Broadway Close Up Series Kicks Off at Merkin Hall October 7

Liz Callaway

Liz Callaway

Manhattan’s Merkin Concert Hall puts a spotlight on the Great White Way this autumn with its “Broadway Close Up” series. The series will start off on October 7 with the venue’s annual Bound for Broadway concert. Hosted by Tony Award nominated performer Liz Callaway, the event will highlight five brand new shows and feature interviews with their creators. Adam Overett’s My Life is a Musical, Dan Elish and Douglas J. Cohen’s Nine Wives, and Andy Monroe’s Drive are among the musicals scheduled to be featured.

The series continues on October 28 with A Party with Amanda Green, a concert event in which Tony nominated songwriter Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody, Bring It On) sings a few of her songs and talks about her collaborations with other songwriters, such as Tom Kitt (Next To Normal) and Phish’s Trey Anastasio.

Karen Ziemba will be among the performers honoring a Broadway great on November 18 with Cy Coleman, Ladies Man, a concert event that will celebrate some of Coleman’s best work.

The “Broadway Close Up” series concludes on December 9 with Sing for Your Supper, hosted by Sean Hartley. Featuring music direction by David Loud, the concert will provide an overview of American musical history as told through duets, trios, and quartet. Songs by classic composers like Irving Berlin, Frank Loesser, and Rodgers & Hart will be featured. Lewis Cleale, Erin Mackey, and Heidi Blickenstaff are among those currently scheduled to perform.

Learn more about the “Broadway Close Up” series by visiting

Broadway in Bryant Park Kicks Off July 11

Broadway in Bryant ParkBroadway fans can get a taste of the Great White Way for free this summer with “Broadway in Bryant Park”, a series of outdoor lunchtime concerts performed in midtown Manhattan’s Bryant Park. The concerts will be held at 12:30pm each Thursday from July 11 through August 15 on the Bryant Park Stage (6th Avenue, btwn 40th and 42nd streets).

Hosted by personalities from radio’s Lite FM, “Broadway in Bryant Park” will feature performances from cast members of many Broadway and Off-Broaday musicals. Stars from a number of Broadway and Off-Broadway plays will serve as co-hosts.

So far the “Broadway in Bryant Park” line-up is as follows:

July 11: Cinderella; Pippin; iLuminate: Artist of Light; and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

July 18: Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera, Sistas the Musical, and F#%cking Up Everything

July 25: Avenue Q, Rock of Ages, Soul Doctor, Murder Ballad, and the Gazillion Bubble Show

August 1: Kinky Boots, Spiderman, Let It Be, Big Fish, and First Date

August 8: Wicked, Annie, The Fantasticks, and Cougar the Musical

August 15: Motown, Once, Forever Tango, and Mamma Mia!

Broadway’s Trip To Bountiful Extends Until October

The Trip To Bountiful Broadway ShowThe Trip to Bountiful will last a little longer now that the new production of Horton Foote’s play is extending into the fall. Originally scheduled as a strictly limited engagement set to end on July 7, the Tony Award nominated revival was extended until September 1. But this latest extension means that it is now going to play through
October 9.

The extension gives audiences plenty of time to catch Cicely Tyson in the role that won her a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award this season. She is joined onstage at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Vanessa Williams (TV’s Ugly Betty), and Best Featured Actress Tony nominee Condola Rashad.

The Trip to Bountiful tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who sneaks away from her son and daughter-in-law to return back to her old hometown of Bountiful, Texas.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/7/2013

As usual, the July 4 holiday remains one of the few holidays where Broadway actually struggles rather than thrives. Broadway ticket sales dropped from $24,997,386 down to $22,845,376, a difference of more than two million dollars. Nearly every Broadway show cancelled its performance on Independence Day, knowing that people would prefer watching fireworks to watching a show. Most of them did re-schedule for Monday evening or a Friday matinee, but apparently the disruption in schedule was enough to dent ticket sales.

The Tom Hanks vehicle Lucky Guy concluded its limited Broadway engagement this past Wednesday, but even only playing four performances (half of the regular weekly Broadway schedule), the Nora Ephron-penned play still did better total sales than several other shows, coming in at $661,829. Needless to say, the show sold out, and the average paid admission was $137.37 per ticket.

Sales may have been down for Broadway overall, but long-running powerhouse The Lion King wasn’t feeling the pain. The Disney musical sold out for the week and was the top earner among all Broadway shows. Coming in at $2,028,471, it was the only show to earn more than two million. The second place show was Wicked, which brought in $1,893,488.

The following are the Broadway Grosses from the week ending July 7, 2013:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
ANNIE $1,069,807 12,441 91.05% $85.99
CHICAGO $697,184 8,114 93.91% $85.92
CINDERELLA $1,049,049 11,411 81.46% $91.93
JERSEY BOYS $852,703 9,001 91.62% $94.73
KINKY BOOTS $1,611,599 11,480 100.77% $140.38
LUCKY GUY $661,829 4,818 101.90% $137.37
MACBETH $292,722 4,074 65.16% $71.85
MAMMA MIA! $954,657 10,537 87.93% $90.60
MATILDA $1,307,168 11,455 99.99% $114.11
MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL $1,500,580 12,142 100.71% $123.59
NEWSIES $889,992 9,619 101.47% $92.52
ONCE $739,280 7,766 91.67% $95.19
PIPPIN $1,035,398 8,011 101.15% $129.25
ROCK OF AGES $400,512 4,267 91.49% $93.86
SPIDER-MAN TURN OFF THE DARK $1,295,190 12,831 83.10% $100.94
THE ASSEMBLED PARTIES $292,368 4,373 84.10% $66.86
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,684,525 8,752 102.63% $192.47
THE LION KING $2,028,471 13,603 100.02% $149.12
THE NANCE $360,241 5,178 70.66% $69.57
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,158,635 12,808 99.75% $90.46
THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL $448,887 5,540 65.15% $81.03
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE $621,093 5,866 93.17% $105.88
WICKED $1,893,488 14,090 97.36% $134.39
Totals: $22,845,376 208,177 91.14% $106.00

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

Kinky Boots Switches From Rush to Ticket Lottery

Kinky BootsThe Tony Award-winning hit musical Kinky Boots, featuring music by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, has changed its rush ticket policy. The Broadway show started out offering a first come, first served rush ticket model, where discounted $37 rush tickets were sold at the box office as soon as it opened. But effective Tuesday, July 9, Kinky Boots is switching to a lottery.

Now these $37 discount tickets will be distributed through a lottery held a few hours before each performance of the show. People wishing to enter the lottery can enter their names into the drawing starting two and a half hours before the performance. The actual drawing will take place two hours before the show. Lottery winners are allowed to purchase up to two tickets.

Based on the British independent film of the same name, Kinky Boots tells the story of a young man who inherits a failing family shoe business and discovers — with the help of a new friend — that he can revitalize the company by designing flashy, high-quality footwear for drag queens.

Broadway Comes to Barnes & Noble in July

b&nThe 86th Street location of book and music retailer Barnes & Noble in New York City will host two events of interest to Broadway musical fans this month. On July 9 at 4pm, the release of the cast recording for the new Tony-winning revival of Pippin will be celebrated when the show’s cast comes to perform. They will also sign copies of the album for fans.

On July 16 at 6pm, B&N will host a signing for the cast recording of Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson. The musical had a short life on Broadway last season, but its star, Carolee Carmello, is well-loved in the Broadway community and will be performing at the album signing event. The musical’s authors, Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman, will also be on hand.

The 86th Street Barnes & Noble is located at 150 East 86th Street in Manhattan. Visit for more information.

Broadway Barks Set for July 13

Broadway BarksThe 15th annual Broadway Barks! event will be held on July 13 in Shubert Alley, located between 44th and 45th streets (between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). Sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Frights AIDS (BC/EFA), the event benefits animal shelters and adoption agencies in NYC.

The brainchild of animal lovers Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, Broadway Barks! features a host of celebrities presenting dogs and cats for adoption. The presentations will kick off with a performance by cast members from the Broadway musical Jersey Boys.

Among the numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway stars scheduled to present during Broadway Barks! are Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth, Harvey Fierstein, Andrea Martin, Michael Urie, Laura Osnes, Bertie Carvel, Robert Cuccioli, Andrew Rannells, Victoria Clark, and Jane Lynch.

Broadway-Themed Sandy Hook Concert To Air This Month

Brian Stokes Mitchell

Brian Stokes Mitchell

A special concert, “From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook,” will air on PBS stations in the New York City tri-state area this month. WLIW21 will air the hour-long broadcast version of the concert on July 18 at 10pm, with WNET/13 and CPTV showing it at 10pm on July 26, and NJTV broadcasting it on July 30 at 10pm.

Originally taped at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut this past January, “From Broadway With Love” was designed as a way for the Broadway community to show its support for the Newtown community in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Students from Sandy Hook Elementary, the Newtown High School Chamber Choir, and from a number of Newtown dance groups took part.

Broadway stars featured in the benefit concert include performers Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime) and Linda Eder, Broadway composers Stephen Schwartz, Frank Wildhorn, and Marc Shaiman, and many other Broadway notables. “Seasons of Love” (Rent), “Beautiful City” (Godspell), “Somewhere” (West Side Story), “You Can’t Stop the Beat” (Hairspray), and “The Impossible Dream” (Man of La Mancha) are among the Broadway songs performed during the concert.

All proceeds from the benefit concert have gone to the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation.

Cameron Diaz To Co-Star in Film of Broadway Musical Annie

Cameron DiazCasting for the forthcoming movie version of Annie, starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), continues. It has been announced that Cameron Diaz will take on the part of the harried and bitter orphanage matron Miss Hannigan. Cameron Diaz is a well-known film actress, having starred in movies such as There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Shrek, and Charlie’s Angels.

The role of Miss Hannigan is currently being played by Jane Lynch (TV’s Glee) in the Broadway revival of Annie. When the production opened, Katie Finneran was playing the part. It was also notably played by Carol Burnett in the original film version of Annie.

The new Annie movie is being produced by Jay-Z and Will Smith. While it will include many of the Broadway musical’s classic songs, it will also incorporate new songs by Jay-Z. Jamie Foxx is set to co-star in the movie, playing the Daddy Warbucks character, renamed Benjamin Stacks.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Recoups

vanyaandsonia2_largeWhen the wacky Christopher Durang play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike transferred from Off-Broadway to Broadway earlier this year, it might have seemed like a risky move, considering Durang is renowned for off-beat fare that doesn’t necessarily translate to the mainstream. However, bringing the comedy to Broadway has proved to be a wise choice, as it has just recouped all of its $2.75 million investment.

It isn’t easy for a Broadway show to earn back its investment, but Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike steadily gained steam after opening at the John Golden Theatre in March, going on to capture the Tony Award for Best Play and earning honors from the Drama Desk, the Drama League, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, and the Outer Critics Circle as well. After winning the Tony, the show quickly became a very hot ticket.

Starring David Hyde Pierce, Sigourney Weaver, Kristine Nielsen, Billy Magnussen, Shalita Grant, and Liesel Allen-Yeager, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is currently scheduled to play through August 25. As of July 30, Julie White will take over for Sigourney Weaver.