Writers Guild of America Honors Playwright Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard

Playwright Tom Stoppard, whose acclaimed plays have frequently appeared on Broadway, is being given the Writers Guild of America West’s 2013 Laurel Award for Screen, an award that honors a lifetime achievement of outstanding writing for motion pictures. The award will be given on February 17 at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

Though Broadway theater fans tend to think of Tom Stoppard primarily as a playwright, given such distinguished theatrical work as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Arcadia (which was recently revived on Broadway), and the sprawling trilogy The Coast of Utopia, he has been writing steadily for the screen since 1965. Stoppard started out as a television writer in the mid-’60s and then began screenwriting in the mid-’70s. Among his many screenwriting credits, some of the most prominent are Brazil, Empire of the Sun, the recently released Anna Karenina, and Shakespeare in Love, for which he won an Oscar.

Tom Stoppard has been a member of the Writers Guild of America since 1991. In reference to his being honored with the Laurel Award , WGAW vice president Howard A. Rodman said, “We did not want to let his acknowledged brilliance as a playwright blind us to his dramatic talents in our own field … Whether adapting the masters – Nabokov, Greene, Ballard, le Carré, Doctorow, Tolstoy – or crafting his own tales, Stoppard brings dignity and coherence to the act of imagination.”

Glengarry Glen Ross Starring Al Pacino Closes

Glengarry Glen Ross Broadway ShowBroadway has another round of closings today, headed by the very successful limited-run revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross starring Al Pacino. Though Pacino’s turn in the play got a mixed reception from critics, the production sold extremely well at the box office, proving that Al Pacino continues to be a big draw for Broadway theatergoers.

The second of today’s closings is another limited engagement, the Lincoln Center Theater production of the Clifford Odets’ 1937 play Golden Boy, directed by Bartlett Sher. This Broadway revival was one of the more under-the-radar entries this season, opening in December amidst the holiday bustle. The boxing drama, which stars Seth Numrich, Tony Shalhoub, Daniel Jenkins, Danny Burstein, Anthony Crivello, Sean Cullen, and David Wohl, ends its run at the Belasco Theatre today.

Finally, Peter and the Starcatcher is also ending its Broadway run. The play with music, which received several Tony Award nominations and enjoyed positive word-of-mouth, started out Off-Broadway before transferring to Broadway in March 2012. And it was recently announced that there is life after Broadway for Peter as the production will soon transfer to New World Stages for another Off-Broadway run.

Broadway’s Best Concert at Second Stage on January 21

Mary Testa

Mary Testa

A concert for anyone interested in seeing the future of America musical theatre, “Broadway’s Best” is a special event launching The Directory of Contempory Theatre Writers, an exhaustive new resource that gives musical theater fans direct access to 150 composers and lyricists and their mostly unpublished or self-published songs. The concert is being held at Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre (305 W. 43rd Street) on January 21 at 8pm.

“Broadway’s Best” will include the talents of many Broadway and Off-Broadway performers, including Mary Testa, Darius de Haas, Nick Blaemire, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Robin de Jesus, Kenita Miller, Randy Redd, Andrew Samonsky, Morgan Billings, Lucas Steele, and more.

The songwriters whose work will be featured include John Bucchino, Daniel Maté, Tom Gualtieri, David Sisco, Brad Alexander, Adam Mathias, Chris Miller, Nathan Tysen, Peter Mills, Barry Wyner, Michael Wartofsky, Michael Kooman, Christopher Dimond, Jenny Giering, and many more.

The “Broadway’s Best” concert, which will be hosted by Seth Rudetsky, will benefit the Dramatists Guild Fund. Tickets are $45. Reserve by calling 212-246-4422 or click here.

Broadway’s Edwin Drood Gives the Vote to Facebook Fans

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Broadway MusicalBroadway fans who have seen the Roundabout Theatre Company production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood know that one of its unique and popular features is that, during the 2nd act of the musical, the audience is invited to vote on various aspects of the plot, affecting the way that the show ends on any given night.

Now you don’t have to be at Studio 54, where the production plays, in order to register your vote. For a special Wednesday, January 30th performance, the ending of The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be determined by fans who vote on Facebook. By casting your vote on Facebook, you also make yourself eligible to win one of five pairs of tickets being given away to that performance.

To cast your vote, visit www.facebook.com/RoundaboutTheatreCompany/app_177914495580579. Votes must be in by January 24 at 11:59pm.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Opens on Broadway

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Broadway ShowThe latest Broadway revival of the Tennessee Williams masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens at Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theater this evening. Following her Tony Award winning success in another dramatic classic, the recent revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, film actress Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Lost in Translation) now takes on the iconic role of Maggie the Cat, made famous on film by Elizabeth Taylor.

Playing opposite Scarlett Johansson is Benjamin Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on film) as Brick. The cast also features Irish actor Ciaran Hinds (The Seafarer), Debra Monk (set to star again on Broadway in the musical Pump Boys and Dinettes later this season), Emily Bergl, Michael Park, and Brian Reddy.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof began performances on December 18, 2012. The limited-run production, which is directed by Rob Ashford, is scheduled to play through March 30, 2013.

Broadway Musical Carousel To Be Presented in Concert on PBS

Kelli O'Hara

Kelli O’Hara

The classic Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway musical Carousel is being staged at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall from February 27 to March 2 in a concert version that will feature the world-famous New York Philharmonic. Fortunately for those who aren’t able to see the concert staging in person, PBS has announced it will broadcast the event as a part of its “Live from Lincoln Center” series.

Carousel will feature Tony Award-nominated Broadway actress Kelli O’Hara (Nice Work If You Can Get It, South Pacific) as mill worker Julie Jordan and Nathan Gunn as troubled carnival barker Billy Bigelow. The cast of Carousel will also feature Broadway actor Alexander Gemignani (Sweeney Todd) and Stephanie Blythe (The Ring Cycle, Carmen). John Rando will direct the event, Rob Fisher will serve as conductor of the orchestra, and Warren Carlyle will provide choreography.

Carousel boasts some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most beautiful and memorable songs, including “If I Loved You,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over”. Tickets to the Carousel concert are $65 and can be purchased at www.nyphil.org or by phone (212-875-5656).

Cast of Broadway’s Once Will Play Concert at 54 Below

Once Broadway MusicalFans of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Once now have a chance to see its cast play off of the Broadway stage. On February 17 at 7pm, the cast of Once will perform in a concert at the new club 54 Below, which has quickly become a hotspot for Broadway singers and musicians looking for an opportunity to perform in a more intimate venue.

Once‘s cast — which includes actors Steve Kazee, Cristin Milioti, Elizabeth A. Davis, Anne L. Nathan, and David Patrick Kelly — is made up of talented singers and actors who are also excellent musicians. The show requires its cast to play instruments onstage, providing their own accompaniment, which gives the musical a special energy. At the 54 Below concert, they will play a mix of original music and cover songs, as well as a few numbers that were cut from Once.

To see the cast of the Broadway musical Once at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street), there is a $20-$30 cover charge, plus a $25 food/beverage minimum. Find out more at 54Below.com.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 1/13/2013

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Broadway ShowTOTAL BROADWAY TICKET SALES TAKE A DIVE
The warm glow of Christmas and the cheer of New Year’s has thoroughly worn off as the chill of winter sales has settled in.  Broadway’s total ticket sales revenue dropped by several million from the previous week’s $24,501,265 all the way down to $17,802,126.  Following several show closings on January 6, there were five fewer Broadway shows playing this past week, which no doubt contributed to the lower numbers.  But, mostly, the poor sales are simply due to the annual Broadway winter blues.  January is a notoriously bad month on the Great White Way, with all of the tourists having returned home from Christmas vacation and all the locals saving their pennies after having spent so many of them over the holidays.

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF FARING WELL SO FAR
The only show that has dared to start performances so far during this bleak time on Broadway, the Rob Ashford-directed revival of the Tennessee Williams’ classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has been doing well so far, filling its theater to 85.15% capacity and selling tickets at an average paid admission of $89.02.  Most play productions could not expect to enjoy such (relatively) high numbers, but Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has the advantage of a high-profile cast headed by film star Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers).

MILLIONAIRES’ CLUB DWINDLES TO FOUR
Many Broadway shows, such as Annie, Evita, and Mary Poppins, soared past the million dollar mark during the bounty of the holiday period, but this week only four shows managed to make more than that.  The top three shows were the usual suspects, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, and The Lion King, with The Book of Mormon just barely coming out on top with a total of $1,630,961.  The fourth entry was Spiderman, Turn Off the Dark, which earned $1,129,755.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending January 13, 2013:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name Gross Attendance Capacity AvgPaidAdm
ANNIE $822,129 8,583 62.81% $95.79
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF $839,273 9,428 85.15% $89.02
CHICAGO $433,628 5,714 66.13% $75.89
EVITA $834,914 8,931 69.25% $93.48
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS $944,347 6,763 90.29% $139.63
GOLDEN BOY $418,061 5,853 75.27% $71.43
JERSEY BOYS $892,531 8,153 82.99% $109.47
MAMMA MIA! $601,136 8,238 68.74% $72.97
MARY POPPINS $546,571 8,190 56.97% $66.74
NEWSIES $822,822 8,911 93.21% $92.34
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $679,850 7,640 66.37% $88.99
ONCE $976,903 8,166 110.26% $119.63
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER $412,975 6,216 74.86% $66.44
PICNIC $193,935 5,525 93.33% $35.10
ROCK OF AGES $419,474 4,219 90.46% $99.42
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,129,755 12,272 79.48% $92.06
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,630,961 8,754 102.65% $186.31
THE HEIRESS $444,970 5,346 70.27% $83.23
THE LION KING $1,620,752 13,179 98.23% $122.98
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD $359,201 5,752 71.61% $62.45
THE OTHER PLACE $215,122 4,803 93.23% $44.79
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $762,638 10,155 79.09% $75.10
WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? $281,137 3,372 61.76% $83.37
WICKED $1,519,043 13,586 93.88% $111.81
Total $17,802,126 187,749 80.68% $90.77

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

Disney Reduces Lion King Tickets to $99 (Orchestra Seats) for four shows in 2013

The Lion King Broadway MusicalIn a time of great change for Disney on Broadway, with eternal favorite Mary Poppins now set to close on March 3, 2013, Aladdin set to open on February 2014, Disney on Broadway announced a temporary price reduction on The Lion King tickets for just 4 performances in February and March 2013. The seats are located in the orchestra and front mezzanine and the normal price for these tickets is $139, so they are clearly a bit of a bargain.  As everyone knows, Disney very rarely discounts The Lion King given that it has maintained very strong sales over the years.

With Mary Poppins leaving Broadway, it is anticipated that ongoing demand for The Lion King tickets will rise even further, leading to overall price increases for The Lion King — both for face value tickets and for aftermarket pricing.  That means that this Disney offer may be the last time that The Lion King will be this affordable for quite some time.  More details about this limited time offer offer can be found at:
http://www.nytix.com/Links/Broadway/listofcurrentshows.html

Broadway Backwards Concert To Play the Palace on March 18

Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDSOn March 18, Broadway Backwards is back. Now in its eighth year, the popular concert fundraiser is scheduled to be presented at Broadway’s Palace Theatre, currently home to the revival of the musical Annie. The gimmick of Broadway Backwards is that it allows female singers to take on songs traditionally sung by men while male performers get to sing songs usually sung by women.

The performers planning to participate in Broadway Backwards haven’t been announced yet, but the event always draws a number of Broadway pros eager to belt out songs that they never get to sing in shows because of their gender. The event will be directed and choreographed by Robert Bartley, who created Broadway Backwards. Amy Jones will serve as co-choreographer.

Tickets for Broadway Backwards start at $75. Order now by calling 212-840-0770 ext. 268 or by going to www.broadwaycares.org. If you buy VIP tickets, you will get premium seats and admission to the post-show cast party. “Backstage and Beyond” ticket packages offer the chance to see the dress rehearsal of the event, along with backstage access, a meet and greet with the stars, and premium seats for the performance.

Proceeds from Broadway Backwards will go to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York City.