Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/19/2013

At last, grosses are looking up on Broadway — even if not by much.  This week Broadway’s total ticket revenue saw a modest increase, going from last week’s $24,246,231 up to $24,657,284.

A total of seven Broadway shows came in at 100% capacity or more this week:  I’ll Eat You Last, Kinky Boots, Lucky Guy, Matilda, Motown the Musical, Pippin, and The Book of Mormon.  Interestingly, none of those shows are among the top two earners this week.  The Lion King and Wicked took the number one and two spots, respectively, bringing in the highest grosses because they are housed in particularly large theaters and are still popular enough to command high ticket prices.

The Broadway play Orphans, starring Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster, and Tony nominee Tom Sturridge, ended its run at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre early, presumably due to low ticket sales.  Its final week saw fair but unimpressive sales, filling the theater to 84.54% capacity with an average paid admission of $68.84.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending May 19, 2013:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap Avg Paid Admission
ANN $247,041 3,528 39.62% $70.02
ANNIE $842,272 10,854 79.44% $77.60
CHICAGO $697,597 7,871 91.10% $88.63
CINDERELLA $1,017,256 12,032 85.89% $84.55
I’LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS $829,768 5,559 102.21% $149.27
JERSEY BOYS $956,177 9,056 92.18% $105.58
KINKY BOOTS $1,269,683 11,496 100.91% $110.45
LUCKY GUY $1,387,476 9,687 102.44% $143.23
MACBETH $444,348 5,037 80.57% $88.22
MAMMA MIA! $822,902 9,507 79.33% $86.56
MATILDA $1,063,972 11,456 100.00% $92.87
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,249,920 12,152 100.80% $102.86
NEWSIES $839,892 9,297 98.07% $90.34
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $760,202 8,975 77.96% $84.70
ONCE $859,871 7,960 93.96% $108.02
ORPHANS $498,625 7,243 84.54% $68.84
PIPPIN $869,274 7,985 100.82% $108.86
ROCK OF AGES $450,030 4,532 97.17% $99.30
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,032,689 12,098 78.35% $85.36
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES $354,725 4,914 94.50% $72.19
THE BIG KNIFE $229,239 3,868 65.34% $59.27
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,701,989 8,752 102.63% $194.47
THE LION KING $1,887,665 13,448 98.88% $140.37
THE NANCE $499,762 5,965 81.40% $83.78
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,078,051 12,454 96.99% $86.56
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL $469,185 5,450 64.09% $86.09
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE $549,536 5,935 94.27% $92.59
WICKED $1,748,141 13,881 95.92% $125.94
Totals: $24,657,284 240,992 88.55% $99.52

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League. All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2013

Pippin and Matilda Take Top Drama Desk Awards

Pippin Broadway MusicalThe Drama Desk Award winners were announced yesterday, and a wide variety of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows and performers were honored. While the Tonys, which exclusively honor excellence in Broadway theater, are the best known theater awards, the Drama Desk Awards recognize a broader range of shows, considering excellence in all New York City theater, from Broadway to small Off-Off-Broadway productions.

The well-reviewed British musical Matilda did well, taking Drama Desks for Outstanding Musical, Featured Actor (Bertie Carvel), Set Design (Rob Howell), Book (Dennis Kelly), and Lyrics (Tim Minchin). The Broadway revival of Pippin also scored big, earning Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Director (Diane Paulus), Featured Actress (Andrea Martin), and Choreography (Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider). Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which won Outstanding Play, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which won Outstanding Revival of a Play, also enjoyed plenty of recognition.

Here Lies Love was the biggest winner among the Off-Broadway shows, earning Outstanding Music, Lighting, and Projection Design awards. Michael Urie in Buyer & Cellar won for Outstanding Solo Performance, and Old Hats (starring Bill Irwin and David Shiner) received the Outstanding Revue award.

Orphans Concludes Broadway Run

Orphans Broadway ShowThe new production of Lyle Kessler’s play Orphans closes at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre today. The play, which officially opened on April 18, ends its run early, having played only a total of 64 performances.

Orphans starred Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge as orphaned brothers living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house, with the elder brother supporting himself and his sheltered sibling by committing petty crimes. When he tries to kidnap a rich business man (played by Alec Baldwin), both brothers are surprised to find themselves with a new father figure of sorts.

From early in its rehearsal process, Orphans was making headlines due to reported difficulties relating to the production’s original star, popular movie actor Shia LeBeouf (Transformers). LeBeouf, who was let go from the production during rehearsals, publicized private email conversations that he had had with co-star Alec Baldwin and director Daniel Sullivan via his Twitter account. The young actor was quickly replaced with Ben Foster, and the production’s first preview was delayed a week.

Though most of the press about Orphans centered around Alec Baldwin, Shia LeBeouf, and replacement Ben Foster (who has been active in independent film for several years), Tom Sturridge ended up being the play’s breakout star, earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance.

Alan Cumming and Audra McDonald Are Made in NY

Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald

Two of Broadway’s best will be honored with 2013 Made in NY Awards in a presentation at Gracie Mansion on June 10.  Audra McDonald (Porgy and Bess, Ragtime) and Alan Cumming (Macbeth, Cabaret), both Tony Award winners, are receiving these special awards, which recognize both people and organizations who have made notable contributions to NYC’s entertainment and media industries.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Media & Entertainment Commissioner Katherine L. Oliver will host the Made in NY Awards ceremony, which will include a performance from Broadway’s Kinky Boots (to be introduced by the show’s bookwriter, Harvey Fierstein).

“The honorees of the 2013 ‘Made in NY Awards’ have made New York City proud by establishing their remarkable careers here,” stated NYC Mayor Bloomberg. “They are a part of a community of thousands of New Yorkers who together have brought the City to the forefront of the entertainment and digital media industries, helping to make New York City an exciting and thriving place to be.”

Billy Crystal Returns To Broadway With 700 Sundays

Billy Crystal

Billy Crystal

Film, TV, and occasional stage star Billy Crystal is coming back to Broadway once again with his one-man play 700 Sundays. Crystal will appear in the limited-run arrival, directed by Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys), at the Imperial Theatre from November 5, 2013 until January 5, 2014.

Written by Billy Crystal and Alan Zweibel, 700 Sundays originally played on Broadway in 2004 and 2005. The award-winning play is the autobiographical tale of Crystal’s youth and emergence into adulthood and features him playing multiple characters.

“When we originally opened on Broadway, all I knew was that I had a story that I was compelled to share,” stated Billy Crystal about his experience with 700 Sundays. “Now that I’ve performed my play across the country and internationally, I’m gratified to know that the love of family, through joy and pain, is perhaps the most universal story. I’ve now decided to tell this story one last time in my own backyard, where it all took place.”

Broadway Themed TV Show Smash Canceled

Smash TV ShowSmash, the NBC television drama that has been a frequent topic of discussion (and sometimes derision) among Broadway fans, will not return to the small screen next season. The final episode of the series will air on May 26.

Starring American Idol alum Katharine McPhee as a young performer pursuing her Broadway dream, Smash spent two seasons charting the creation and development of a Broadway-bound musical about Marilyn Monroe called Bombshell. The sometimes soapy, sometimes comic drama offered a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Broadway, spotlighting songwriters, directors, producers, and more.

Created and produced by playwright Theresa Rebeck (Dead Accounts), Rebeck was replaced with showrunner Joshua Safran (Gossip Girl) in the show’s second season, but ratings continued to fall. During its run, the cast of Smash boasted many Broadway regulars, including Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher), Jeremy Jordan (Newsies), and Megan Hilty (Wicked). Other series regulars included Anjelica Huston, Jack Davenport, and Debra Messing.

The Beatles Come To Broadway This Summer

Let It Be Broadway ShowWith the recent successes of Barry Manilow and The Rascals on Broadway, Broadway is becoming an increasingly attractive venue for concert productions. The latest in the series is Let It Be, a concert show that features the greatest hits of one of the greatest rock bands of all time, The Beatles.

Originating as a 50th anniversary celebration for The Beatles on the West End, Let It Be charts the Liverpool band’s rise to international fame utilizing projection technology and 3D sound. The show includes live performances of songs such as “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “Hey Jude,” “Yesterday,” “Come Together,” and of course the title song, “Let It Be”.

Let It Be will begin performances at the St. James Theatre on July 16, with an opening date set for July 24. The production is scheduled to run through December 29. Find out more at

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/12/2013

Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde

Broadway’s total ticket sales continue to creep slowly downward, decreasing from last week’s $24,611,041 down to this week’s $24,246,231.  While this trend is far from welcome, it is not dramatic enough to be of serious concern.  Broadway producers are likely hoping that the summer tourist season will provide a boost in sales next month.

The Frank Wildhorn musical Jekyll & Hyde, a hit when it first appeared on Broadway in the late ’90s, did not meet with such success on its recent return to Broadway.  The revival starring Constantine Maroulis only played briefly before shuttering this past Sunday.  In its final week, the romantic melodrama filled just over half its theater at 54.04% capacity, with an average paid admission of $63.11.

Disney’s The Lion King continues to lord it over the Broadway jungle, holding the top spot in total ticket sales with weekly earnings of $1,846,975. Wicked and The Book of Mormon came in second and third place, respectively.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending May 12, 2013:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPaidAdm
ANN $241,037 3,445 38.69% $69.97
ANNIE $743,412 8,970 65.65% $82.88
CHICAGO $641,445 7,705 89.18% $83.25
CINDERELLA $911,022 10,010 71.46% $91.01
I’LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS $865,144 6,271 100.9% $137.96
JEKYLL & HYDE $439,818 6,969 54.04% $63.11
JERSEY BOYS $891,835 8,881 90.40% $100.42
KINKY BOOTS $1,250,718 11,398 100.1% $109.73
LUCKY GUY $1,389,588 9,610 101.6% $144.60
MACBETH $433,127 4,609 73.72% $93.97
MAMMA MIA! $880,486 9,965 83.15% $88.36
MATILDA $1,124,333 11,456 100.3% $98.14
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,194,456 12,150 100.8% $98.31
NEWSIES $787,730 9,323 98.34% $84.49
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT $644,906 7,828 68.00% $82.38
ONCE $814,582 7,549 89.11% $107.91
ORPHANS $369,078 6,518 76.07% $56.62
PIPPIN $861,233 7,997 101.0% $107.69
ROCK OF AGES $406,838 4,405 94.45% $92.36
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,002,757 11,236 72.77% $89.24
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES $347,277 4,631 89.06% $74.99
THE BIG KNIFE $206,469 3,675 62.08% $56.18
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,692,483 8,752 102.6% $193.38
THE LION KING $1,846,975 13,588 99.91% $135.93
THE NANCE $470,195 5,521 75.34% $85.16
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,039,572 12,244 95.36% $84.90
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL $562,796 6,416 75.45% $87.72
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE $489,914 5,145 81.72% $95.22
WICKED $1,697,007 13,967 96.51% $121.50
Total $24,246,231 240,234 84.39% $97.15

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League. All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2013

2013 Tony Awards Snub Great Broadway Shows With No Nominations

I'll Eat You Last Broadway ShowUnlike most little league games in North America, the Tonys often snub a Broadway show by not nominating it for any of the awards. This year’s Tony Awards did make 111 nominations for 26 Broadway shows, but a few were left out, most notably:

I’ll Eat You Last – The tart, entertaining one-woman show about Hollywood super-agent Sue Mengers was overlooked, and, more to the point, so was its beloved star, Bette Midler.

Macbeth – Another one-person show, this bloody tour-de-force starring Alan Cumming (Cabaret) surprisingly went entirely ignored by the Tony nominating committee.

Glengarry Glen Ross – Star Al Pacino and the production as a whole of this David Mamet revival were forgotten by the Tony nominators, which may be due to Pacino’s mixed critical reception (even though the box office receipts were spectacular, lets face it, theatregoers would pay to see Al Pacino go to the bathroom).

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Scarlett Johansson took a Tony Award last time she did a classic on Broadway, but this Tennessee Williams revival got a cool reception and, consequently, no attention from the Tonys.

Harvey – Starring Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), this Roundabout Theatre Company revival was charming and well-liked by audiences and critics. But it had the disadvantage of opening at the very beginning of the season, and therefore was totally forgotten by Tony nominating time.

Picnic – Another Roundabout play revival, Picnic and its pedigreed cast (Ellen Burstyn, Mare Winningham, Elizabeth Marvel) got quite a bit of attention when it was playing, but all were left out come Tony time.

Grace – Although this four-person drama did poorly from a commercial perspective, it was one of the better original plays on Broadway this season, and even included a wonderful featured performance from Ed Asner (who hadn’t been onstage in over 20 years). When all was said and done, though, this though-provoking show didn’t get any Tony love.

Jekyll and Hyde starring Constantine Maroulis, Dead Accounts featuring Katie Holmes, Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), and An Enemy of the People were among the other snubbed shows, but these were less surprising since they either received not-so-great reviews or little audience buzz.

Although many of the snubbed Broadway shows had already closed when the Tony nominations were announced, a handful were just getting started in their Broadway runs. But once the nominations came out, both I’ll Eat You Last and Macbeth revoked their ticket  invites to Tony voters who hadn’t yet seen them. While some may have viewed this as petulant behavior on the part of the shows’ producers, it actually makes solid financial sense, as they are not getting an award and could save some money by selling the ticket for face value.

There are an enormous number of Tony voters (868 to be exact), and each is also invited to bring a date to the show. Without the gain of a prestigious Tony nomination or win, there is little reason for I’ll Eat You Last — which is selling out performances — to give away seats that they could be making top ticket prices on. Even Macbeth, which is not selling out, has a limited number of performances left, so it is in the best interest of the show’s investors to sell, not give away, its best seats.

The reasons why the Broadway shows above, all great contenders for a Tony, did not receive a single Tony nomination is part politics, part critical, part box office, part forgetfulness, part snobbery and an equal part reality – the shows maybe weren’t actually good enough – Although how anyone can say that Alan Cumming wasn’t mesmerizing in this high-hurdle challenge is beyond me.

Jekyll & Hyde Prematurely Ends Broadway Run Today

Jekyll & Hyde Broadway ShowToday the revival of the musical Jekyll & Hyde, originally scheduled to run until June 30, concludes its Broadway run early. The production closes at the Marquis Theatre having played just 15 preview performances and 30 regular performances.

Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, the musical starred Constantine Maroulis as the split personality title character. Deborah Cox co-starred and direction and choreography was provided by Jeff Calhoun (Newsies).

Jekyll & Hyde originally opened on Broadway in 1997 and enjoyed a run that went through 2001. The score by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse features many well-known songs, including “This Is the Moment,” “Bring On the Men,” “In His Eyes,” “Take Me As I Am,” and “Someone Like You”.

Frank Wildhorn has created six original Broadway musicals in about 15 years, which have all met with poor critical review. This re-incarnation of Jekyll & Hyde at the Marquis Theater was directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun met the same critical fate, but unlike its predessor (that opened in 1997 and closed in 2001 and had over 1500 performances) it received poor critical review and poor box office ticket sales.The “Jekkies” that the previous run had spawned had either grown up or moved on as they were noticeably absent this time around. The 1997 version failed to recoup even after 1500 performances, sadly, this revival will not have the chance to build that kind of following and become a successful Broadway financial failure.