January 2015 Broadway Show Closings

Wintertime Brings Many Shows to a Close

As the January cold settles in, and it becomes clear that it won’t be sunny anytime soon, many Broadway shows have decided to shutter their doors. This is a common time to close shows that want to get a final push from the holiday season, but know they will not optimize their financial future to remain open through the rest of the winter. Some of these are long-running shows that are closing at a profit; some are new shows that never made it work for them financially. In any case, the decision to close in January is not related to the quality of the shows themselves, some of which never manage to find their audiences despite an amazing production and efforts by all involved.

“Motown” to Close and then Re-Open

Vinyl record poster Motown the Musical Broadway Show One unusual choice was made by the producers of Motown – the Musical. While the show will close on January 18, 2015, this will only be temporary. The musical will return to Broadway 18 months later: in July 2016. In the meantime, the show will tour around the United States and United Kingdom. The U.S. tour is already underway, with the company just having wrapped up in Chicago. The U.K. tour will begin in summer 2015. The show had a medium to high capitalization of $18 million, which the producers claim will be recouped by the time the Broadway run closes this week. These numbers will of course be aided by the multiple tours. Despite the high benchmark, the musical sold very well since it began previews on March 11, 2013, with its opening night on April 14, 2013 solidifying it as a crowd favorite. The brand name of the musical genre, along with the unique qualities of the musical style and demographic, have allowed the show to do very well. For many weeks it had remained in the millionaire’s club, and even this summer with a decline in sales it still hovered around the $1 million mark. In the week ending January 11, 2015, the show brought in $1,086,042.

Straight Plays that Never Made the Numbers Work

Two plays are closing this January: This is Our Youth and The Real Thing. Neither play succeeded in recouping this is our youththe-real-thing-pink-and-blackits capitalization. The is Our Youth is written by Kenneth Lonergan, and stars young Hollywood sensations Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson. The show is also directed by hot helmer Anna D. Shapiro. However, audiences were not quite a match for this play, which deals with themes of reckless youth and drug use, and the show never made back its money. It closed on January 4, 2015. In addition, The Real Thing is a Tom Stoppard revival that failed to meet expectations. With a starry cast including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ewan McGregor, Cynthia Nixon, and Josh Hamilton, the play was directed by young hot director Sam Gold. The play closed as planned on January 4, 2015, but it never did as well as the pedigree of its creative team could have implied.

Last Chance Musicals: “Pippin”, “Rock of Ages”, “Cinderella”, “Side Show”, “Once”

rock of ages small photo 100x70Rock of Ages closes on January 18, 2015, marking the conclusion of a successful run that began on March 17, 2009. The jukebox musical featuring 80s hits and a rock n roll love story was turned into a high-budget feature film, and continued to attract audiences for blue red yellow Pippin Broadway Musical posterover 5 years. Still, the producers must have decided the show was no longer making financial sense. Once is another musical that had an undeniably successful run but has now closed on January 4, 2015. After winning eight 2012 Tony Awards including the coveted honor of Best

side showMusical, Once continued to play for several years. The U.S. tour is scheduled to run until August 2015. Diane Paulus’ rendition of Pippin also closed on January 4, 2015 after a successful run since March 23, 2013, including the Tony win of Best Revival of a Musical. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella also closed that week on January 3, 2015, after running since January 25, 2013. That show also entertained a huge number of Cinderella Broadway Musical Rogers Hammerstein logo audiences, but was not as successful as producers probably had wished. Finally, Side Show closed to the disappointment of its team on January 4, 2015, after runningonce small image for only 56 regular performances and 21 previews. This musical failed to gain traction this fall season and was forced to leave by the theatre landlords.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 1/04/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending January 4, 2015:

Broadway Show Ticket Analysis week 1/4/15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $648,646 5,456 85.04% $118.89
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $1,011,822 7,379 101.03% $137.12
ALADDIN $1,842,291 13,787 100.02% $133.63
BEAUTIFUL $1,264,728 7,995 97.40% $158.19
CABARET $1,051,850 7,176 100.45% $146.58
CHICAGO $950,544 8,407 97.30% $113.07
CINDERELLA $1,873,246 15,710 99.69% $119.24
CONSTELLATIONS $478,445 5,040 96.92% $94.93
DISGRACED $386,752 5,737 78.12% $67.41
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $777,340 6,717 95.29% $115.73
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $409,674 7,657 82.72% $53.50
IF/THEN $898,321 9,396 89.59% $95.61
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $1,455,818 8,480 99.16% $171.68
JERSEY BOYS $1,091,460 9,265 94.31% $117.80
KINKY BOOTS $1,572,870 12,921 100.82% $121.73
LES MISÉRABLES $1,425,137 12,671 99.92% $112.47
MAMMA MIA! $1,002,625 9,102 97.58% $110.15
MATILDA $1,502,817 11,543 100.76% $130.19
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,215,495 10,613 88.03% $114.53
ON THE TOWN $968,359 11,207 74.75% $86.41
ONCE $967,968 8,608 101.61% $112.45
PIPPIN $907,253 7,897 99.71% $114.89
ROCK OF AGES $583,527 4,550 97.56% $128.25
SIDE SHOW $810,486 10,327 99.07% $78.48
THE BOOK OF MORMON $2,224,280 9,846 102.63% $225.91
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $1,089,779 8,125 99.77% $134.13
THE ELEPHANT MAN $1,069,102 6,364 102.78% $167.99
THE ILLUSIONISTS – WITNESS THE IMPOSSIBLE $2,217,405 18,683 97.49% $118.69
THE LAST SHIP $953,165 8,985 83.26% $106.08
THE LION KING $2,514,994 13,605 100.04% $184.86
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,649,106 13,704 94.87% $120.34
THE REAL THING $462,361 5,181 100.02% $89.24
THE RIVER $756,740 5,679 101.99% $133.25
THE TEMPTATIONS AND THE FOUR TOPS ON BROADWAY $819,461 8,780 74.70% $93.33
THIS IS OUR YOUTH $569,187 8,236 86.25% $69.11
WICKED $2,740,642 15,403 99.86% $177.93
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $610,186 6,681 77.83% $91.33
Totals: $42,773,882 346,913 94.55% $120.68

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2015 nytix.com

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 12/28/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending December 28, 2014:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-12-28-14

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $640,592 5,025 78.32% $127.48
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $1,062,731 7,338 100.47% $144.83
ALADDIN $1,986,322 15,508 100.01% $128.08
BEAUTIFUL $1,546,950 8,845 95.79% $174.90
CABARET $1,013,897 7,170 100.36% $141.41
CHICAGO $872,913 8,091 93.65% $107.89
CINDERELLA $1,336,544 11,622 94.82% $115.00
CONSTELLATIONS $384,388 4,133 90.84% $93.00
DISGRACED $393,371 4,809 65.48% $81.80
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $733,393 6,502 92.24% $112.79
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $399,311 6,973 75.33% $57.27
IF/THEN $835,798 8,807 83.97% $94.90
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $1,431,961 8,452 98.83% $169.42
JERSEY BOYS $1,239,004 9,418 95.87% $131.56
KINKY BOOTS $1,532,084 11,219 98.48% $136.56
LES MISÉRABLES $1,286,276 11,148 98.90% $115.38
MAMMA MIA! $964,706 8,762 93.93% $110.10
MATILDA $1,637,071 11,541 100.74% $141.85
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,285,105 11,063 91.76% $116.16
ON THE TOWN $1,068,470 10,446 69.68% $102.29
ONCE $893,494 8,520 100.57% $104.87
PIPPIN $778,718 6,572 82.98% $118.49
ROCK OF AGES $544,368 4,544 97.43% $119.80
SIDE SHOW $588,059 8,115 77.85% $72.47
THE BOOK OF MORMON $2,085,228 8,752 102.63% $238.26
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $1,090,216 8,136 99.90% $134.00
THE ELEPHANT MAN $1,058,547 6,320 102.07% $167.49
THE ILLUSIONISTS – WITNESS THE IMPOSSIBLE $1,811,228 15,114 94.64% $119.84
THE LAST SHIP $864,004 7,836 72.61% $110.26
THE LION KING $2,885,371 15,306 100.04% $188.51
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,641,020 12,955 100.90% $126.67
THE REAL THING $434,148 5,530 93.41% $78.51
THE RIVER $771,849 5,570 100.04% $138.57
THIS IS OUR YOUTH $343,256 5,449 73.37% $62.99
WICKED $2,903,309 16,257 99.85% $178.59
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $650,249 6,873 80.07% $94.61
Totals: $40,993,950 318,721 91.61% $123.79

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2014 nytix.com

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 12/21/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

New Show: “Constellations”

On December 16, 2014, Constellations began previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in a Manhattan Theatre Club production. This production transfers to New York from London, where it premiered at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs and then transferred to the West End, where it won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and was nominated for the Olivier Award for the same honor. The play is written by Nick Payne, directed by Michael Longhurst, and the Broadway production stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson, both making their Broadway debuts. In the week ending December 21, 2014, the play had seven performances and brought in $325,875, which represents 47.95% of its gross potential. The average paid admission was $82.44, which represents a substantial but not huge amount of discounting. This is a slightly unusual time for a show to open, so it may take a few weeks for the show to gain traction and for word of mouth to spread. It will open on January 13, 2015.

“The Lion King” and “Wicked” Still Tourist Favorites

In the week before Christmas, many tourists are in town and they are still showing the same tastes demonstrated in the summer tourist season. In the week ending December 21, 2014, The Lion King brought in $2,200,409, which was an increase of $275,346 from the week before. With an average paid admission of $170.47, that represented 95.32% of the show’s gross capacity. The next biggest earner was Wicked, another proven tourist favorite. This past week, it brought in $1,986,719, an increase of $240,682 from the week before. With an average paid admission of $139.09, it brought in 118.18% of its gross potential. The third highest earner was The Book of Mormon, which brought in $1,862,009, an increase of $122,342, which represents 133.86% of its gross potential. Finally, Aladdin has solidified itself as a top tourist treat, having brought in $1,607,102, which is an increase of $77,814, representing 111.91% of its gross potential.

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending December 21, 2014:

Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis chart small 12-21-14

 

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $706,174 5,109 79.63% $138.22
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $841,587 7,046 96.47% $119.44
ALADDIN $1,607,102 13,732 99.62% $117.03
BEAUTIFUL $1,235,710 7,675 93.51% $161.00
CABARET $935,919 7,160 100.22% $130.71
CHICAGO $479,248 5,946 68.82% $80.60
CINDERELLA $990,052 12,307 87.86% $80.45
CONSTELLATIONS $325,875 3,953 86.88% $82.44
DISGRACED $332,589 3,873 52.74% $85.87
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $592,551 6,013 85.30% $98.55
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $321,524 6,343 68.53% $50.69
IF/THEN $525,214 6,477 61.76% $81.09
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $1,408,914 8,345 97.58% $168.83
JERSEY BOYS $837,362 7,255 73.85% $115.42
KINKY BOOTS $1,126,354 9,512 83.50% $118.41
LES MISÉRABLES $858,645 9,027 80.08% $95.12
MAMMA MIA! $527,353 6,155 65.98% $85.68
MATILDA $1,078,021 10,313 90.02% $104.53
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $889,590 8,366 69.39% $106.33
ON THE TOWN $713,291 8,581 57.24% $83.12
ONCE $666,416 7,186 84.82% $92.74
PIPPIN $512,514 6,327 79.89% $81.00
ROCK OF AGES $400,950 4,358 93.44% $92.00
SIDE SHOW $513,912 7,512 72.06% $68.41
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,862,009 8,744 102.53% $212.95
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $867,003 7,281 89.40% $119.08
THE ELEPHANT MAN $973,202 6,128 98.97% $158.81
THE ILLUSIONISTS – WITNESS THE IMPOSSIBLE $1,213,927 12,221 85.03% $99.33
THE LAST SHIP $779,799 8,152 75.54% $95.66
THE LION KING $2,200,409 12,908 94.91% $170.47
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $928,596 10,200 79.44% $91.04
THE REAL THING $445,978 5,395 91.13% $82.67
THE RIVER $785,131 5,536 99.43% $141.82
THIS IS OUR YOUTH $322,733 6,123 72.14% $52.71
WICKED $1,986,719 14,284 98.70% $139.09
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $486,341 5,386 62.74% $90.30
Totals: $31,278,712 280,929 82.75% $108.10

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2014 nytix.com

 

Broadway’s “Love Letters” Closes Early

This Rotating Star Vehicle Never Gained Traction

love letters posterA.R. Gurney’s Love Letters is a two-hander play that was just revived at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, running for a total of 101 performances since September 13, 2014 before closing suddenly on December 14, 2014. Producers Nelle Nugent, Barbara Broccoli, Frederick Zollo, and Olympus Theatricals wooed a series of hot stars who seemed to be perfectly suited to the demographic of the Broadway ticketbuying audience, including Brian Dennehy, Mia Farrow, Carol Burnett, Candice Bergen, and Alan Alda, and the cast was also slated to include Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston, and Martin Sheen – the latter bunch had fortunately not yet entered rehearsals, as they will not get to perform. This is the second time this method of rotating stars in Love Letters was attempted on Broadway; the first took place in 1989, and was apparently successful enough to warrant a revival. However, this time the recipe failed; perhaps because the marketing strategy was ill-conceived, perhaps because the stars chosen were not exciting enough to ticketbuyers, or perhaps because the play itself is tired.

A Financial Failure, Despite Promising Buzz

With so many stars entering the cast, the show’s producers must have taken for granted that enough seats would be sold to get mia farrow brian dennehy love lettersthrough the rotating casts. However, the show never brought in more than $483,280 in a given week, which represents only 61.89% of its gross potential. The lowest achievement took place in the week ending September 28, 2014, when the show only brought in $178,812, representing only 20.15% of the gross potential. What was even more alarming is that week occurred shortly after the opening night, in which reviewers everywhere were providing free press coverage by reviewing the show. If that didn’t cause ticketbuying to pick up, then there was little hope that anything they could spend their dollars on to promote the show would have any substantial effect. The only hope would be that the later names would prove surprisingly more interesting to theatregoers than the early actors such as Mia Farrow, who apparently holds little interest for Broadway attendees. They were all waiting for Carol Burnett, Candice Bergen, or Anjelica Huston.

Hope Remains for the Touring Production

The National tour will launch in the fall of 2015, giving the production another three quarters to prepare, set tour dates, solidify casting, and partner with regional theatres. As this production was never particularly metropolitan, it should do quite well on the regional circuit, where the starry names (if they manage to get any for the tour after this Broadway fiasco) will have a great impact, perhaps greater than in New York, and where the play’s simple construct will be a draw for subscription theatres looking to fill a slot with a reliable, inexpensive play. Though it will be difficult to make back the loss incurred by the presumably completely lost Broadway capitalization, it is possible that the tour will contribute to getting the show a little less in the red, if not fully in the black. Still, this production will never prove to be the hit-and-run best case scenario they may have been hoping for.

“The Colbert Report” Plays Its Final Episode

As Colbert moves on, the Colbert Character retires

colbert characterAfter nine years and 1,447 episodes, The Colbert Report played its final show on December 18, 2014 on Comedy Central. Though Colbert fans must concede their congratulations to their beloved host, who is moving on to host CBS’ The Late Show in a post vacated by the illustrious, long-standing David Letterman, they are also sorely disappointed. That is because the reason they came to love Stephen Colbert in the first place – his fictional ultra-conservative superhero furtively promoting liberal values – is supposed to be no more. True diehards of the show cannot image losing this character, who has at times seen so vividly real – such as when he spoke in front at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. However, in respect to the tradition held by David Letterman for decades (as well as for the ratings he brought in), Colbert will maintain the structure of The Late Show with his opening monologue, and non-character interviews of celebrities. However, audiences are still hoping to see glimpses of this character, because it is such an effective critical tool in a world where politically sensitive topics are frighteningly becoming risqué.

The Hilarious, Worthy Finale

The screwball final 30 minutes of The Colbert Report let Colbert release his character into eternity. He gazed into the eyes of Alex colbertTrebek to discover the answers to all the world’s questions, and he passed the torch to Jon Stewart. He threatened to kill off the character through the special guest of “Grimmy”, aka Death, but then suddenly, immortality took over, and a huge group of past guests convened all together to sing “We’ll Meet Again,” foreshadowing an eerie reincarnation of a supposedly departed figure. The show has been offbeat from the beginning, and it is to Colbert’s credit that the finale was just as unlikely – he didn’t cave to normalizing commercial pressures. Although the shelf life of this show is not certain, as his topics were always so timely, his contribution to the cultural mindset is definite.

He Provided a Revolution

Colbert himself admitted that he has served as a revolutionary figure over the past few years – for after all, a revolution is turning around 360 degrees and staying where you are. His humility is touching, but he is also being truthful to say that. He always showed the world what it was; his portrayals of conservative viewpoints were so mesmerizingly accurate that he was said to have convinced conservatives that he was speaking genuinely. That may have accounted for part of his fanbase, but ultimately it was the cunning ingenuity of the construct that made him such a successful satirist over the past decade. He managed to cause sincere belly laughs at the same time as expand our intellectual points of view. Though he will continue to play this role as host of The Late Show, he will also need to inevitably cut back on his mischief. However, the finale of “We’ll Meet Again” certainly implies that the Colbert character is not gone forever – but rather, like Santa Claus, hiding in the North Pole until he is needed next.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 12/14/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Sting Has Helped “The Last Ship” From Sinking

The Last Ship has been struggling at the box office from the time it began previews on September 29, 2014. The new musical about a British shipyarding town with music and lyrics by the multi Grammy Award winning musician Sting has had trouble gaining traction with theatregoers. However, Sting was not going to let his beloved Ship sink without making a last ditch effort. Similar to how the citizens of the show’s town join together in one last effort to build one Last Ship, Sting has chosen to make a radical move: starting December 9, 2014, he stepped into the role of Jackie White. According to the box office in the week ending December 14, 2014, theatregoers are responding positively to this move. This past week, the show grossed $817,897, which was an increase of $325,987 from the week before. With a top ticket price of $225.00, the average paid admission was $98.79. That is a significant increase in average paid admission, which previously did not top $80.69. Furthermore, the previous highest weekly gross was only $575,155. Therefore, Sting may save the ship after all.

“The Illusionists” Made the Millionaire Club

An unusual fare for Broadway, The Illusionists: Witness the Impossible is a magic show rife with spectacle. However, it appears that ticketbuyers are drawn to this change in offering. In its first week ending November 30, 2014, the show made it past the millionaire mark, earning $1,048,858, which was 76.07% of its gross potential. The show went quickly from previews (commencing November 26, 2014) to opening night (which took place December 4, 2014), as the show needed less preview preparation than most fully staged plays and musicals. Upon reviews hitting the presses, theatregoers responded positively. Still, they have not yet made it back to the levels of that first week. In the week ending December 14, 2014, the show brought in $987,234, which was an increase of $108,818 from the week before, but still not in the millionaire’s club. Time will tell whether this magic show can make it back into the big leagues in the coming weeks.

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending December 14, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Analysis w/e 12-14-14

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $854,322 6,015 93.75% $142.03
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $879,103 6,899 94.46% $127.42
ALADDIN $1,529,288 13,631 98.89% $112.19
BEAUTIFUL $1,354,390 8,230 100.27% $164.57
CABARET $808,669 6,858 96.00% $117.92
CHICAGO $414,484 5,112 59.17% $81.08
CINDERELLA $851,242 10,561 75.39% $80.60
DISGRACED $415,019 4,841 65.92% $85.73
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $640,340 6,242 88.55% $102.59
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $396,473 6,655 71.90% $59.58
IF/THEN $502,861 6,051 57.69% $83.10
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $1,413,682 8,447 98.77% $167.36
JERSEY BOYS $847,588 7,680 78.18% $110.36
KINKY BOOTS $1,295,982 10,317 90.56% $125.62
LES MISÉRABLES $719,973 7,970 70.71% $90.34
LOVE LETTERS $274,612 4,231 56.59% $64.90
MAMMA MIA! $437,209 5,298 56.80% $82.52
MATILDA $900,826 9,335 81.49% $96.50
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $982,656 8,993 74.59% $109.27
ON THE TOWN $756,779 9,370 62.50% $80.77
ONCE $601,479 6,597 77.87% $91.17
PIPPIN $468,537 5,821 73.50% $80.49
ROCK OF AGES $376,586 4,138 88.72% $91.01
SIDE SHOW $467,909 6,467 62.04% $72.35
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,739,667 8,751 102.61% $198.80
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $893,577 7,572 92.98% $118.01
THE ELEPHANT MAN $934,580 6,233 100.66% $149.94
THE ILLUSIONISTS – WITNESS THE IMPOSSIBLE $987,234 9,883 77.36% $99.89
THE LAST SHIP $817,897 8,279 76.71% $98.79
THE LION KING $1,925,063 12,637 92.92% $152.34
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $760,079 9,021 70.26% $84.26
THE REAL THING $456,725 5,509 93.06% $82.91
THE RIVER $865,695 5,608 100.72% $154.37
THIS IS OUR YOUTH $270,455 5,260 61.97% $51.42
WICKED $1,746,037 13,554 93.66% $128.82
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $498,935 5,317 61.94% $93.84
Totals: $30,085,952 273,383 80.53% $106.47

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

Sting Joins the Cast of “The Last Ship”

Hoping to Prevent “The Last Ship” from Sinking

the last shipThe sexiest thing about the production of the floundering new musical The Last Ship has always been its composer and lyricist, Sting – who has been nominated for the Grammy Awards 38 times, and has won for 11 of them. He has been inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has also won 25 American Music Awards, and has also acted in films ranging from Quadrophenia in 1979 to The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in 1988, and 20 Feet from Stardom in 2013. However, since it began previews on September 29, 2014, The Last Ship has not been performing well at the box office. It has never earned more than $575,155 in one week, and it has never made more than 51.62% of its weekly gross potential.

A Last-Ditch Effort to Save the Last Shipsting last ship

Starting December 9, 2014, however, Sting decided to make a last-ditch effort to save his beloved musical tale of the last ship built by an English seafaring town. He entered the cast in the role of Jackie White, a foreman of the shipyard. Though he is not the main role, he is on stage about 40% of the time, and he sings tunes such as one that has been particularly beloved with fans “Island of Souls.” The show takes place in his hometown and is semi-autobiographical. It is unclear whether the role of Jackie White is the autobiographical part, but it is most likely that Sting’s personal experience overlaps more with the protagonist Gideon Fletcher played by Michael Esper, but that at this age it was more appropriate for Sting to take on the role of White.

An Extension to Six Weeks

Though it was first announced that Sting would be in the show for four weeks only, from December 9, 2014 to January 10, 2015, it has recently been announced that Sting will stay on an additional two weeks until January 24, 2015. Perhaps he was just getting into his groove, and wanted to stick around for a bit longer, or perhaps the replacement they found had a scheduling conflict. Sting stepped in to replace Jimmy Nail as Jackie White; Nail is a British actor for whom this is his Broadway debut. It is most likely that Nail will come back in following Sting’s departure, allowing Nail to still be paid as an understudy, but Sting performing the role with an endnote that is somewhat flexible.

“A Delicate Balance” Opens on Broadway

An Albee Masterwork with a Stellar Cast

a delicate balanceOn November 20, 2014, Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance opened at the John Golden Theatre. Directed by Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park), who is known as the greatest contemporary interpreter of Albee’s works, the show has been running since its first preview on October 20, 2014. While Albee himself has solidified his status as a playwrights whose works are worth seeing, the success of this production is also due in no small part to the high stature of the cast. The lead roles of Agnes and Tobias are played by Glenn Close (Sunset Boulevard, The Real Thing) and John Lithgow (The Columnist, All My Sons) respectively, and their daughter Julia is played by Martha Plimpton (Pal Joey, Top Girls). Agnes’ alcoholic yet visionary sister Claire is played by Lindsay Duncan (Private Lives, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and their surreally dependent friends Harry and Edna are played by Bob Balaban (Speed-the-Plow, The Inspector General) and Clare Higgins (Vincent in Brixton) respectively. In addition to the theatre credits of these actors, their pedigree extends deeply into the world of the screen, with some extremely well-known titles affixed to their names. In this richly profound and relatable play, these actors create an extremely appealing and accessible performance for theatregoers.

An Overall Positive Critical Response

Though not every reviewer was on their hands and knees bowing down to this production, several critics did present huge praise and a delicate balanceothers also saw great merit in the show. David Cote from Time Out New York calls this show a “parlor puzzler,” harking both to its accessibility taking place in the living room as well as its complex intrigue, declared the show full to bursting. Dave Quinn from NBC New York loved the show as well, especially praising Glenn Close’s triumphant return to Broadway after a 20 year hiatus. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times also found the show to be a roaring success, praising the scenic design of Santo Loquasto as well as the richness of the comedic existentialist work. Ben Brantley of the New York Times was less fully sold on the production, agreeing more with critics following the 1966 premiere who were not comfortable declaring this one of Albee’s best works. Furthermore, Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal felt that the show is at best thought provoking but is ultimately a bit slow going, and therefore is not one of Albee’s most praiseworthy pieces. Nevertheless, the show did win the Pulitzer Prize following its 1966 production, showing that newspaper critics are not always on exactly the same page as other notable minds in the field.

A Financial Success

In the seven weeks that A Delicate Balance has been running in full eight performance weeks, is has done exceedingly well at the box office. In its first week of previews, the show was more than sold out, bringing in 102.25% of its gross potential with a gross of $884,596. Though it hasn’t done quite as well since, it has never dipped below 83.43% of the gross potential, and generally has been squarely in the 90% range. In the last recorded week – the week ending December 7, 2014 – the show brought in $873,152, representing 94.59% of its gross potential, with a top ticket price of $323.00 and an average paid admission of $143.33. This shows little to no discounting, as theatergoers are flocking to this treat of a play starring some of their favorite actors. In particular, Glenn Close must be a major draw, as she hasn’t performed live on Broadway for two decades. John Lithgow, on the other hand, was seen as recently as 2012 when he starred in The Columnist, which didn’t do quite as well financially.

“Side Show” Opens on Broadway

Daisy and Violet Hilton Take Center Stage

side showOn November 17, 2014, Side Show opened at the St. James Theatre, following 21 preview performances that began on October 28, 2014. This musical with book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls) was first produced on Broadway in 1997. At the time, the show was not a big success; in fact, it closed after only 91 performances. Though this 2014 revival has not yet made it to 91, chances are that it will last at least until then. A few things are different about this production than the original. First of all, the marketing campaign is much more elegant and flashy, whereas the earlier production utilized a kitschy circus design. Secondly, the actual book of the musical was revised along with the director Bill Condon for this new production, which began at the La Jolla Playhouse in late 2013 prior to the Broadway transfer. The new book takes a darker approach, going more into the details of the real-life Siamese twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, on whom the musical is based. Finally, several new songs were incorporated such as “Cut Them Apart” sung by a group of English doctors in a flashback, as well as “All in the Mind” which is a lesson taught to the girls by Harry Houdini. In addition, the ladies’ big performance number is a new song entitled “Ready to Play.”

The Reviews are In, and Critics are Mixed

Whereas most reviewers commended this “revisal” for its improvement on the original, still many critics were not sold on the piece. side show erin davie emily padgettMelissa Rose Bernardo of Entertainment Weekly found this production to be leaden and only occasionally moving, claiming it is highly dissimilar from the original. Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News praised the show for its delightfully off-beat topic, commendable lead performances, and evocative design, but still criticized it for its thin characters and inconsistent plot. David Cote of Time Out New York found the production to be excellent, praising director Bill Condon and lead actresses Erin Davie and Emily Padgett, but still could not get over the feeling that the show itself is second rate. Still, Charles Isherwood of The New York Times was astounded by the show as well as the production, believing it to be a timely revival in this era welcoming to freaks, and feeling moved by the complexity of the storyline. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter was equally impressed, calling the show fresh and exotic.

Box Office Unfazed by Reviews

It appears that those interested in buying tickets to Side Show are not very interested in reading reviews, or at least they are not judging their decision to attend this show based on reviews. Since the show began previews, both before and after the reviews came out, the numbers have barely fluctuated at all. In the most recent reported week, the week ending December 7, 2014, the show brought in $483,252, only slightly higher from the figures in the first full eight performance week ending November 16, 2014, which brought in $449,747. In the week immediately after reviews came out, the week ending November 23, 2014, the show actually experienced its first slight decline in sales from the week prior, which must have been a significant disappointment to the producers, who are always eagerly awaiting the post-opening box office report. That week, the show brought in $419,203, representing 40.59% of the gross potential. The goes to show that the musical is only holding a mild attraction for theatregoers, who are not affected by the critical response.