Public Theater Hosts Block Party This Saturday

The Public Theater, the Off-Broadway theater company that is responsible for NYC’s annual Shakespeare in the Park and the recent hit Broadway revival of Hair, is celebrating the revitalization of its downtown home on Saturday, October 13 with an open house and block party out on Lafayette Street.  Following extensive renovations (to the tune of $40 million) that have vastly improved the Public’s multi-theater building at 425 Lafayette St., the famed New York City theater institution has been celebrating its revitalization.

The block party, which will be held from 12pm to 5pm on Saturday, will feature performances from many musicians associated with the Public’s music lounge, Joe’s Pub, such as Hair‘s Sasha Allen and legendary banjo player Tony Trischka.  There will also be ‘sneak peek’ presentations of musicals scheduled to be presented at the Public Theater soon, including Giant (Michael John LaChiusa / Sybille Pearson), The Total Bent (Stew / Heidi Rodewald), Fun Home (Jeanine Tesori / Lisa Kron), and Here Lies Love (David Byrne / Fatboy Slim).

Revelers at the block party will have plenty of eating options, as a number of popular New York City food trucks will be available, among them Go Burger, The Treats Truck, Gorilla Cheese, Rickshaw Dumplings, Valducci’s Pizza, and more.  Gourmet selections, along with drinks, will also be served in spaces throughout the Public Theater complex, giving people a chance to enjoy refreshments while checking out the renovations.

For more information on the festivities, visit www.publictheater.org.

Broadway Gets Out the Vote on October 14

Celia Keenan-Bolger

Broadway for Obama, a new organization created by brother-sister Broadway performers Andrew Keenan-Bolger (currently playing Crutchie in Newsies) and Celia Keenan-Bolger (playing Molly in Peter and the Starcatcher), presents “Broadway Gets Out the Vote,” a voter education event being held from 7-10pm on Sunday, October 14.  Several members of the Broadway community are scheduled to participate, and the event is open to the public.

The main goal of “Broadway Gets Out the Vote” is to inform the theater community about issues at the heart of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, and to get them excited about educating others.  “The only way we’re going to win this election is by reaching out to people in swing states and showing our enthusiasm for President Obama,” said Celia Keenan-Bolger in a press statement.

Like many ‘get out the vote’ events, this one will start with an information session, telling people how they can get involved, followed by a phone drive.  But unlike your average political event, this one will be attended by a number of Broadway stars.  Max von Essen (Evita), Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Sister Act), Nick Adams (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Nikki Rene Daniels (Porgy and Bess), and Kara Lindsay (Newsies) are among those currently scheduled to participate.

To join the event, which is being held at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, you must RSVP at my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gb734b.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 10/7/2012

BIG INCREASE IN OVERALL BROADWAY TICKET SALES
Total Broadway ticket sales saw a huge upsurge this week, rising from just over $17 million last week to $20,107,204.  This is a good sign that the new Broadway season has officially started, as tourists begin making their autumn pilgrimages to New York City and locals start to check out the season’s new Broadway shows.

NEW MUSICAL ANNIE DEBUTS
Annie debuts on the chart this week and is already showing promising numbers, such as a theater filled at 84.86% capacity.  This is not surprising considering Annie is already a famous “brand,” complete with its iconic orphan protagonist and a slew of well-known songs, including “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life”.

THE HEIRESS OPENED THIS WEEK
The other new show to begin performances this week is The Heiress, and that one is showing even better numbers, filling at 93.66% capacity with an average paid admission of $84.59.  Even with only a few performances under its belt, The Heiress is already showing up this season’s other classic play revivals, An Enemy of the People, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which have not been able to get their average paid admissions to rise even as high as $60.  But that is likely because The Heiress has a secret weapon in co-star Dan Stevens, who has gained a cult following over the last couple years with his role in the PBS smash success Downton Abbey.  And their star, Jessica Chastain, has been a break-out film star, appearing in such movies as The Tree of Life and The Help.
The ticket sales chart is only considering The Heiress based on three shows because the show premiered just last Saturday, October 6. 2012.  With a high average ticket price, a capacity of 93.66% and continued support of these actors we anticipate the The Heiress will do well in upcoming weeks.

THE BOOK OF MORMON DETHRONED AS TOP BROADWAY SHOW
This week, leading up to the extended Columbus Day weekend, the Broadway ticket market saw The Lion King and Wicked rise above the sold out Book of Mormon for the first time in gross ticket sales.
These three shows are close to 100% capacity, so they didn’t actually sell any more tickets – they just priced their ticket face value higher to get the extra financial boost during the popular holiday run-up week. The producers at The Book of Mormon also attempted to raise their prices to match this increased demand, but they lacked the experience of the other shows and didn’t raise it enough, losing out on their their top spot in Broadway ticket sales revenue. The Book of Mormon ended up committing the Broadway cardinal sin of allowing ticket brokers to yield more value from their ticket purchases in a popular time and not funneling those profits back into the Broadway production.
For the record, The Lion King raised their average ticket prices by $17.19 (from $119.27 to $136.46) after reaching a 100% capacity in previous weeks.  The Lion King is now the top grossed show this week in ticket sales, surpassing The Book Of Mormon.

WICKED MOVES INTO THE NO.2 SLOT
Wicked
jumped on the band wagon with a $10.61 increase in their average ticket price from $114.32 to $124.93.  This increased both their Gross Margin in addition to the number of tickets sold by 1,026, landing Wicked as the second highest grossing Broadway show in ticket sales.  The Book of Mormon had been the top grossing show for some time, but not this week.  With only a $3.71 increase in ticket price, the sold out show The Book Of Mormon increased their overall gross, but not nearly enough to keep pace with the other Broadway shows and thus lost their #1 spot and were effectively relegated to the #3 spot.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending October 7, 2012:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE $235,576 4,125 80.07% $57.11
ANNIE $560,928 7,247 84.86% $77.40
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $529,272 8,210 76.93% $64.47
CHAPLIN $532,747 6,903 82.57% $77.18
CHICAGO $729,458 8,439 97.67% $86.44
CYRANO DE BERGERAC $205,262 4,794 82.31% $42.82
EVITA $1,084,321 10,281 79.72% $105.47
GRACE $511,130 7,423 85.99% $68.86
JERSEY BOYS $1,156,115 9,735 99.09% $118.76
MAMMA MIA! $961,683 11,139 92.95% $86.33
MARY POPPINS $869,373 11,989 83.40% $72.51
NEWSIES $993,020 9,513 99.51% $104.39
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $1,093,515 10,851 94.26% $100.78
ONCE $1,051,081 8,454 99.88% $124.33
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $422,517 5,904 71.10% $71.56
ROCK OF AGES $532,998 4,573 98.05% $116.55
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,291,290 12,292 79.61% $105.05
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,668,832 8,752 102.63% $190.68
THE HEIRESS $151,328 1,789 93.66% $84.59
THE LION KING $1,831,098 13,419 100.02% $136.46
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $975,303 12,334 96.06% $79.07
WAR HORSE $646,331 7,684 89.85% $84.11
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? $267,184 4,976 90.90% $53.69
WICKED $1,806,846 14,463 99.94% $124.93
Total: $20,107,204 205,289 90.04% $93.06

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

Glengarry Glen Ross Delayed Due to Star Pacino’s Schedule

Al Pacino

Theater fans hoping to see Al Pacino take the Broadway stage in the new revival of Glengarry Glen Ross on October 16 are going to have to wait a few more days.  The first preview of this production of the David Mamet-penned modern classic will now start on October 19 instead.

The delay is due to Pacino’s busy schedule.  The actor’s publicist released a statement saying, “Al Pacino has commitments in Los Angeles and a publicity commitment for the preview of his upcoming film, ‘Stand Up Guys,’ at the Chicago Film Festival this week.”  Anyone holding tickets for one of the canceled performances will be contacted by Telecharge, which handles the ticketing for Glengarry Glen Ross and many other Broadway shows.

In addition to Al Pacino, the Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross features a cast of Broadway regulars and respected film and TV actors, including Bobby Cannavale, David Harbour, Richard Schiff, Jeremy Shamos, and John C. McGinley.  The play is still scheduled to officially open at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on November 11.

Evita To Present “Broadway Scares” Halloween Benefit

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS holds a number of benefits throughout the year, but now they are taking the year’s scariest tradition by storm with the first-ever Broadway Scares: Night of the Singing Dead extravaganza.  The event will be presented by the cast of the hit Broadway revival Evita and will be held near Times Square at the XL Nightclub (512 W. 42nd Street) on Sunday, October 28.

Hosted by drag star Bianca del Rio, Broadway Scares will begin with a Halloween-themed concert that will feature several Evita cast members, Broadway stars, and a special appearance from the Tony Award winning star of Next To Normal, Alice Ripley.  Following the concert, audience members will be invited to take part in a costume contest, judged in part by gossip blogger and Newsical The Musical star Perez Hilton.  The fun will continue on late into the night with a ghoul-friendly dance party.

The Broadway Scares: Night of the Singing Dead benefit starts at 9pm (doors open at 8:30pm).  Tickets for this spooktacular event are a bargain at just $40 for reserved seating, or $20 for general admission.  Buy tickets by calling 212-840-0770 (ext. 268) or by visiting www.broadwaycares.org online.

King Kong Musical Event To Be Streamed Live October 7

The world’s most notorious ape will soon be conquering the theatrical stage in King Kong, a brand new musical launching in Melbourne, Australia.  But you don’t have to go all the way Down Under to get a sneak peek at this enormous new tuner.  All you need is a good internet connection to catch the one-time-only preview presentation of King Kong, which will stream live on Sunday, October 7 at 10pm Eastern Standard Time.

This King Kong launch event will feature an announcement of the cast and the contemporary artists who are contributing to the show’s score, a reveal of costume designs and set models, interesting insights from King Kong‘s creative team, and live performances of original songs from the musical’s score.

In development for the last five years, King Kong is being produced by Global Creatures, the same company that has created eye-popping stage spectacles Walking With Dinosaurs and How To Train Your Dragon Live.  You can view the King Kong launch event online at www.kingkongliveonstage.com.

Special Events Scheduled To Promote New Broadway Play Grace

New Broadway plays, which rarely get the exposure of more splashy, tourist-friendly musicals, can use all the promotional opportunities that they can get.  To get some extra notice, the brand new Broadway play Grace has scheduled notable events for the month of October.

Right on the heels of the extremely high-profile release of the iPhone 5, the cast of Grace will make an appearance at the Apple Store in SoHo on Monday, October 8 from 7-8pm.  Appropriately, the Apple Store has its own small theater, where cast members Paul Rudd, Ed Asner, Michael Shannon, and Kate Arrington will discuss the show with CNN’s Shanon Cook, who will serve as moderator.  Members of the public are welcome to attend the free event, and there will also be a Q&A segment.  (For those who can’t make it, the discussion will be recorded for a future podcast.)

Grace is also launching a talkback series to be held following Wednesday evening performances of the play, beginning with the October 10 performance.  For that talkback, theater journalist Patrick Pacheco will moderate a discussion with the entire cast of the show.  The following talkback, on October 17, will feature Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert and Reverend Stephen Phelps (of NYC’s Riverside Church) in a discussion about the play’s themes of faith and religion.  The October 24 post-show discussion will also focus on issues of faith, as Marble Collegiate Church’s Dr. Michael Brown, who served as a consultant on Grace during rehearsals, will participate in the talkback.

Peter and the Starcatcher Introduces Post-Show Talkback Series

Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher has begun holding post-performance talkbacks on Wednesday nights.  With these post-show discussions, the multiple Tony Award winning play is offering audiences a chance to be drawn further into the wacky universe of the show, which is a telling of the origins of Peter Pan and his world.

The next scheduled Peter and the Starcatcher talkback will be held following the Wednesday, October 10 performance.  The discussion will feature the participation of Sandy Duncan, the sprightly actress known for her starring role as the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up in the 1979 Broadway production of the musical Peter Pan.  Joined by Peter and the Starcatcher‘s Adam Chanler-Berat, Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Matthew Saldívar, Duncan will talk about the challenges of taking on an iconic role on the Broadway stage.

The following week’s post-show discussion, to be held after the Wednesday, October 17 performance, will focus on Peter and the Starcatcher‘s design.  Set designer Donyale Werle and costume designer Paloma Young, who both earned Tonys for their efforts, will talk about their creative processes.  They will be joined by the play’s director, Roger Rees, and playwright Rick Elice.

Celebrate Rocktoberfest with Broadway’s Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, Broadway’s most hard rocking musical, embraces the Fourth Annual Rocktoberfest this month with a series of special events.  The show kicked off the month-long celebration on October 2 with a Military Appreciation Night that gave free tickets to 160 soldiers and veterans and offered a post-show party.

Fridays are a special day throughout October, as members of the audience attending Rock of Ages on the nights of October 5, 12, and 19 are given the chance to win free tickets to Six Flags Great Adventure Fright Fest.  Sunday evening shows will also feature a giveaway, with one audience member receiving a Rock of Ages prize package.

“Culture Club Weekends” mean that on Friday and Saturday nights, Rock of Ages attendees can use their ticket stubs to gain free entry to Culture Club, New York City’s premiere ’80s dance club.

On October 23, amNewYork will give one member of the audience a prize that includes New York Yankees tickets.  On October 27, a pre-matinee mixer for singles will offer a chance for metalheads to mingle.

Throughout October, the Hard Rock Cafe is offering a 10% discount to anyone who shows a Rock of Ages ticket stub.

Rocktoberfest culminates in a Fan Appreciation Night on October 29.  To be considered to receive free tickets for Fan Night, click here.  Until October 15, fans are invited to submit photos and stories in order to be nominated for the Rock of Ages Fan Award.

Rebecca Cancels Broadway Engagement Again

The woeful tale of the Broadway-bound musical Rebecca continues.  The musical had to cancel its Broadway engagement last season due to lack of funds, and now it has canceled its planned production this season, once again due to investor troubles.  The show initially just delayed rehearsals when a key investor, Paul Abrams, died from malaria, as lead producer Ben Sprecher announced his commitment to ensuring that they could secure the needed funds to proceed with the production.  However, in a new announcement from Sprecher and co-producer Louise Forlenza, they have said that they now must officially postpone the production since, they claim, that their replacement investor was scared away by a malicious email sent by an anonymous person.

The postponement of the show itself–a  misfortune for the many cast members, the creative team, and crew members who expected to have a job this season–has been overshadowed by the many questions surrounding the investor whose untimely death prompted Rebecca‘s postponement.  A New York Times investigation into the matter revealed that Sprecher never actually spoke to or met Abrams, only dealing with this major investor via email.  And the death of said Paul Abrams could never actually be confirmed.  Sprecher was apparently informed through email of Abrams’ death from a person identified only as “Wexler,” supposedly a representative of the estate.  These circumstances have led to much speculation as to whether or not the mysterious investor Paul Abrams even existed.

Despite all this, Ben Sprecher insisted in a statement that, “We will not stop our efforts to mount this show and alternatives are already unfolding.”