Broadway Schedule Changes For Christmas

A Christmas Story Broadway Musical logoThe Christmas holiday, which is right around the corner, is a popular time for seeing Broadway shows.  However, if you are thinking of finally buying some Broadway tickets so that you can take your visiting family to a show, or if you’re considering making a last-minute trip down to the box office to snag seats, you should bear in mind that Broadway tends to change its schedule around during major holidays like Christmas.

Very few Broadway shows will have performances on December 25, Christmas Day, or on December 24, Christmas Eve Day.  If you are determined to spend Christmas on Broadway, though, there are a few notable exceptions.  A Christmas Story, Newsies, and Spider-man Turn Off the Dark will all have matinee performances on Monday, December 24.  On Tuesday, December 25, Chicago, Evita, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? will all perform in the evening, providing a perfect activity for families who have spent all day feasting and are ready for a little entertainment.

Many Broadway shows will make up for their “lost” Christmas Day performances by scheduling matinees on Thursday and/or Friday, days that rarely offer matinees.  With many people taking all of Christmas week off for vacation, these could prove to be very popular performances for Broadway shows, especially the more family-oriented ones.

See the entire Christmas Week Broadway performance schedule here.

Broadway’s Wicked Makes It Into the Smithsonian Museum

Wicked Broadway Musical posterIf there was any doubt that the Broadway musical Wicked has made an indelible mark on American culture, that doubt should disappear with the news that the iconic Elphaba witch costume, hat, and broom from the hit musical have been inducted into the Smithsonian’s popular Washington D.C.-based National Museum of American History.

The induction ceremony took place on December 17, and the costume’s designer, Tony winner Susan Hilferty, was there to sign the deed of gift.  Donna Vivino and Tiffany Haas, current cast members from the Broadway production of Wicked, were there to sing a number from Stephen Schwartz’s popular score to the show.

National Museum of American History acting director Marc Pachter stated that, “This donation is a significant addition to the museum’s entertainment collection and shows the enduring cultural contribution of Broadway hits to American life.”  Current and former musicals The Lion King, Rent, and The King and I are among the other chosen few Broadway musicals to be represented at the Smithsonian museum.

25th Anniversary Phantom Sweepstakes Accepting Entries

The Phantom of the Opera Broadway Musical posterBroadway’s longest-running show, The Phantom of the Opera, is on the verge of celebrating its 25th anniversary on Broadway, and now fans have a chance to win tickets to an invitation-only performance taking place on January 26.  Phantom‘s producers are giving away 100 free pairs of tickets to this exclusive 25th anniversary celebratory performance through an online sweepstakes on the musical’s Facebook page.

But that’s not all.  There will also be two Grand Prize winners, who will not only receive a pair of tickets for the special Phantom performance, but will also win passes to an exclusive post-show party, plus free airfare on American Airlines and a one-night stay at the Algonquin Hotel.

To enter the Phantom of the Opera 25th anniversary sweepstakes, go to the show’s Facebook fan page at and ‘Like’ the page.  For each of your Facebook friends or Twitter follwers that you get to also ‘Like’ the Phantom Facebook page, you will receive an additional entry into the sweepstakes.  All entries need to be received by January 2.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 12/16/2012

Total ticket sales for Broadway shows were slightly lower this week than last, coming in at $23,488,097 (about $400,000 less than last week’s take).  With this being high tourist season, it would seem that Broadway sales should be higher, not lower.  However, the drop could be due to lower attendance among locals, some of whom might have been busy with Chanukah festivities and others who may have been overwhelmed with pre-Christmas shopping and the end-of-year work rush.

The Other Place, an Off-Broadway play that is now taking its chances in the Big Leagues, started preview performances this week.  Starring Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne), the drama managed to fill 70.63% of the theater (not bad for a new play with little buzz), but the average paid admission was only $44.79.  Another new production, William Inge’s Picnic, also began performances this week and experienced similar numbers (72.59% capacity with average admission at $37.82).

It’s no surprise, but most Broadway plays continue to be shut out of the holiday bounty.  While holiday-oriented musicals like Annie, A Christmas Story, and Elf (not to mention heavy hitters like Wicked, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King, Spider-Man, and Once) all made over a million this week, most Broadway plays earned only a fraction of that amount.  Boasting tabloid favorite Katie Holmes didn’t help Dead Accounts to fill even half its theater, and star Paul Rudd (who is particularly high profile right now due to his forthcoming movie This Is 40) wasn’t able to help Grace fill more than 51.19% of its theater.  It’s possible that star-wattage simply doesn’t count for much during the Christmas season, when tourist-heavy audiences are more focused on seeing family shows than an edgy new play.

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

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name Gross Attendance Capacity AvgPaidAdm
A CHRISTMAS STORY $1,377,131 13,479 98.86% $102.17
ANNIE $1,081,871 11,753 86.01% $92.05
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL $536,398 7,835 73.42% $68.46
CHAPLIN $345,699 4,838 57.87% $71.45
CHICAGO $486,418 5,588 64.68% $87.05
DEAD ACCOUNTS $337,545 3,561 44.12% $94.79
ELF $1,137,915 11,150 87.00% $102.06
EVITA $810,297 7,671 59.48% $105.63
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS $1,224,543 8,443 98.54% $145.04
GOLDEN BOY $295,970 5,329 67.29% $55.54
GRACE $296,626 4,419 51.19% $67.13
JERSEY BOYS $1,012,884 8,681 88.37% $116.68
MAMMA MIA! $594,417 6,993 58.35% $85.00
MARY POPPINS $691,677 8,984 62.49% $76.99
NEWSIES $895,240 8,712 91.13% $102.76
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $910,619 8,747 75.98% $104.11
ONCE $1,069,427 8,359 98.76% $127.94
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $330,938 5,243 63.14% $63.12
PICNIC $101,587 2,686 72.59% $37.82
ROCK OF AGES $478,863 4,316 92.54% $110.95
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,121,302 10,516 68.11% $106.63
THE ANARCHIST $268,824 3,900 60.79% $68.93
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,677,950 8,752 102.62% $191.72
THE HEIRESS $450,505 4,704 61.83% $95.77
THE LION KING $1,840,393 13,038 97.18% $141.16
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD $393,684 5,696 70.92% $69.12
THE OTHER PLACE $163,000 3,639 70.63% $44.79
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $757,858 9,441 73.53% $80.27
WAR HORSE $672,506 7,705 90.10% $87.28
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? $259,917 3,115 56.91% $83.44
WICKED $1,866,094 13,452 92.95% $138.72
Total: $23,488,097 230,745 75.40% $94.34

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

Backstage for Christmas Cabaret Showcases Broadway Talent

Go backstage tonight at the “Backstage for Christmas: A Holiday Cabaret”, a unique event being held in a rehearsal room in Broadway’s Foxwoods Theatre (home to Spider-man Turn Off the Dark).  The event will be an intimate, acoustic evening presented in a cocktail party style and featuring a mix of Broadway performers, favorite holiday songs, and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Broadway world.

“Backstage for Christmas” will feature the participation of Broadway singers and actors such as Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid), Julia Murney (Wicked), Lindsay Mendez (Godspell), Seth Numrich (Golden Boy), and The Glee Project‘s Ali Stroker.  Broadway songwriters Tom Kitt (Next To Normal) and Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family) will also take part, while Mary-Mitchell Campbell will serve as music director.

While enjoying music and refreshments, attendees will also be able to take part in a silent auction (there will be bidding opportunities for backstage tours and Broadway tickets).  A special NYC Christmas album will also be available at the cabaret.  All of the proceeds from the evening will go to Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP), an organization that puts performing and visual artists in touch with America’s underserved youth in order to help them use imagination and critical thinking to break out of the poverty cycle.

“Backstage for Christmas: A Holiday Cabaret” begins at 6:30pm tonight, December 17.  Tickets are $75-$100 and can be purchased here.

A Better Holiday Concert Tonight

Santino Fontana

You may think you’ve been to the best holiday concert of the season already, but the It Gets Better Project promises “A Better Holiday Concert” tonight from 7 to 10pm at XL Nightclub, located at 512 West 42nd Street.  Hosted by The Haus of Mimosa comedy duo, the event will feature a number of Broadway and Off-Broadway performers, including Santino Fontana (soon to be the Prince in Broadway’s Cinderella), Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies), Max von Essen (Evita), Donna Vivino, Condola Rashad, and Randy Harrison.

The It Gets Better Project is dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender people see “the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach”.  All of the proceeds from the ticket sales for the concert will go to the Ali Forney Center, an organization that offers support and services for homeless and runaway LGBTQ youth but saw its drop-in center destroyed by Hurricane Sandy last October.

“A Better Holiday Concert” will start with a cocktail party that begins at 7pm.  During the hour-long cocktail reception, the art of photographer Victor Haim will be shown and sold (half of the proceeds from those sales will go to the Ali Forney Center).

Tickets for the concert can be purchased here.

In the Heights Cast Reunion Concert

The 2008 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, In the Heights, is soon to make an appearance in the very neighborhood that the musical celebrates, Washington Heights.  The Broadway musical sensation is getting a revival of a sorts during a one-night-only concert to be held at the United Palace of Cultural Arts (located at Broadway and 175th Street) on February 11.

The In the Heights concert will feature members of the show’s original Broadway cast and the national tour cast, including star (and co-writer) Lin-Manuel Miranda, Christopher Jackson, Karen Olivo, Mandy Gonzalez, Robin De Jesus, Janet Dacal, and Olga Merediz.  Part of the proceeds from the In the Heights concert will go to support arts programs in Washington Heights, as well as The Broadway League’s Family First Nights, a program designed to encourage at-risk families to regularly attend theater.

The event is being organized by The Broadway League’s “Viva Broadway” initiative, which was established in order to help increase theater attendance among Latino audiences across the nation.

Further Casting for Lucky Guy, Starring Tom Hanks, Announced

It has already been big news that Tom Hanks will be hitting the Broadway stage for the first time in early 2013 in the new play Lucky Guy, but now the names of many of his castmates have also been announced.  Hanks will be reunited with Peter Scolari (Magic/Bird, Sly Fox), his co-star on the TV comedy Bosom Buddies, and he was also be joined by Richard Masur (Democracy), Christopher McDonald (Chicago), and Peter Gerety (The Lieutenant of Inishmore).

In Lucky Guy, Tom Hanks plays columnist Mike McAlary.  The play was written by the late Nora Ephron, who worked with Hanks in the films Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.  Directed by George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy will start preview performances at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 1, 2013, and then open on April 1.

The cast of Lucky Guy will also include Stephen Tyrone Williams, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Deirdre Lovejoy, Michael Gaston and Dustyn Gulledge.

Evita To Close on January 26

A few weeks ago the hit Broadway revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice musical Evita announced that stars Ricky Martin, Elena Roger, and Michael Cerveris would be departing in January and that a new slate of stars to replace them would soon be announced.  However, it appears that suitable replacements were not found, and the musical is now scheduled to conclude its run on January 26, 2013 when the current leads depart.

One of Evita‘s producers, Hal Luftig, stated, “Our extensive search for a new cast presented the significant challenges of not only replacing a high-caliber trio of stars but also synchronizing the schedules of potential replacements with that of the production.  Despite going down the road with a variety of artists, the planets have simply not aligned for us to engage the right talent at the right time.”

When Evita closes at the Marquis Theatre next month, it will have played 26 preview performances and 337 regular performances.  A national tour of the Tony Award nominated production is expected to launch in September of 2013.

Alec Baldwin and Shia LaBeouf To Star in Orphans on Broadway

Acclaimed young actor Shia LaBeouf (Lawless, Transformers) will make his Broadway debut in the Spring of 2013 in a production of Lyle Kessler’s play Orphans.  He will be starring alongside Alec Baldwin (TV’s 30 Rock), who is appearing on Broadway for the first time since 2004, when he was in Twentieth Century.

In the play, Shia LaBeouf will play the role of Treat, the eldest of two orphaned brothers living in an old Philadelphia row house and getting by through thievery.  When Treat escalates his criminal activity to kidnapping, the rich man (played by Alec Baldwin) that he kidnaps ends up becoming the father figure that the boys have always wanted.

Under the direction of Daniel Sullivan (Glengarry Glen Ross), Orphans will start previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on March 19, 2013, with opening night set for April 7.