Rather than attempt to compete with the massive fireworks displays that will be filling New York City skies on July 4, nearly every Broadway show (with the lone exception of Cinderella, which has a 7pm performance on Independence Day) will be cancelling its performance that evening. One show, the hit play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, will have a 2pm matinee that day. Otherwise, Broadway fans are out of luck if they want to celebrate Independence Day in a Broadway theater.
To make up for cancelling their Thursday evening performances, most Broadway shows are adding either a Monday night performance to their schedule or a Friday matinee. These added shows give people taking long weekends an opportunity to squeeze one more Broadway play or musical into their show-going schedule.
Normally, there are only about seven Broadway shows that play on the traditionally dark Monday night, but on July 1 there will be 16 shows to choose from. Friday matinees are a rarity, with Annie the only Broadway musical that currently has them on its regular schedule. But on July 5, a total of seven shows will offer 2pm performances.
To view the entire July 4 holiday week schedule, click here.
One of the greatest rock stars of the ’60s, Janis Joplin, will be celebrated on the Broadway stage this autumn when A Night With Janis Joplin opens at the Lyceum Theatre. The production is scheduled to begin previews on September 20, with its official opening being scheduled for October 10.
Directed and written by Randy Johnson, A Night with Janis Joplin has already enjoyed acclaim in venues around the country, including the Cleveland Play House, Arena Stage, and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Mary Bridget Davies has been praised for her performance as Janis Joplin, which has already earned her a Cleveland Critics Circle Award and a nomination for a Helen Hayes Award.
The Washington Post has described A Night with Janis Joplin as “a remarkable, exhilarating portrait of a singer in love with the cleansing embrace of the crowd”.
A Time to Kill, the best-seller that first put John Grisham on the map, has been transformed into a stage play, which will soon be on Broadway. Adapted by Rupert Holmes, A Time to Kill will begin previews at the John Golden Theatre on September 28, with an opening set for October 20.
Directed by Ethan McSweeny and produced by Daryl Roth and Eva Price, A Time to Kill actually marks the first time that one of John Grisham’s novels has been brought to the stage. The play had its world premiere at Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage in 2011.
“For almost a quarter of a century, A Time to Kill has captivated readers with its raw exploration of race, retribution and justice,” stated Grisham. “It was my first book and the first that I have allowed to be adapted for the theatre. Rupert Holmes did an excellent job of translating it from the page to the stage, and I am happy that not only my loyal readers, but a whole new audience will be able to experience this story in live theatre.”
The 23rd edition of the popular “Broadway Bares” benefit brought in a record high of funds, raising $1,430,241 for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Held on June 23 at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom, “Broadway Bares: United Strips of America” brought together 220 of the city’s dancers to show off their skin for a good cause. The event’s theme centered around the idea of a couple taking separate journeys through several U.S. states.
Along with the dancers, “Broadway Bares” featured appearances from numerous Broadway actors and singers, including Billy Porter, Alan Cumming, Christopher Sieber, Max von Essen, Charl Brown, and Jim Newman, as well as American Idol‘s Adam Lambert. Recent Tony winner Judith Light (The Assembled Parties) also made an appearance, as did Andy Cohen of the Bravo network.
Since its modest beginnings with just a few dancers stripping on a bar in 1992, “Broadway Bares” has raised over $11.3 million for BC/EFA. The annual event was created by Broadway director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Hairspray).
To honor the late James Gandolfini, who recently passed away at the age of 51, Broadway theaters will dim their marquee lights tonight, June 26, at 8pm for one full minute.
James Gandolfini is of course best known for his role as crime boss Tony Soprano on TV’s The Sopranos, but he was also known to Broadway audiences. Gandolfini was in A Streetcar Named Desire in 1992 and On the Waterfront in 1995. His best-known Broadway role was for his Tony Award nominated turn in the hit Yasmina Reza play God of Carnage in 2009.
“James Gandolfini was a consummate actor who brought individuality to each role and inspired a true connection with the audience. Whether on screen or on a Broadway stage, he made every role believable and seemingly effortless,” stated Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin. “Our thoughts go out to his family and friends, and certainly to all of his fans who felt as if they knew his characters.”
SMALL DIP IN BROADWAY SALES
Following last week’s welcome rise in Broadway ticket revenue, this week there is a decrease in total sales. The ticket sales numbers went from $24,770,172 down to $24,116,852, a drop of about half a million.
A DOZEN SHOWS EARN AVERAGE ADMISSIONS OVER $100
Twelve Broadway shows this week enjoyed average paid admissions that exceeded $100 per ticket. The standard full price Broadway ticket is now well over that amount, but because of discounts, most Broadway shows bring in an average per ticket price significantly less than their top price. The fact that so many shows are getting over $100 per ticket on average just demonstrates how many new successes Broadway has seen this season, including Pippin, Matilda, Kinky Boots, Motown, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
WICKED BREAKS TWO MILLION
The long-running hit musical Wicked blasted to the top of the chart this week, earning a total of $2,041,391. It was the only Broadway show to bring in over two million, though The Lion King came close at $1,963,852.
The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers from the week ending June 23, 2013:
|I’LL EAT YOU LAST: A CHAT WITH SUE MENGERS
|MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL
|ROCK OF AGES
|SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK
|THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES
|THE BOOK OF MORMON
|THE LION KING
|THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
|THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL
|VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE
Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League. All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2013 nytix.com.
Each year, Washington D.C. hosts a major Independence Day celebration known as “A Capitol Fourth,” which viewers around the country are able to watch on PBS stations on July 4 at 8pm. Broadway will have a voice during this year’s festivities, as several Broadway performers have been invited to participate in the event.
Cast members from this season’s nostalgic hit Motown the Musical are scheduled to perform on “A Capitol Fourth” next month. So are Megan Hilty (Wicked, TV’s Smash), Darren Criss (How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, TV’s Glee), and Barry Manilow, who did a series of concerts on Broadway this past season.
The 90-minute show, which will be aired live from the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, will also include The National Symphony Orchestra, John Williams, Jackie Evancho, and American Idol’s Scotty McCreery. Several armed forces groups, such as The U.S. Army Hearld Trumpets and the U.S. Air Force Ceremonial Band, will also participate.
An opening date has been set for the forthcoming film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim / James Lapine musical Into the Woods, and it looks like fans will have to wait quite awhile to see the beloved Broadway fairy tale on screen. Walt Disney Pictures announced that the movie is set to be released on December 25, 2014.
There has been a lot of speculation on the casting for Into the Woods over the last few months, as news has gradually trickled in. So far it is understood that Meryl Streep will play the Witch, Johnny Depp will play the Wolf, and James Corden (last seen on Broadway in One Man, Two Guvnors) will take on the Baker. It has been reported that Emily Blunt will play the Baker’s Wife, Tracey Ullman could be Jack’s Mother, and Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal are likely to portray the two princes.
A darkly funny and poignant mash-up of a variety of Grimm fairy tales, Into the Woods premiered on Broadway in 1987. There was a Broadway revival in 2002, and the musical was most recently seen at the Delacorte Theater as a part of Shakespeare in the Park last summer.
For decades, in addition to honoring the best of Broadway theater in New York City, the Tony Awards have also presented a Regional Theatre Award in recognition of distinguished work happening outside of the New York area. However, the Tony Awards Administration Committee has recently announced that, starting this coming theatrical season, New York-based companies will now also be eligible for this regional award.
“The Regional Theatre Award honors artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theatre nationally,” said Charlotte St. Martin of The Broadway League and Heather Hitchens of the American Theatre Wing, in a joint statement. “New York has some of the most prestigious and creative theatre groups in the country and we are thrilled to include the New York theatre community in this category.”
The change was likely made so that worthy Off-Broadway theater companies can be honored by the Tonys for their excellent work. Past recipients of the Regional Tony award have included Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, and Seattle’s Intiman Playhouse.
Hot off a highly-praised stint hosting the Tony Awards ceremony, Neil Patrick Harris announces that he will be back performing on Broadway soon. Harris will star in the cult favorite Hedwig and the Angry Inch in Spring 2014 at a Broadway theater yet to be named.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch previously enjoyed a lengthy Off-Broadway run and was even made into an acclaimed independent film, but this will be the John Cameron Mitchell / Stephen Trask musical’s first foray onto Broadway. The darkly comic show is about a fictional rock band fronted by a transgender singer.
“I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified to be stepping into Hedwig’s heels,” stated Neil Patrick Harris about his upcoming Broadway gig. “It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime role and I can’t wait to begin the journey.”
Harris is not new to Broadway, having starred in the play Proof and the revivals of musicals Assassins and Cabaret. He is best known for his role on the TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother.