Jerome Robbins, Stephen Sondheim, Tommy Tune, Ben Vereen, and many more.

Broadway: The American Musical will air each Sunday evening from October 7 through November 11.  Already available on DVD, the series will debut on Blu-ray with extra material on October 16.

An Enemy of the People Opens on Broadway

A new production of Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People opens tonight at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  The play stars two of Broadway’s most reliable actors, Tony Award winner Boyd Gaines (The Columnist, Driving Miss Daisy, Gypsy, Contact) and Richard Thomas (Race and Democracy on Broadway, TV’s The Waltons).

The 1882 play concerns Dr. Thomas Stockmann, who discovers that the community spa is contaminated and publishes his findings.  But he is surprised to find that his neighbors are actually upset with him for revealing the pollution, given that the spa is their town’s main source of income.  At that point, Dr. Stockmann has to choose whether to defend the truth or retract his statement.

Directed by Doug Hughes (Doubt, A Man For All Seasons), this version of An Enemy of the People has had more pre-opening buzz that your average revival of a late 19th century classic.  Unlike many of the non-profit revivals of older dramas that play it safe with fairly traditional renderings, this production is taking the unusual approach of teasing out the more humorous aspects of the play.  Audience reaction to Hughes’ directorial take (which is based on an adaptation by Rebecca Lenkiewicz) has been mixed.  Soon the critics will weigh in and give their final verdicts.

New TouringBroadway.com Covers Broadway Tours Across America

The Broadway League has re-launched the website TouringBroadway.com so that it now includes comprehensive tour routes, multimedia, and the use of Google Maps and social media (e.g. Twitter comments integrated into the homepage).  The re-designed version of the site also offers direct access to the official ticket sellers for the theaters where Broadway tours are appearing, making it easier to purchase tickets for a touring production.

Almost as old as Broadway itself, Broadway touring productions have allowed theater lovers across the country see high-quality shows in (or near) their hometowns.  Because not everyone has the opportunity to travel to New York City, Broadway tours serve an important function by introducing people to a lifelong love of theater and by sustaining that interest for decades to come.  In any given year, these touring productions of Broadway shows visit up to 240 different cities in the United States and Canada.

TouringBroadway.com makes it easy for Broadway fans throughout North America to find out what touring Broadway shows are coming to a theater near them, to learn more about those shows, and to purchase tickets.  Broadway League Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin said of the site, “Our ultimate goal is to provide a one-stop consumer site for show information and official ticketing links, combining Broadway and Touring Broadway in a central location and under a single site identity.”

Broadway Show Ticket Sales* w/e 9/23/2012

 

Newsies and Once, both Cinderella stories over the summer, have seen slight declines in business this post Rosh Hashanah week (both saw over 3% decrease in their total capacity).  Whether or not this bodes ill for these new musicals going forward remains to be seen, but it could be that the post-Tony Awards buzz is starting to wear off- The departure of Jeremy Jordan probably didn’t help, but his inclusion into NBC’s “Smash” may raise awareness of his roots.

Meanwhile the longer-running Broadway show hits The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys, and Wicked all experienced slight upturns in revenue, proving the value of having a well-marketed, much-buzzed-about “brand name” to sell to tourists who are looking for a title they recognize (but have probably already seen Phantom, Chicago and Mamma Mia!).

Porgy and Bess received its anticipated last minute buying spree and closed with a strong 87% full and $96 average ticket paid, it actually placed ninth in highest grossing Broadway show this week – not bad for this new perspective on Gershwin’s classic. Its run was rocky, but encouraging – as it did recoup its investment.

An Enemy of the People‘s struggle continues, as its average paid admission went down from an already low $44.74 last week to $39.35 this week.  The other new production of a classic play to recently start performances, Cyrano de Bergerac, is also having difficulties, with its capacity falling from 74.39% to 66.27%.  However, Cyrano did at least see an increase in average paid admission from $38.16 to $46.41, less papering and more paid audience. Does papering a Broadway show actually save a show, or does it create the air of desperation from which a show can never recover?

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending September 23, 2012:

Broadway Show Ticket Analysis for week ending 9/23/12

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE $182,194 4,630 89.87% $39.35
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $371,851 6,724 63.01% $55.30
CHAPLIN $444,259 6,045 72.31% $73.49
CHICAGO $619,591 7,425 85.94% $83.45
CYRANO DE BERGERAC $178,864 3,854 66.27% $46.41
EVITA $1,045,494 10,058 77.99% $103.95
GRACE $465,332 6,601 76.47% $70.49
JERSEY BOYS $976,415 9,171 93.35% $106.47
MAMMA MIA! $729,744 9,040 75.43% $80.72
MARY POPPINS $604,542 9,026 62.79% $66.98
NEWSIES $800,484 9,249 96.75% $86.55
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $902,213 9,252 80.37% $97.52
ONCE $970,686 8,060 95.23% $120.43
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $294,536 5,203 62.66% $56.61
PORGY AND BESS $891,566 9,281 86.90% $96.06
ROCK OF AGES $464,585 4,412 94.60% $105.30
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,113,184 11,874 76.90% $93.75
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,626,122 8,752 102.63% $185.80
THE LION KING $1,555,752 13,222 98.55% $117.66
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $803,236 10,566 82.29% $76.02
WAR HORSE $535,858 7,067 82.64% $75.83
WICKED $1,495,735 13,562 93.71% $110.29
Total: $17,072,241 183,074 82.57% $88.56

*Broadway Grosses provided courtesy of The Broadway League

Scarlett Johansson Will Star in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway

Scarlett Johansson

The newest “Maggie the Cat” to grace Broadway will be Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, The Nanny Diaries), the movie actress who wowed Broadway with a Tony Award winning turn in Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge in 2010.  Now Johansson is taking on another classic, Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

The production will start performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on December 18, 2012, with the official opening planned for January 17, 2013.  This production comes not long after another Broadway revival of the play in 2008, which featured an all-black cast headed by Terence Howard, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, and Anika Noni Rose.

Scarlett Johnasson will be joined onstage by Benjamin Walker, the breakout star of Broadway’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson who recently made his major film starring debut in this past summer’s historical comedy mash-up Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Walker will take on the role of Brick, a part that the rumor mill had suggested might go to actor Chris Pine (of the Star Trek reboot) or Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy, The Hurt Locker).  British actor Ciaran Hinds (Broadway’s The Seafarer, the upcoming season of TV’s Game of Thrones) will play the part of Big Daddy and Broadway musical theater mainstay Debra Monk (Curtains, Steel Pier) will be Big Mama.

Porgy and Bess Closes on Broadway Today

The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess closes today, having played over 300 performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.  The famed American folk opera debuted on Broadway in 1935, but this production brought it to a whole new audience.  The stunning score features Gershwin classics like “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty Of Nothin’,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “Bess, You Is My Woman Now”.

Before the production even began performances on Broadway, it had created a stir.  Director Diane Paulus, along with playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and composer Diedre Murray (who adapted this version of the opera to make it more suitable for Broadway), announced their intention to flesh out the character of Bess in particular, and to make further changes to the show in order to make it more palatable for modern audiences who might find aspects of its portrayal of poor black life outdated.  Many theater purists were outraged at the thought of changes being made to a musical masterpiece, but eventually their voices were drowned out by the positive buzz and acclaim that accompanied the show when it finally opened.

Porgy and Bess won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, and star Audra McDonald nabbed yet another Tony.  The musical also received numerous additional nominations for stars Norm Lewis, Phillip Boykin, and David Alan Grier, for director Paulus, and for the show’s orchestrators and designers.

BC/EFA Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction Tomorrow, September 23

The 26th Annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction is tomorrow, September 23, running from 10am to 7pm in Shubert Alley.  Possibly the most beloved event on the Broadway calendar, the flea market is Broadway’s version of a garage sale, in which several Broadway shows and Broadway related organizations set up tables and sell everything from used props and costumes to baked goods made by cast members.  The auction, a much pricier affair, involves the auctioning off of unique items and experiences (e.g. autographed memorabilia, the chance to have a walk-on in a Broadway musical).  All proceeds go to the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA).

From 11am to 3pm, dozens of celebrities (primarily from the worlds of Broadway and television) will sit at the Autograph Table and Photo Booth, giving fans a chance to get signatures and photos with the stars in exchange for a donation to BC/EFA.  Among the long list of participants are Bernadette Peters, Ed Asner, Tyne Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, Ari Graynor, Malcolm Gets, Michael Shannon, Harvey Fierstein, Anthony Rapp, Robert Cuccioli, Steve Kazee, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Will Swenson, Rob McClure, Charles Busch, Danny Burstein, Donna Murphy, Laura Osnes, Nick Adams, Judy Kaye, Mario Cantone, and Rebecca Luker.

Shubert Alley is located between West 44th and West 45th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue.  For more information about the Broadway flea market, click here.

Broadway Performers Come Together For Habitat For Humanity

Members of the Broadway community and beyond will be joining forces with Habitat for Humanity on September 24 for the 1st annual Broadway Builds event.  These Broadway performers will volunteer their time for the day to help revitalize homes in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The celebrities currently scheduled to participate include actors Patrick Stewart, Laura Linney, Michael Cerveris, Carrie Preston, Stew, Dominic Fumusa, Eddie Kaye Thomas, playwright/performer Stephen Belber, and producers Jordan Roth and Daryl Roth.  Actress and frequent Habitat for Humanity volunteer Emily Bergl (A Touch of the Poet and The Rivals on Broadway, TV’s Desperate Housewives), who organized the Broadway Builds event and will also participate, stated that, “We in the Broadway community have a real understanding of the need for affordable housing in New York City.”

People interested in learning more about Habitat for Humanity or finding out how to get involved should visit Habitatnyc.org.