Thanksgiving Week Features Many Broadway Schedule Changes

Due to the fact that ticket buying patterns tend to change significantly over holidays, most Broadway shows are altering their schedules accordingly this week.  The biggest changes are on Thursday, November 22, Thanksgiving Day itself, when the majority of Broadway shows are canceling performances entirely.  Notable exceptions are Chicago, A Christmas Story, and The Phantom of the Opera, which are still planning to hold shows that day.

Almost as significant are the changes made to Broadway show schedules on Friday, November 23.  To make up for the lost Thanksgiving Day performances, and to account for the fact that many families are looking for entertainment on that Friday, most Broadway musicals and plays have added matinee performances in addition to their usual Friday evening performances.

There are a few other scattered performance additions and cancellations from now through Sunday.  To see the complete Broadway performance schedule for this week, visit the Broadway League’s schedule page here.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 11/18/2012

BROADWAY TICKET SALES RISE SLOWLY
Broadway appears to be gradually recovering from the blow of Hurricane Sandy, as evidenced by the total Broadway sales revenue numbers this week, which came in at $20,881,272, up from last week’s $19,598,827.  However, this week’s revenue is still more than one million shy of the numbers we saw in the week preceding Sandy, which is troubling at a time when a burst of new Broadway shows and holiday tourists should be quickly nudging ticket sales higher.

ANARCHY ON BROADWAY
The new David Mamet play The Anarchist began previews this week.  Though the drama can only dream of doing the numbers that the revival of Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross starring Al Pacino is currently seeing (Glengarry‘s theater is filling at 100.92% capacity with average ticket price at $152.96), The Anarchist had a very respectable start, selling at 73.61% capacity with an average paid admission of $80.43.  The play is likely enjoying a boost from Mamet’s well-known name, as well as having both a movie star (Debra Winger) and a Broadway icon (Patti Lupone) leading the cast.

POOR PERFORMANCE
Two of the three bottom earners last week, An Enemy of the People and The Performers, have now closed.  An Enemy of the People was a limited run for the non-profit Manhattan Theatre Club and managed to play its entire engagement, but The Performers was a commercial venture that succumbed to poor ticket sales and largely negative reviews.  Cutting their losses, the show’s producers decided to close just a few days after the play officially opened.  Meanwhile Scandalous, which has the lowest average paid admission at $23.77, plays on, but the bad reviews that the show received upon its opening this past week could mean that it is doomed.

THE LION KING’S CROWN IS SNATCHED AGAIN
Not only has The Lion King, once the biggest money-maker on Broadway, lost its spot at the top again this week to The Book of Mormon (Lion King earned $1,402,169, compared to Book of Mormon’s $1,620,206), but it was also beat out by Wicked, which brought in $1,598,476.  When this happened a few weeks ago, it appeared that Hurricane Sandy was to blame, but it could be that we’re seeing a downward trend for Disney’s long-running hit.

Then again, it could just be that other family-friendly competition (which is prevalent during the holiday season) such as Elf, A Christmas Story, and Annie are temporarily stealing Lion‘s thunder.  After all, the Tony-winning musical does have a 15-year track record of reigning supreme over other pretenders to the throne.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending November 18, 2012:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
A CHRISTMAS STORY $533,800 10,229 86.92% $52.18
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE $110,560 3,639 70.63% $30.38
ANNIE $883,946 9,960 72.89% $88.75
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $475,838 6,524 61.13% $72.94
CHAPLIN $379,776 5,182 61.99% $73.29
CHICAGO $447,236 5,602 64.84% $79.83
CYRANO DE BERGERAC $284,502 5,141 88.27% $55.34
DEAD ACCOUNTS $367,170 5,007 62.03% $73.33
ELF $545,080 8,630 75.75% $63.16
EVITA $828,669 8,072 62.59% $102.66
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS $1,157,319 7,566 100.92% $152.96
GOLDEN BOY $186,734 4,371 55.19% $42.72
GRACE $299,850 3,835 44.43% $78.19
JERSEY BOYS $892,074 8,725 88.81% $102.24
MAMMA MIA! $584,024 7,387 61.64% $79.06
MARY POPPINS $635,633 9,307 64.74% $68.30
NEWSIES $801,915 8,515 89.07% $94.18
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $821,857 8,507 73.90% $96.61
ONCE $983,986 8,243 97.39% $119.37
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $310,496 5,367 64.63% $57.85
ROCK OF AGES $437,407 4,268 91.51% $102.49
SCANDALOUS $147,572 6,208 75.86% $23.77
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,112,179 11,533 74.70% $96.43
THE ANARCHIST $379,862 4,723 73.61% $80.43
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,620,206 8,752 102.63% $185.12
THE HEIRESS $614,916 6,185 81.30% $99.42
THE LION KING $1,402,169 11,413 97.22% $122.86
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD $329,322 6,480 80.68% $50.82
THE PERFORMERS $218,095 5,674 65.85% $38.44
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $659,195 8,496 66.17% $77.59
WAR HORSE $509,747 6,167 72.11% $82.66
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? $321,666 3,820 69.78% $84.21
WICKED $1,598,476 13,243 91.51% $120.70
Total:  $20,881,272 236,771 75.48% $83.28

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

An Enemy of the People Ends Broadway Run

An Enemy of the People ends its limited run at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre today.  This new production of the Henrik Ibsen classic was one of the first new shows of the 2012-2013 Broadway season, but it struggled during much of its run.

Starring Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines, An Enemy of the People is about a doctor who discovers that a community spa has been contaminated.  When he makes this revelation known, though, he’s surprised to find that people are not grateful but rather angry at him, since the spa accounts for most of the town’s revenue.

An Enemy of the People was produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club as its first production of this Broadway season.  The play made its first appearance on Broadway in 1895, and prior to this production, the most recent Broadway revival was in 1971.

Spider-Man Releasing Calendar for 2013-2014

The popular Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, playing at the Foxwoods Theatre, is releasing a 2013-2014 calendar that will feature the many high-flying men who bring the superhero to life eight times a week on Broadway.

A total of 14 cast members will be spotlighted, including star Reeve Carney, Marcus Bellamy, Julius Carter, Adam Ray Dyer, Drew Heflin, Craig Henningsen, Reed Kelly, Ari Loeb, Adam Roberts, Josh Sassanella, Brett Thiele, Matthew James Thomas, Christopher Tierney, and Matthew Wilkas.  The calendar will also includes the performers’ thoughts on the thrill of playing the iconic hero each night.

Spider-Man calendars are now available for pre-sale on www.SpiderManOnBroadway.com, and will also be sold directly at the Foxwoods Theatre.  The calendars cost $20 each, and all proceeds will go to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the renowned charity that supports a number of health initiatives and other programs that support members of the arts community.

 

Liza Minnelli To Guest Star on NBC’s Smash

Theater legend Liza Minnelli (daughter of yet another theater legend, Judy Garland) is scheduled to play herself in an episode of NBC’s soapy Broadway-themed television drama Smash, which returns to TV for its second season this coming February.

It is anticipated that the Tony Award-winning Ms. Minnelli (Cabaret, The Act, Flora, the Red Menace) will be singing a new song by Smash‘s resident songwriters, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray).  She will have a duet with fellow Tony-winner, actor Christian Borle (recently of Broadway’s Peter and the Starcatcher), who co-stars on Smash as Broadway composer Tom Levitt.

The name of the Smash episode that Liza Minnelli will appear in is called “The Surprise Party”.  Of her guest appearance, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said, “Liza Minnelli is the essence of a multi-talented, singular show business sensation, particularly for her extraordinary contributions to Broadway.  So what could be more fitting than to have her legendary talent on a show that celebrates a world Liza has dazzled for decades?”

Scandalous Opens on Broadway

The new musical Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson opens tonight at the Neil Simon Theatre.  Written by Kathie Lee Gifford (Book and Lyrics), David Friedman (Music), and David Pomeranz (Music), Scandalous is an original musical based on the life of a controversial female evangelist who was world-renowned in the 1920s to 1940s.  The musical has been a passion project for Gifford, who has been fascinated by McPherson for decades and wanted to musicalize her story.

During its preview period, which began on October 13, Scandalous has not been without its troubles.  The show has struggled to sell tickets, even earning the lowest average admission ticket price of any Broadway show last week.  Making matters worse, star Carolee Carmello had to go on vocal rest yesterday due to voice strain, necessitating the cancellation of two performances right before opening night.  Hopefully being rested up will enable Carmello, a Broadway veteran who is highly-regarded in the theatrical community, to give a knockout performance on opening night.

Henry Winkler and Cheyenne Jackson in “The Performers” – Broadway Show Review

Henry Winkler, Alicia Silverstone, Cheyenne Jackson, Daniel Breaker, Ari Graynor and Jenni Barber in the Performers on Broadway

The Performers on Broadway – Sara Krulwich

If you anticipate that Henry Winkler’s “Fonz” from Happy Days and Alicia Silverstone’s “Cher” from Clueless will turn up onstage at the Longacre Theatre for the Broadway production of The Performers, you may be disappointed.  But who does turn up are a wonderful ensemble of actors performing a funny yet poignant romantic comedy about two couples from very different backgrounds, both with relationship problems, thrust together against the unique backdrop of the Adult Film Awards in a Las Vegas hotel.

Cheyenne Jackson plays successful porn star Mandrew, who loves his work and is hoping to win this year’s coveted adult film award for best actor. He is married to a porn actress, Peeps, played by Ari Graynor, who is a needy, simple-minded, but lovable companion in dire need of a life rudder, which Jackson provides perfectly. Alicia Silverstone plays Sara, a plain schoolteacher who has lost her passion for her fiance Lee (Daniel Breaker), the only person she has ever slept with. Added into the mix is Winkler as Chuck Wood, Mandrew’s porn star adversary (who is also up for the same award), and porn actress Sundown LeMay, played by Jenni Barber, who manages to create amusing havoc along the way.

Although Mandrew anticipates winning a number of honors at the Adult Film Awards, the gods may have other plans for him as he circumnavigates his relationship with Peeps, tries to recapture his friendship with his high school friends Sara and Lee (who happen to be in town to write a piece about him for the New York Post), and attempts to defeat the aging Chuck Wood for the most coveted award.

With David West Read’s writing and Evan Cabnet’s direction, this hilarious play takes us on a comedic trip through the trials and tribulations of an adult film couple’s relationship when it crashes into a couple at the other end of the sexual spectrum. The comedy reminds us that adult film stars are not that different from the rest of us after all, albeit with their preference for close-up bukake action face shots.

Cheyenne Jackson provides an amazing performance and captures a handsome but dimwitted Adonis working in a industry that he loves. When out of his element, Mandrew becomes confused and often draws on his only frame of reference, the porn industry, delivering hysterically funny responses with perfect timing. Jackson’s performance is an ideal balance of funny and touching. Opposite Jackson, Ari Graynor plays a very similar character to the one she recently played in her movie For a Good Time, Call…  She delivers a sound performance as Peeps in this show, but it remains to be seen if she has the acting chops for anything outside the ditzy, confused simpleton. There were signs of hope when her character began to develop beyond the two-dimensional, but it appears that Cabnet’s direction may have stopped her character development in its tracks.

Silverstone’s whiny Clueless line delivery does creep into a few scenes as she fleshes out the plain, sexually bored teacher opposite Daniel Breaker’s Lee.  The infamous Howard Stern has often been quoted as saying that, “Actors who can only shine as retarded or drunk characters aren’t often strong enough actors to capture the nuances of real, more subtle, less caricature characters.”  This may be true of Silverstone’s performance. The only time in this show where Silverstone really only comes into her own is when she is playing the falling down drunk version of Sara and yells at Chuck Wood to “Get me a coffee, bitch!”

Daniel Breaker does, however, shine as the hapless reporter trying to keep his marriage together during a difficult, often turbulent time. His portrayal of Lee is developed perfectly as his character becomes better educated in the world of sex, something that Lee is clearly unfamiliar with and demonstrates to great comedic effect.

It appears that playwright David West Read hasn’t seen too many porn movies, nor actually met any porn actors, because his caricature of the talent is so far off the mark. With an “everyone in the industry is a moron” approach, it’s more pandering than a gross mis-characterization, but often straying into extreme stereotypes that don’t add any funny to the scenes and with so many missed opportunities. The show’s dialogue may give some insight into Read’s exposure to porn when Sara indicates that she knows about the porn industry from reading a paper during her work on her master’s degree. Methinks that David West Read is referring to himself.

Jenni Barber’s stage talent is virtually untapped in this show, with her portrayal of a one-dimensional dumb blonde porn actress, the epitome of the Hollywood bimbo. One key final scene with Winkler is squandered to tepid sexual humor, when Read could have written just one line, just one line in the whole show, that would have established that, maybe, Sundown LeMay was the genius and we were the bimbos.

The small disappointment in The Performers is Winkler as Chuck Wood. It appears that Winkler, a veritable national treasure, can only play two characters: The Fonz and Henry Winkler. It is Henry Winkler who shows up for this show, and although it is a great honor to be in his presence, he fails to bring any depth to Chuck Wood, an over-the-hill porn star who knows that his career is over and his demise is near, but cannot quite quit before he crashes into the wall, because porn is all he has. Winkler has some great opportunities with his scenes and delivers on a key monologue that contains heart and humor, but his performance overall ultimately falls flat as does his interaction with the other actors.

The Performers is a funny romantic comedy farce, with lots of heart, but ultimately a little disappointing. We anticipate it may go straight-to-video — right after the money shot.

Mystery of Edwin Drood Reveals Itself on Broadway

The Mystery of Edwin Drood officially opens at Studio 54 tonight.  Based on an unfinished Charles Dickens story, Edwin Drood takes place in Victorian London, where a romantic and mysterious tale unfolds.  In an intriguing and very theatrical nod to the fact that the story was left incomplete due to Dickens death, the musical gives the audience the opportunity to choose the ending.

Theater legend Chita Rivera stars in this production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company.  Also starring in the production is an array of Broadway veterans and promising newcomers, including Will Chase, Gregg Edelman, Jessie Mueller, Stephanie J. Block, Andy Karl, Peter Benson, Jim Walton, and Betsy Wolfe.

Written by Rupert Holmes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood premiered at Shakespeare in the Park in 1985 before going on to a Tony Award-winning Broadway run.  Holmes has even written some brand new material for this production.

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

POST-SANDY TOTAL BROADWAY SALES IMPROVING
Although its not up yet to pre-Hurricane Sandy numbers, the total weekly Broadway ticket sales revenue has bounced back considerably, from the terrible low of $13,578,724 during the week of the storm and its immediate aftermath up to $19,598,827.  Those numbers can only improve as New York City works at getting back to normal, with more and more locals getting power back and most transportation routes restored.

BROADWAY GETTING BACK TO NORMAL
After a rough week, in which a few incoming shows delayed starting previews, three new Broadway shows started performances this week.  The new seasonal musical A Christmas Story got off to a decent start, filling its theater to 68.13% capacity with an average paid admission of $63.85.  However, given that this Christmas-themed show is an extremely limited run, the producers are likely hoping to seeing it selling better soon.  The new play Dead Accounts had a similarly okay start, at 59.29% capacity with an average admission of $74.13.  Time will tell if the word that Tom Cruise’s ex, Katie Holmes, is starring in the play will make ticket sales spike.  Lincoln Center Theater’s revival of the drama Golden Boy only earned an average admission of $46.00 for its first week in previews, but non-profits like LCT have come to expect low numbers like that until opening, at which point they hope for a rave from the Times.

THE BOOK OF MORMON BESTS LION KING AGAIN
For the second week in a row, super-hit The Book of Mormon has beat long-running favorite The Lion King in total weekly sales.  The two have been engaged in a power struggle for some time and it will be interesting to see if The Book of Mormon can continue to tame the Lion.  Wicked came in third, making just a few hundred dollars less than The Lion King.  Other than those three, Spiderman was the only other Broadway show to earn over a million this week.  Even the Al Pacino-starring Glengarry Glen Ross, which is filling at 98.76% at an average paid admission of $133.89, could break the million mark.  The fact that some other more popular shows like Evita and Once didn’t manage those kinds of total sales this week might point to more post-Sandy affects, or it could be that they are losing ticket buyers to the many new shows on Broadway now that the fall season is in full swing.

UNDER-PERFORMING BROADWAY SHOWS
Though shows like An Enemy of the People and Cyrano de Bergerac have showed steadily low numbers during their runs at the non-profit theaters Manhattan Theatre Club and the Roundabout Theatre Company, respectively, there are two newer shows that are struggling even more.  The Kathie Lee Gifford co-authored musical Scandalous is doing extremely poorly, with an average paid admission of just $26.90, indicating that even to fill the theater to its modest 62.47% capacity, the show is having to “paper” the theater by giving away many tickets for free.  The new play The Performers is only selling a few more seats than that, with a slightly higher average admission of $31.51.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending November 11, 2012:

 

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
A CHRISTMAS STORY $461,281 7,225 68.13% $63.85
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE $133,315 3,083 68.39% $43.24
ANNIE $872,700 10,763 80.66% $81.08
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $341,557 5,406 50.66% $63.18
CHAPLIN $382,398 5,192 62.11% $73.65
CHICAGO $476,867 5,673 65.66% $84.06
CYRANO DE BERGERAC $258,593 4,642 79.70% $55.71
DEAD ACCOUNTS $310,468 4,188 59.29% $74.13
ELF $438,569 6,502 91.32% $67.45
EVITA $864,021 8,221 63.75% $105.10
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS $991,322 7,404 98.76% $133.89
GOLDEN BOY $88,644 1,927 64.88% $46.00
GRACE $313,522 4,050 46.92% $77.41
JERSEY BOYS $892,540 8,559 87.12% $104.28
MAMMA MIA! $612,816 7,513 62.69% $81.57
MARY POPPINS $603,559 8,982 62.48% $67.20
NEWSIES $740,138 8,063 84.34% $91.79
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $736,134 7,611 66.11% $96.72
ONCE $948,613 7,701 90.99% $123.18
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $268,425 4,404 53.03% $60.95
ROCK OF AGES $471,749 4,365 93.59% $108.08
SCANDALOUS $181,738 6,757 62.47% $26.90
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,077,972 11,314 73.28% $95.28
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,627,820 8,752 102.63% $185.99
THE HEIRESS $583,852 6,310 82.94% $92.53
THE LION KING $1,506,571 12,245 91.27% $123.04
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD $236,602 6,862 85.43% $34.48
THE PERFORMERS $182,143 5,780 67.08% $31.51
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $647,157 8,153 63.50% $79.38
WAR HORSE $516,829 5,912 69.13% $87.42
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? $324,636 3,536 64.60% $91.81
WICKED $1,506,283 12,560 86.79% $119.93
Total: $19,598,827 219,655 73.43% $83.46

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

Broadway Shows To Feature in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A New York City holiday tradition for 86 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is also a great showcase for another NYC staple, Broadway musicals.  This year’s parade, which will air on NBC from 9am to noon on Thursday, November 22, is going to showcase five of this season’s Broadway musicals:  family-friendly shows Annie and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Christmas-themed Elf, the Matthew Broderick-starring Gershwin showcase Nice Work If You Can Get It, and the competitive cheerleading musical Bring It On.

Of course the hallmark of the Thanksgiving parade remains the massive balloons and parade floats that make their way along the parade route from the Upper West Side down to 34th Street.  But performances from Broadway shows add a little musical spark to the proceedings.  Given the broadcast’s enormous national ratings, this gives the featured shows tremendous exposure to potential ticket buyers.  Bring It On in particular, which has struggled to fill seats, is likely to enjoy a box office boost due to its on-air performance.