New Album and TV Special from Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison

Matthew Morrison

Broadway’s Matthew Morrison (South Pacific, Hairspray, The Light in the Piazza, Footloose), now known to a much wider audience thanks to his starring on the musical theater-friendly hit television series Glee, has announced that his latest solo album will be released on June 4. Called Where It All Began, it will be the first recording from Adam Levine’s new 222 label.

Produced by Phil Ramone, Where It All Began is a 12-track collection of Broadway classics, including “Younger Than Springtime,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “Luck Be a Lady,” and “Send in the Clowns”. “Singin’ in the Rain,” which Morrison performed on Glee, is also on the album.

Matthew Morrison will be promoting the recording release with a television special titled Where It All Began – Live From the Bushnell, which will be shot in Hartford and air on PBS on June 1.

Stephen King / John Mellencamp Musical To Be Released on CD

Ghost Brothers of Darkland CountyGhost Brothers of Darkland County, the new musical by novelist Stephen King and rock singer/songwriter John Mellencamp, will be available this June on CD. The studio cast recording will be released in two formats, a single-disc version and a two-disc version that features extras like deluxe artwork, a libretto, and a “Making of Ghost Brothers” documentary DVD.

The music and movie star-studded Ghost Brothers of Darkland County recording boasts performances by Kris Kristofferson, Roseanne Cash, Neko Case, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Matthew McConaughey, Meg Ryan, Samantha Mathis, and even boxing legend Joe Frazier. The show’s authors, Stephen King and Johh Mellencamp, also appear on the recording.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County premiered at the Alliance Theatre in 2012 in a production starring Justin Guarini, Emily Skinner, and Shuler Hensley. There aren’t yet any plans for the bluesy musical to come to Broadway.

Hands on a Hardbody Documentary Gets New Release

Hands on a Hardbody DocumentaryFans of the new Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody will be pleased to learn that the 1997 documentary of the same name is now getting released on DVD and in movie theaters. The documentary directed by S.R. Bindler, which hasn’t been available for over 10 years, has been digitally restored and re-mastered.

Hands on a Hardbody offers a candid look at a 1995 competition that offered 24 Texans in a small town the chance to win a pickup truck. The contestants were challenged to keep at least one hand on the truck as long as possible, with the last person still touching the truck winning it. The competition lasted 77 hours.

New York City film-goers can catch Hands on a Hardbody at the IFC Center on March 20, before it continues on a screening tour that will take it to locations in Texas, California, and Washington. And after seeing the documentary, you can buy a ticket to see the musical version — written by Trey Anastasio, Amanda Green, and Doug Wright — at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway!

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 3/17/2013

Spring is bringing new life to Broadway in the form of increased ticket sales.  Once again there was a rise in ticket revenue as sales jumped from last week’s $18,085,583 to $20,821,011.

Unlike the Fall season, which failed to produce many lasting successes among its new crop of productions, the Spring season is showing far more promise.  New musicals Kinky Boots and Matilda are coming close to selling out, and Cinderella is already bringing in over a million dollars in weekly ticket sales.  With a minimum of buzz and no stars (unless you count the music), Motown the Musical is doing extremely well, selling at 102.92% with an average paid admission of $97.58.  In the play department, Lucky Guy is living up to its name, selling out performance at an average paid admission of $135.59 and earning a total of $1,294,233.

Of course not all new shows can be so fortunate.  Despite positive buzz, the one-woman show Ann is only seeing 66.52% attendance.  Breakfast at Tiffany’s has a well-known title, but so far the play’s average paid admission is rather low at $59.84. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is enjoying high attendance at 96.70%, but the average paid admission is only $55.62.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending March 17, 2013:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
ANN $376,134 5,923 66.52% $63.50
ANNIE $814,915 9,648 70.61% $84.46
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S $396,866 6,632 76.83% $59.84
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF $693,100 7,259 65.56% $95.48
CHICAGO $649,577 7,897 91.40% $82.26
CINDERELLA $1,102,496 12,132 86.61% $90.88
HANDS ON A HARDBODY $196,151 5,624 68.72% $34.88
JERSEY BOYS $905,013 9,263 94.29% $97.70
KINKY BOOTS $714,331 9,632 96.63% $74.16
LUCKY GUY $1,294,233 9,545 100.94% $135.59
MAMMA MIA! $749,447 9,340 78.94% $80.24
MATILDA $835,432 9,946 99.57% $84.00
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,029,883 10,554 102.92% $97.58
NEWSIES $951,680 9,554 99.94% $99.61
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $650,966 8,287 71.99% $78.55
ONCE $977,861 8,472 100.09% $115.42
ROCK OF AGES $420,521 4,460 95.63% $94.29
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,264,081 14,360 93.01% $88.03
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,667,180 8,752 102.63% $190.49
THE LION KING $1,776,767 13,134 97.90% $135.28
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,065,032 12,681 98.76% $83.99
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE $338,621 6,088 96.70% $55.62
WICKED $1,950,727 14,409 99.56% $135.38
Total $20,821,011 213,592 89.38% $93.79

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

Rodgers and Hammerstein At the Movies CD Coming Out in April

Rodgers & Hammerstein at the MoviesAlready released in the United Kingdom, the U.S. will finally get the new recording Rodgers and Hammerstein At the Movies on April 9. The CD features 14 well-known songs and iconic musical sequences from the classic film versions of many of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatest and most beloved Broadway musicals.

Broadway actress Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera) and Julian Ovenden (Death Takes a Holiday) are among the performers featured on the album. The John Wilson Orchestra, which has more than 70 musicians in its ranks, provides a grand, cinematic accompaniment.

The song list on Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies includes “People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma!, “If I Loved You” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel, “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific, “The King and I Overture” from The King and I, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music, and many more.

Carole King Musical Eyes Broadway in 2014

Carole King

Carole King

The new musical Beautiful, which celebrates the music of Grammy-winning artist Carole King, is planning for a Spring 2014 debut on Broadway. The show is expected to play a try-out engagement in another city this autumn before coming to Broadway.

A director has not yet been announced for the project, but the musical will have a book written by Douglas McGrath, a well-known writer in Hollywood who wrote the script for the Woody Allen film Bullets Over Broadway (also coming to Broadway in musical form soon) and the Jane Austen adaptation Emma.

Beautiful tells the true story of Carol Klein, the spunky Brooklyn girl who worked her way into the music biz as a teen and eventually became iconic pop songwriter and musician Carole King. The musical showcases hit songs that King penned along with songwriters like Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and Gerry Goffin.

“What’s so great about this for me is that musicals were a major influence on my songwriting,” said Carole King in a statement. “In fact, when Gerry and I first met, we made a bargain that I would write music for the Broadway show he wanted to write if he wrote lyrics for my rock ‘n roll songs. The songs took off, and the show idea never came to fruition. Now that our songs have merged with a Broadway show, we’ve come full circle.”

The Office’s Jenna Fischer To Perform Off-Broadway

Jenna FischerJenna Fischer, best known as Pam on NBC’s hit TV show The Office, will head the cast of the new Neil LaBute play Reasons To Be Happy, playing Off-Broadway this coming spring. She will be joined onstage by three co-stars, Josh Hamilton, Fred Weller, and Leslie Bibb.

Produced by MCC Theater and directed by LaBute himself, Reasons To Be Happy is a follow-up to the playwright’s acclaimed Broadway play reasons to be pretty, featuring the same four characters.  The new work focuses on their lives three years later.

Reasons To Be Happy will play Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street). Previews begin May 16, with an opening on June 11. The production is scheduled to play until June 23.

Forbidden Broadway To Close Off-Broadway in April

Forbidden BroadwayThe long-running Off-Broadway staple Forbidden Broadway has announced that it will be concluding its Off-Broadway run at the 47th Street Theatre on April 28. Ironically named Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking!, this edition of the show has to end due to the theater’s commitment to The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, which will be presenting its new season there.

This current incarnation of Forbidden Broadway, which can be heard on a cast recording produced by DRG Records, spoofs current Broadway hits like The Book of Mormon and Spiderman, as well as recent successes such as Evita, Anything Goes, and Porgy and Bess. Naturally the Les Miserables film musical also gets skewered, along with famed Broadway personalities like Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin.

Created by Gerard Alessandrini, Forbidden Broadway originally opened in 1982, but has played on and off in different theaters and updated editions since then. The show has often featured some of the musical theater world’s most gifted impressionists and comedians as they lovingly make fun of all-things-Broadway.

Complete Les Miserables Movie Soundtrack Released 3/19

Les MiserablesMost devoted musical theater fans don’t like to settle for only half of a cast album — and it’s no different when it comes to movie musical soundtracks. The Oscar-nominated musical Les Miserables put out a highlights recording when it was released in theaters this past December, but that CD only included around half of the movie’s songs. Fortunately for fans, on March 19 a two-disc deluxe edition of the soundtrack featuring many more tracks will be released.

The failure to produce a complete cast recording soundtrack earlier was mostly a result of a hurried post-production phase that only gave the movie’s music and sound team time to mix and produce a limited number of tracks. This deluxe edition that is coming out will include many beloved songs from Les Miserables that were left out of the highlights album, including “Who Am I?” “Do You Hear the People Sing?” “Little Fall of Rain,” and “Beggars at the Feast,” along with numerous musical sequences such as “Fantine’s Death”.

New Production of Phantom To Tour

The Phantom of the OperaJust as Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera — the longest running musical in Broadway history — celebrates its 25th anniversary, a re-imagined version of the modern classic prepares to tour America.  The newly re-staged production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s monster hit Phantom features new staging and set design.

“I’m delighted to be able to bring this dazzling new production of Phantom — which has been phenomenally well-received by both audiences and critics in the U.K. this past year — to America,” stated producer Cameron Mackintosh. “I am confident American audiences will fall in love with the Phantom in his new guise — for the first time or all over again.”

The revamped Phantom will start its North American tour in Providence, Rhode Island this coming November. The touring production is currently scheduled to play over 20 locations.