Broadway’s A Christmas Story Announces Competition for Young Writers

In partnership with STOMP Out Bullying, the family-oriented musical comedy A Christmas Story has announced the Young Writers Competition to End Bullying.  6th, 7th, and 8th graders are invited to submit stories (five pages or less) that talk about how their lives have been affected by bullying, whether it’s a personal story, an incident that the writer witnessed, or an explanation of strategies they’ve used to avoid bullies.  Writers are asked to include at least one actionable idea that they think other kids, school administrators, or the community could implement in order to limit future bullying.

Lots of Broadway-related prizes are being offered to the contest winners.  The First Place prize winner gets a walk-on role in the Broadway production of A Christmas Story, the Musical, along with two tickets to the show, a backstage tour, a copy of the original cast album, and an award certificate.  Second and Third Place winners get two tickets, the tour, a copy of the album, and a certificate.  Ten runners-up will receive copies of the original cast album and award certificates.

This anti-bullying competition has a connection to the plot of A Christmas Story — the Broadway musical’s young hero, Ralphie, and his friends have multiple run-ins with a bully.

Students in the NYC tri-state area are eligible to enter the contest.  Entries must be received by December 8, 2012, and they can be emailed to antibullyingentry@gmail.com.

Broadway Blows Back on December 10

David Hyde Pierce

On December 10 at 7:30pm, Broadway joins the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts with “Broadway Blows Back”, a benefit concert to raise money for communities in New York and New Jersey that are struggling in the aftermath of Sandy.  The event will be held at the Gershwin Theatre, home of Broadway’s Wicked.

The concert’s impressive list of scheduled performers includes a host of Broadway regulars and relative newcomers, including David Hyde Pierce, Patrick Wilson, Christiane Noll, Julia Murney, Eden Espinosa, Ashley Brown, Julie Halston, Max Crumm, Christopher Sieber, Dee Hoty, Jessie Mueller, Natalie Joy Johnson, Raymond J. Lee and several more.  Joe Ricci serves as director, and James Lowe is the event’s music director.

Tickets for “Broadway Blows Back” start at $25 and can be purchased here.  All of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to charity.  50% of the funds will go to The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and the other half will go to The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief.

Autism-Friendly Broadway Performances Scheduled in 2013

TDF’s Autism Theater Initiative (ATI) has announced that it will be presenting autism-friendly performances of Broadway shows in the coming year.  These performances will be performed in a supportive environment for an audience made up of children and adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their friends and family.  The productions themselves may include slight adjustments, such as the reduction of jarring sounds or disturbing lighting effects (such as strobe lights).  The lobby of the theater will have designated quiet areas and activity areas, where autism experts will be on hand if any audience members feel the need to leave the theater during the performance.

“When we piloted this program we had a sense that there was a large audience of families in need of this service,” said Executive Director of TDF, Victoria Bailey.  “After the first performance it was clear that our presumption was true.  Watching families experience live theatre together for the first time in an environment that was safe and supportive is a truly emotional and gratifying experience.”

Four Broadway shows are currently scheduled to present autism-friendly performances in 2013:  Elf, the Musical on Saturday, January 5 at 2pm; Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark on Saturday, April 27 at 2pm; The Lion King and Newsies on Fall 2013 dates to be determined.  Tickets for the Elf performance are already on sale at www.tdf.org/elf.

Broadway’s Elf Celebrates 12 Days of Christmas

Starting with tonight’s performance, the Broadway musical Elf will be celebrating its own version of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ in honor of the holiday season.  At the conclusion of select performances of the Christmas-themed musical taking place between now and December 13, a member of the show’s cast will choose a random seat number.  The person sitting in that seat will win a prize, courtesy of a participating partner.

The prizes being given away (each of which is worth at least $250) include a dessert class at chocolatier Jacques Torres, a $250 Macy’s gift card, a spa package, a $500 luxury designer gift basket, a Hard Rock Cafe prize package, a two-night stay at Doubletree Metropolitan, a Warner Brothers DVD package, and a M&M’s World prize package.

These are the performances in which the special prizes will be given away:  11/27 at 7pm, 11/28 at 2pm & 7pm, 11/29 at 7pm, 12/4 at 7pm, 12/5 at 2pm & 7pm, 12/6 at 7pm, 12/11 at 7pm, 12/12 at 2pm & 7pm, and 12/13 at 7pm.  All one has to do to be eligible is buy a ticket to see Elf on Broadway on one of those dates and times.  Furthermore, even the audience members who don’t win the special prize at those performances will still get an assortment of offers from the show’s participating partners.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 11/25/2012

THANKSGIVING BOOSTS BROADWAY SALES
Broadway certainly has cause to be thankful this week for the very existence of Thanksgiving.  The holiday is always a hit on Broadway, when families who have gathered for the long holiday weekend find themselves looking for a festive group activity.  Due to this injection of holiday spirit, Broadway’s total ticket sales revenue shot up to $27,019,880, an enormous improvement from last week’s $20,881,272.

MILLIONAIRES ABOUND ON BROADWAY
Shows that seldom if ever get into seven digits in sales broke the million mark this week as a result of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Not surprisingly, family shows in particular profited, including A Christmas Story ($1,104,312), Annie ($1,499,879), Mary Poppins ($1,118,687), and Newsies ($1,106,383).  Even The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest-running musical by far, managed to bring in $1,125,470, despite the fact that it’s been playing for 25 years.

WICKED AND THE LION KING EXCEED TWO MILLION IN SALES
Without even completely selling out its enormous theater (the Gershwin was filled to 97.09%), tween-friendly musical Wicked managed to blow past the two million mark and take the top spot, earning a whopping $2,290,819.  The Lion King, which has held a corner on the family theater-going market for years, also was a two-millionaire, completely selling out its theater and bringing in $2,125,661.

NOT ENOUGH WEALTH TO GO AROUND
While many Broadway shows enjoyed the Thanksgiving bounty, most shows that were already struggling continued to do so.  The new musical Chaplin only filled 57.31% of its theater, though its average paid admission was a respectable $77.86.  Scandalous‘ attendance was shockingly low, as the Kathie Lee Gifford-penned musical only filled 33.28% of its theater.  Having Katie Holmes as its star didn’t help the new play Dead Accounts sell more than $61.51% of its theater, but its average paid admission of $81.06 wasn’t bad for a play.  Plays in general (e.g. Cyrano, Golden Boy, The Anarchist) didn’t do too well, as they aren’t very popular with the holiday crowd.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending November 25, 2012:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
A CHRISTMAS STORY $1,104,312 11,963 87.74% $92.31
ANNIE $1,499,879 12,899 94.40% $116.28
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $577,305 7,493 70.21% $77.05
CHAPLIN $373,040 4,791 57.31% $77.86
CHICAGO $675,747 7,472 86.48% $90.44
CYRANO DE BERGERAC $344,631 5,375 92.29% $64.12
DEAD ACCOUNTS $402,460 4,965 61.51% $81.06
ELF $997,145 10,192 79.53% $97.84
EVITA $1,012,795 8,758 67.91% $115.64
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS $853,737 5,419 101.20% $157.55
GOLDEN BOY $164,198 4,459 56.30% $36.82
GRACE $320,199 3,897 45.15% $82.17
JERSEY BOYS $1,009,048 8,483 86.35% $118.95
MAMMA MIA! $862,275 9,841 82.12% $87.62
MARY POPPINS $1,118,687 12,633 87.88% $88.55
NEWSIES $1,106,383 9,559 99.99% $115.74
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $877,412 8,733 75.86% $100.47
ONCE $1,166,784 8,503 100.46% $137.22
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $540,463 5,841 70.34% $92.53
ROCK OF AGES $496,583 4,144 88.85% $119.83
SCANDALOUS $194,511 3,631 33.28% $53.57
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,779,777 13,152 85.18% $135.32
THE ANARCHIST $317,201 4,462 69.54% $71.09
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,801,672 8,752 102.63% $205.86
THE HEIRESS $505,468 5,127 67.39% $98.59
THE LION KING $2,125,661 13,417 100.01% $158.43
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD $370,869 5,946 74.03% $62.37
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,125,470 12,239 95.32% $91.96
WAR HORSE $701,152 6,885 80.51% $101.84
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? $304,196 3,382 61.78% $89.95
WICKED $2,290,819 14,051 97.09% $163.04
Total:  $27,019,880 246,464 79.31% $102.65

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

Cyrano Concludes Its Broadway Run

The famed figher, poet, and lover of the title must put away his sword as Cyrano de Bergerac ends its limited run at Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre today.  Though the production enjoyed many good reviews, it was not a major hit for the non-profit company, Roundabout Theatre Company, that produced it.

Cyrano de Bergerac marked the return of Douglas Hodge to Broadway.  Hodge made a big impression on the New York City theater community when he made his Broadway debut in the 2010 revival of La Cage Aux Folles.  Playing the sensitive Albin, he earned a Tony Award for his efforts.

Douglas Hodge was joined onstage by a fine cast that included Patrick Page (recently playing the Green Goblin in Spiderman), Clemence Poesy, and Max Baker.  Cyrano de Bergerac was written by Edmond Rostand back in 1897, but the poignant and often humorous romance, which continues to charm audiences today, has enjoyed several revivals on Broadway and even a few musical adaptations since then.

Upcoming Broadway Musical Matilda Has Found Its Stars

The forthcoming Matilda the Musical has finally found the young ladies who will play the role of the title character — all four of them.  Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon, and Milly Shapiro are the talented performers who will alternate in the part of the musical’s bright young heroine.  Each of the actresses is making her Broadway debut.

Already a big, award-winning hit in London, Matilda the Musical comes to Broadway’s Shubert Theatre this spring.  The show will begin its preview performance period on March 4, 2013, with its official Broadway opening set for April 11.  The pint-sized performers will be joined onstage by Bertie Carvel, the Olivier Award-winning actor who is going to reprise the role of Miss Trunchbull, which won him so much acclaim in London.

Matilda the Musical has a score by Tim Minchin and a book by Dennis Kelly.  Tony winner Matthew Warchus directs the production.

Play About New York Yankees In the Works

It appears that Broadway plays Lombardi and Magic/Bird were just the beginning.  Now producers Tony Ponturo and Fran Krimser, who were behind both of those recent sports-themed Broadway shows, are developing a theater project about one of the most famous sports teams of all time, the New York Yankees.  With the blessing of Major League Baseball and the Yankees themselves, Ponturo and Krimser plan to oversee the creation of a work that will reveal the true personalities, triumphs, and significant private moments behind the legends.

New York Yankees’ chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, stated, “It is a thrill that two iconic American institutions, the Yankees and the Broadway Theater, are joining together … Just as generations of fans have been captivated in their seats at Yankee Stadium, theatergoers will be able to experience the same drama and joy.”

This new Yankees-based theatrical work is still in the earliest stages, so there is not yet a creative team, venue, or timeframe set.  The producing team’s other sports-themed Broadway shows, Lombardi and Magic/Bird, were not hugely successful on Broadway, but they were credited for introducing many sports fanatics to the fun of live theater.  Furthermore, these shows are all likely to have long lives outside of Broadway, on tour and in regional theaters.

Theater’s Stars Shine at Broadway Unplugged

Cheyenne Jackson

A new edition of “Broadway Unplugged” is scheduled for Monday, December 3 at 8pm, and the event has announced a list of great Broadway performers who will be taking part.  Cheyenne Jackson (The Performers), Laura Osnes (soon to be Broadway’s own Cinderella), Andy Karl (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Julia Murney (Falling), Orfeh (Legally Blonde), Natalie Toro, William Michals, Jeffry Denman, and Bill Daugherty are currently on the roster.  More names are expected to be announced soon.

A New York City theater tradition, “Broadway Unplugged” is produced by Scott Siegel.  What makes these concerts different than your average concert featuring Broadway talent is that this one harkens back to the early days of Broadway by having the singers perform without the aid of microphones.  In addition to allowing the audience to better appreciate Broadway songs in their pure, un-amplified form, “Broadway Unplugged” also gives its stars a chance to show off their chops by filling the 1,500-seat Town Hall theater space with their voices.

To find out more about “Broadway Unplugged” or to purchase tickets, click here.

Broadway’s Original Jersey Boys Stars Release Holiday Single

The Midtown Men

Their time together singing the hits of Frankie Valli and The Four Seaons in Jersey Boys on Broadway inspired some of the hit production’s original stars to continue making sweet music under the name of the group The Midtown Men.  Comprised of Christian Hoff (Tommy DeVito), Daniel Reichard (Bob Gaudio), J. Robert Spencer (Nick Massi), and Michael Longoria (Frankie Valli understudy), The Midtown Men are currently on a tour that’s taking them all over the nation, from Las Vegas to New Jersey.

In anticipation of the Christmas season, The Midtown Men have put out a holiday single called “All Alone On Christmas,” which was written and arranged by Steven Van Zandt (who also, along with other E Street Band musicians, plays on the track).  The song can be purchased on iTunes, and all the proceeds from this digital download are going to the American Red Cross to help Hurricane Sandy victims.

To find out if The Midtown Men are singing anywhere near you, visit them online at www.themidtownmen.com.  In concert, they specialize in ’60s hits by The Beach Boys, The Beatles, famed Motown artists, and, of course, The Four Seasons.