Rock of Ages Hosts Military Tribute Night on October 2

On Monday, October 2, the hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages salutes the United States military by offering 100 free tickets for that night’s performance to active duty, retired, and veteran members of the military services.  Co-sponsored by U.S. Armed Forces and veterans’ issues awareness non-profit The Boot Campaign, the Military Tribute Night will also include a meet-and-greet with the cast and an invitation to a post-show party held at the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill.

One lucky veteran attending the special show will be given a mortage-free home (provided by Benchmark Mortgage and The Boot Campaign), awarded live onstage immediately following the performance.  To nominate a military vet who will be at the performance for this prize, visit www.BootsRock.com.

Earlier this year, Rock of Ages and The Boot Campaign did a photo session featuring the musical’s cast in costume while wearing military boots.  Go to www.BootCampaign.com to view these photos.  To attend the Military Tribute Night performance of Rock of Ages on Broadway, click here and search for tickets to the October 2 show.

Camp Broadway To Join Village Halloween Parade

The theater arts education company Camp Broadway, which has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of students to attend Broadway shows over the years, will be flying its flag for Broadway in the infamous Village Halloween Parade this October 31.  Camp Broadway is looking for 100 talented Broadway fans (age 21 and over) to join them in performing a mash-up of cult Broadway classics Carrie the Musical and The Rocky Horror Show.  No performing experience is required, and it is a great opportunity for theater lovers to learn an original dance number that has been created by Broadway professionals.

Leading up to the performance in the parade, which takes place in Greenwich Village starting at 7:30pm on Halloween night, Camp Broadway has put together a program that includes choreography rehearsals, a pre-parade dress rehearsal, a make-up demonstration and costume consultation with actual Broadway pros, merchandise and Broadway giveaways, and more.  Participants in the program will walk the Halloween parade route, participate in a televised performance (the parade will be broadcast on NY1 and WPIX), and receive free admission to the Village Parade Halloween party at Webster Hall later that night.

The cost to participate in the Camp Broadway Halloween program is $125.  Visit www.campbroadway.com to find out more.

Chaplin Broadway Show Review

Rob McClure as Charlie Chaplin

The life and career of silent film star Charlie Chaplin hits the stage with the new musical Chaplin, now playing at the Barrymore Theatre.  For those unfamiliar with the man behind the funny little mustache, Chaplin offers an interesting biographical sketch that touches on his vaudeville days in London, his massive Hollywood success, and the controversial turn to politics that led to career-ending charges of communism.

Unfortunately Chaplin doesn’t rise above the level of a sketch often enough.  A scene that depicts young Charlie’s first attempt to act on film, and a sequence that shows how Charlie and his business manager brother Sydney (Wayne Alan Wilcox) make him one of the richest men in the movies are great glimpses into the goings-on of early Hollywood.  But other things are glossed over, as the show depicts his rise to stardom as being lightning fast, and then breezes through his many marriages and declines to explore his apparent attraction to very young women (two of his wives were only teenagers when he married them).  A gossip columnist’s obsession with outing Chaplin as a communist comes off as an over-simplification of a much more intriguing aspect of his life.

But Chaplin does still have a lot going for it.  The show is well directed by Warren Carlyle, and features a fairly simple but attractive and effective set design by Beowulf Boritt.  The costuming, which sticks to shades of black, white, and gray throughout most of the show, creates a sense of period, evoking the old days of black and white movies.  Film footage is also nicely integrated into the show at key points, helping to remind us of Charlie Chaplin’s brilliance on screen.

Chaplin‘s score (written by Christopher Curtis) is not especially memorable, but it works well in the context of the show.  And, unlike many musicals, Chaplin isn’t unnecessarily over-stuffed with songs.

But this musical’s greatest asset is certainly the actor playing Charlie Chaplin, Rob McClure.  In a star-making performance, McClure offers a fully-formed character, showing us a naive young showman as he grows into a true artist, one who wrestles with his own massive ego and eventually with the frustration of feeling forgotten.  It’s amazing how effortlessly McClure transforms from Chaplin the man into the “Little Tramp” character that defined him on the silver screen.  It’s a wonderful performance and helps to make Chaplin well worth seeing on stage, despite its flaws.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales* w/e 9/16/2012

Broadway rallied slightly this week, pushing back up above the $17 million mark in total ticket sales revenue.  The summer tourists may have all fled, but the locals have recovered from their vacations and back-to-school preparations, giving them time to get back into the swing of seeing Broadway shows.

Two new productions, Cyrano de Bergerac and Grace, began previews mid-week, accounting for their particularly low grosses ($103,184 and $219,944, respectively).  With a very low average paid admission of $38.16 so far, Cyrano will need to start building good word-of-mouth to get its numbers up.  Grace, on the other hand, is already selling at nearly 90% capacity with an average paid admission of $76.05.  That play has a secret weapon in the form of star Paul Rudd, whose presence will be a big draw to movie fans who might not otherwise go to a Broadway show.

A slew of recent closings (mostly of shows that had been struggling at the box office) in the last few weeks have helped pave the way for the many new shows opening this fall.  But one straggler in particular is Peter and the Starcatcher, which came in quite low at $373,814 in sales this week.  Its numbers have bounced around quite a bit, with the theater filling anywhere from 60% to 80% capacity over the last several weeks.  The family-friendly show will be getting some stiff competition from Annie, A Christmas Story, and Elf soon, so Peter and the Starcatcher may have a difficult time running much longer.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis - Week ending 09/16/12

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending September 16, 2012:

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE $179,173 4,005 77.74% $44.74
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $442,787 7,412 69.45% $59.74
CHAPLIN $460,925 7,286 87.15% $63.26
CHICAGO $633,465 7,781 90.06% $81.41
CYRANO DE BERGERAC $103,184 2,704 74.39% $38.16
EVITA $1,174,627 11,467 88.92% $102.44
GRACE $219,944 2,892 89.34% $76.05
JERSEY BOYS $962,514 9,451 96.20% $101.84
MAMMA MIA! $820,085 10,461 87.29% $78.39
MARY POPPINS $667,919 9,917 68.98% $67.35
NEWSIES $866,351 9,542 99.81% $90.79
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $930,380 10,087 87.62% $92.24
ONCE $982,878 8,327 98.38% $118.04
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $373,814 6,443 77.59% $58.02
PORGY AND BESS $794,242 8,867 83.02% $89.57
ROCK OF AGES $459,775 4,510 96.70% $101.95
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,222,322 13,459 87.17% $90.82
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,618,059 8,752 102.63% $184.88
THE LION KING $1,599,094 13,230 98.61% $120.87
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $864,177 11,912 92.77% $72.55
WAR HORSE $591,941 7,976 93.26% $74.22
WICKED $1,435,082 13,449 92.93% $106.71
Total: $17,402,736 189,930 88.18% $87.00

*Broadway Grosses provided courtesy of The Broadway League

Broadway Stars Join Charity Bowling Event

Broadway goes bowling on October 22, when the non-profit organization Our Time (which works to help children who have stuttering problems) puts on its 1st Annual Bowling Benefit.  The event, which starts at 7pm that evening, will be held at Lucky Strike, a bowling alley conveniently situated near the theater district, at 42nd Street and 12th Avenue.

Actor Paul Rudd, who has just begun previews in the new play Grace on Broadway, will host the benefit.  It will start with a cocktail reception before both bowling and billiards begin.  Celebrity “lane captains” participating in the event include several current, future, and past Broadway performers, among them Lewis Black, Bobby Cannavale, Victor Garber, Gina Gershon, Once‘s Steve Kazee, Richard Kind, Jesse L. Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Denis O’Hare, Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Amy Ryan, and several other famous personalities and celebrities from TV, film, and theater.

Tickets to Paul Rudd’s All-Star Bowling Benefit are $275-$1,000, and the event does also include an open bar, dinner, and a special performance.  To get tickets, click here.

UK’s National Theatre To Set Up Shop in New York

The United Kingdom’s National Theatre has enjoyed significant success in recent years with transfers of its hit London shows to Broadway.  Notable recent examples include the still-running War Horse and the just-closed comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.  It seems that hardly a Broadway season goes by that doesn’t feature at least one production that has transferred to New York after winning acclaim on the other side of the pond.  These limited-run productions, which usually enjoy equal acclaim from NYC critics, give Broadway audiences an opportunity to see some of Britain’s most talented performers live.

To keep up with the demand, the National Theatre has decided to establish an office in New York.  Up to this point, the National has worked with producing partners here in New York to help facilitate the Broadway productions, but having a “home office” in the U.S. will make it easier for the NT to monitor its North American ventures.  National Theatre executive director Nick Starr said in a press statement, “Establishing this office will allow us to build on existing relationships with American theatre companies, and to continue to foster a theatrical dialogue involving artists from both sides of the Atlantic.”

Despite the fact that the National Theatre was established for British citizens and receives funding from their taxes, it has become an international phenomenon.  Not only through its transfers to Broadway and other countries, but also through the success of its National Theatre Live broadcasts, in which London performances from the National stage are beamed to movie theaters around the globe.

Broadway Director Harold Prince To Host Broadway Salutes Ceremony

Harold Prince (Photo by Elisabeth Novick)

Broadway’s most dedicated and hard-working artists and craftspeople will be honored on September 20th with the annual Broadway Salutes event, held in Times Square.  Legendary director and producer Harold Prince (The Phantom of the Opera, Evita) will serve as the master of ceremonies at Broadway Salutes, which is presented by the Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds and The Broadway League.

Broadway Salutes recognizes the achievements of professional theater workers (e.g. actors, directors, musicians, hair/make-up artists, producers, writers, theater owners, casting directors, publicists, general managers, choreographers, ushers, and more) who have practiced their crafts within the theater industry for a period of 25, 35, or 50 years.

Taking place in the Times Square Visitors Center right in the heart of Times Square, Broadway Salutes begins at 3:30PM on September 20 with a meet and greet.  The actual ceremony starts at 4:30PM.  The event will include a performance by Tony nominee Laura Osnes (Cinderella, Bonnie & Clyde, Grease) and a video montage featuring the honorees.  The ceremony is open to the public.

New Web Series To Showcase Members of the Broadway Community

Graham Douglass and Nathan Lane

A new web series called The Graham Show, launching on September 28, will focus on the Broadway community.  Hosted by Graham Douglass, the series will feature illuminating interviews with Broadway performers, writers, and other theater folk.  Already scheduled to be interviewed on the series are Nathan Lane, Michael Urie, Adam Pascal (Rent), Jersey Boys‘ writer Rick Elice, Roger Rees, John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), and Christian Borle (a recent Tony winner for Peter and the Starcatcher, series regular on TV’s Smash).

The in-depth interviews, which will be filmed at interesting local venues like Joe’s Pub, will run approximately 30-40 minutes.  Graham Douglass aims to take a youth-oriented approach, targeting the demographic of young theater lovers who he hopes will be inspired by the interviews.  “What better way to encourage the next generation of theater professionals and make lifelong fans out of future ticket buyers than to teach them about the industry directly from the stars they admire?” said Douglass in a press release.

Episodes of The Graham Show can be viewed at www.TheGrahamShow.com.  Each Wednesday, the website will also provide a 60-second overview of Broadway news in a segment called “Instant Graham”.

Broadway Musical Wicked Stands Up To Bullies

On October 11, the long-running Broadway hit Wicked will host a special event co-sponsored by anti-bullying organizations The It Gets Better Project and The Ben Cohen Standup Foundation.  The one-night-only event designed “to help combat bullying” will include a performance of Wicked followed by a post-show talk-back discussion with members of the Wicked cast, rugby star Ben Cohen, and It Gets Better co-founder and columnist Dan Savage.  The subject of the talk-back will be about what might be done to stop bullying.

The untold story of the witches of Oz - Wicked Broadway Show

The untold story of the witches of Oz – Wicked Broadway Show

Given its themes about popularity, what it means to be different, and the effects of being treated as an outsider, Wicked is an ideal Broadway show to shine a light on the important issue of bullying.  For the last several years, the show has participated in programs such as BullyBust, which brings a message of tolerance directly to classrooms through special materials and in-class workshops.

Tickets for the Wicked anti-bullying event include admission to the 8pm performance of the show on Thursday, October 11, as well as admission to the post-performance discussion.  Part of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to support both The Ben Cohen Standup Foundation and The It Gets Better Project, both of which work to raise awareness about the serious consequences of bullying and to help give young people the confidence to combat it.

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

Total Broadway ticket sales revenue continued to fall sharply again this week, as anticipated, during this first week of September, bringing in less than $17 million total.  The period between “summer break” and the opening of the new Fall shows can be a little bleak, but producers are hoping that once the new season gets into full swing over the next couple months, business will pick up, which the ticket sales history from previous years confirms.

This week, the Broadway big guns like Evita and Wicked were far from filling to capacity, hovering around the 85% capacity mark.  The Book of Mormon continues to blow the rest of the shows out of the water, filling to 102.63% capacity week after week – with a huge average paid admission of $187.37.

The newly opened musical Chaplin surprised everyone by leaping to 94.06% capacity (up from last week’s 75.35%), though average paid admission remains relatively low at $62.16. Unfortunately, the show received poor reviews from the Broadway critics, but as everyone knows, only the out-of-towners read the reviews –  New Yorkers like to make up their own mind about shows and instead operate on word-of-mouth from their own social networks, which has been favorable for this show, prior to the critics’ reviews delivered this week. This bio-musical about Charlie Chaplin has an open-ended closing date.

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man didn’t go out with a bang, but it did have a solid closing week, with the average paid admission nearly hitting the $100 mark.  Far less impressive was the first week for the Manhattan Theatre Club production of An Enemy of the People, which had an average paid admission of a mere $46.04 this past week.  Lower numbers are to be expected given that the play is only in previews, so reviews and word-of-mouth could give it a boost in the next few weeks – this could also speak to the producers papering the theatre, dragging the numbers into the gutter.
Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis Graph

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending September 9, 2012:

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdmin
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE $158,664 3446 76.44% $46.04
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $416,594 6922 64.86% $60.18
CHAPLIN $488,740 7863 94.06% $62.16
CHICAGO $609,315 7582 87.75% $80.36
EVITA $1,127,304 10893 84.47% $103.49
GORE VIDAL’S THE BEST MAN $685,991 6899 81.13% $99.43
JERSEY BOYS $891,077 9064 92.26% $98.31
MAMMA MIA! $741,090 9333 77.88% $79.41
MARY POPPINS $637,053 9692 67.42% $65.73
NEWSIES $808,755 9138 95.59% $88.50
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $878,834 9307 80.85% $94.43
ONCE $979,937 8145 96.23% $120.31
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $347,198 5919 71.28% $58.66
PORGY AND BESS $610,897 6986 65.41% $87.45
ROCK OF AGES $463,916 4470 95.84% $103.78
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,204,959 13283 86.03% $90.71
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,639,848 8752 102.63% $187.37
THE LION KING $1,566,963 13351 99.52% $117.37
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $829,896 11134 86.71% $74.54
WAR HORSE $525,232 7069 82.66% $74.30
WICKED $1,313,195 12350 85.34% $106.33
Total: $16,925,456 181598 84.49% $90.42

*Broadway Grosses provided courtesy of The Broadway League