Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth to Host Tony Awards

Two Tony Winners Emcee on June 7th

alan cumming kristin chenowethOn June 7, 2015, the 69th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall. The hosts have been announced: Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth. These two beloved stars are both Tony winners themselves, and they also both starred in musicals that played this season. Alan Cumming revived his magnificent role as the Emcee of Cabaret in this past year’s revival, a role that he played opposite first Michelle Williams, then Emma Stone, and finally Sienna Miller. As that production was an exact revival of an earlier revival production, with the same directors Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, as well as the same star Alan Cumming playing the Emcee, it was not eligible for the Best Revival award category. As such, Cabaret did not receive any nominations this year. However, Alan Cumming did receive the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for playing that role in the 1998 production of Cabaret. As an award-winning emcee, therefore, he is the perfect emcee for this awards event. Furthermore, Kristin Chenoweth starred in On the Twentieth Century, a revival of a musical comedy by Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Cy Coleman. That production has received five Tony Award nominations, including one for Kristin for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. Its other nominations are those for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Andy Karl, Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design.

A Broadway History of Alan Cummingalan cumming

On top of the two productions of Cabaret, Alan Cumming has been on Broadway an additional three times. In 2001, he played Otto in a production of Noel Coward’s Design for Living. In 2006, he played Macheath in a production of The Three Penny Opera. And very notoriously, in 2013, he played Macbeth in a one-man production of that Shakespeare classic, first at Lincoln Center and then at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. In addition to his Tony Award for the earlier revival of Cabaret, Cumming has received four Olivier Awards: the British equivalent of the Tonys. He received an analogous award for his role in Cabaret in 1994. He also received an Olivier Award for the Comedy Performance of the Year for La Bete in 1993. Before that, he received the same comedy award for his performance in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and he was commended as Best Newcomer in a Play by the Oliviers in 1988 for Conquest of the South Pole.

A Broadway History of Kristin Chenoweth

kristin chenowethAs for Kristin, she has been nominated for Tony Awards twice before, winning one. She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in 1999 for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. In 2004, she was nominated for her role as Glinda in Wicked for the award for Best Actress in a Musical, although she did not win (instead, Idina Menzel won the same award for the same production for her role as Elphaba). This is now her third Tony Award nomination. Furthermore, she starred as Fran Kubelik in Promises, Promises in 2010, and she played Eve among other roles in the 2006-2007 production of The Apple Tree. Before Wicked, she also played Louise Goldman in the 1999 production of Epic Proportions as well as a series of roles in the 1997 production of Steel Pier, as well as her star turn in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

“Skylight” Opens on Broadway

A Lauded Revival of David Hare’s 1995 Play

skylightOn April 2, 2015, Skylight opened on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre. It had been running in previews since March 13, 2015. This revival of David Hare’s play is directed by Stephen Daldry, who is also helming the vastly successful play The Audience presently running this season. Daldry’s previous Broadway credits include Billy Elliot: The Musical, Via Dolorosa, and An Inspector Calls. This is in addition to his enormous list of British credits, including the previous incarnation of this production of Skylight, which prior to its Broadway run played in the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre, with the same cast. This three character play stars Carey Mulligan as Kyra Hollis, Bill Nighy as Tom Sergeant, and Matthew Beard as Edward Sergeant. Bill Nighy previously played this same role in the 1997 production of Skylight, which was directed by Richard Eyre at London’s Vaudeville Theatre. Carey Mulligan is a Hollywood star whose recent film credits include The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis, Drive, Shame, and Far from the Madding Crowd. This is her second Broadway credit, following The Seagull in 2008, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. She was also seen Off-Broadway in 2011 in the New York Theatre Workshop production of Through a Glass Darkly.

Rave Reviews and Tony Nominationsskylight

The show received all around rave reviews from the major publications. Ben Brantley in the New York Times found the dynamic between Mulligan and Nighy to be magnetic, with their performances making their relationship seem meant to be despite the enormous gulf that exists between them in the circumstances of their lives. He also calls the play possibly David Hare’s best work, and definitely his tightest. David Cote in Time Out New York dubbed the play a Critics’ Pick, calling the actors deep-diving and fearless. David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter deemed Nighy as being in his top form, calling the first act terrific and the entire play riveting. Marilyn Stasio in Variety loved the fierce pas de deux, as she called it, relishing in the dreary portrait of human life at the very bottom of the social ladder. Robert Kahn in NBC New York also loved the play, calling it artfully performed. In addition to critical praise, the play was widely recognized by the Tony nominating committee. It received a remarkable seven Tony Award nominations, beat out by only one straight play in terms of number of nominations (Wolf Hall Parts One and Two received eight). The production was nominated for Best Revival of a Play, Bill Nighy was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play, Carey Mulligan was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, Matthew Beard was nominated for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play, Stephen Daldry was nominated for his direction (and interestingly for his play but not for The Audience), Bob Crowley was nominated for his scenic design, and Natasha Katz was nominated for her lighting design.

Ever Increasing at the Box Office

For a straight play, Skylight is not doing badly at the box office. Since the Tony nominations were announced, the figures have been increasing. In the last week of reported box office figures, the week ending May 3, 2015, it brought in $776,373, which represents 90.48% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $297.00, the average paid admission was $121.29, and the average audience capacity was 99.8%. That weekly gross is the highest yet, and it may even get higher as word of mouth continues to spread for this gloriously reviewed production.

 

“The Heidi Chronicles” Wraps Up Its Run Early

Difficulty Catching Hold at the Box Office

On February 23, 2015, a revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s 1989 play The Heidi Chronicles began previews at Broadways Music Box Theatre. Following the show’s opening on March 19, 2015, it received generally very positive reviews. The play is considered a modern feminist masterpiece, traversing through the life of a woman named Heidi Holland, from her school days to her later career as an art historian, dealing with issues ranging from motherhood to settling down with a partner. heidi chroniclesThe 2015 revival starred Elisabeth Moss, who is well known for her role as Peggy Olson on “Mad Men,” in addition to stage roles such as Speed-the-Plow on Broadway and The Children’s Hour in the West End. Moss’ performance was highly praised in particular, and her co-stars Jason Biggs (American Pie, “Orange is the New Black”) and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) also were reported to have given excellent performances. The show was directed by Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park), and produced by Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel. Nevertheless, despite the good notices, this was an example of a play merely failing to catch hold at the box office, with audience members inundated with too many other exciting choices.

Elisabeth Moss Nominated for a Tony Award

In an unusual move, the play announced its closing prior to the disclosure of the Tony Award nominations. In any case, Elisabeth Moss was nominated for the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. She is going up against Helen Mirren from The Audience, Geneva Carr from Hand to God, Carey Mulligan from Skylight, and Ruth Wilson from Constellations. That race is not a clear one, and any of the women may end up taking home the award. Still, that is the only Tony nominations that the play received, as it failed to receive the coveted honor of being nominated for Best Revival of a Play. Also, Pam MacKinnon, who has been previously recognized by the Tony committee, did not receive a nomination for Best Director of a Play. If Elisabeth Moss wins, therefore, it cannot help to spur sales for the already closed production. Still, it would be a great honor for the highly talented actress. The original Broadway production, which was mounted in 1989 to 1990, received the Tony Award for Best Play, and Joan Allen in the role of Heidi Holland was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play as well.

heidi chronicles elisabeth mossClosing on May 3 After 80 Performances Total

On April 21, 2015, the producers announced that the last performance of the 2015 revival of The Heidi Chronicles would take place on Sunday, May 3, 2015. It closed having played 27 preview performances followed by 53 regular performances, totaling 80. In contrast, the original production played 630 performances. This revival had a capitalization between $3.5 million and $4 million, and it will close having failed to recoup this investment. The total gross that the show brought in was not much higher than $2.5 million, but weekly running costs took a large chunk of that. The highest weekly gross that the show managed to accumulate was in the final week, ending May 3, 2015, when the show brought in $378,471. This is only slightly higher than the second highest weekly gross from the week ending April 12, 2015, when the show brought in $368,596. The show never brought in more than 42.47% of its gross potential in any given week, and the audience capacity never averaged higher than 74.7% even with heavy discounting. Therefore, this revival will go down in history as a financial flop, although it was a critical success, and it may yet have a chance to take home one Tony award as well.

“Living on Love” Closes After One Month

Failing to Receive a Tony Nod, Producers Cut Losses

living on loveOn April 1, 2015, Living on Love began previews at the Longacre Theatre. The official opening night took place on April 20, 2015. Less than a week later, the Tony nominations were announced, and Living on Love received a grand total of zero. This play is a new adaptation of an older work by Garson Kanin called Peccadillo, which Joe DiPietro (Nice Work if You Can Get It, I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change) reworked and dubbed Living on Love. The play is directed by Kathleen Marshall, who has shepherded many large scale musicals to great success such as Anything Goes, The Pajama Game, and Nice Work If You Can Get It. This was a foray into directing a straight play, but not one without a musical bent. The lead actress of the play is the opera star Renée Fleming making her Broadway debut, who plays an opera diva named Raquel De Angelis. Therefore, though the play is not a musical, there are bouts of opera singing throughout. However, this mix of elements was not enough to make the play a hit at the box office. With low weekly grosses, and no acknowledgement from the Tony committee, the producers decided that the show’s last performance would be May 3, 2015. It closed having played only 21 preview performances and just two weeks (16 performances) of regular shows.

Unable to Gain Traction at the Box Officeliving on love

In this highly competitive season, some straight plays were standing out, some even performing neck and neck with big budget musicals such as Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play, and the Helen Mirren starrer The Audience. Living on Love, however, had only one big name among the cast, Renée Fleming, and even she is only well known among opera lovers, which is a distinct audience from the general ticket buyers of Broadway shows. With a tight budget it was difficult to get the word out that this play was on, and even then it was a puzzlement for theatergoers, as it was unclear what exactly they were to expect with an opera star leading a straight play adapted from a classic farce. When the reviews came out and many were less than positive, this did not help boost sales. Of the five weeks the show was running, the first of which was a partial week, the highest weekly gross Living on Love earned was in the week ending April 12, 2015, with a weekly gross of $198,392, which represents just 20.73% of its gross potential. That week also marked the highest average paid ticket, which was only $34.18. This is abysmally low for a Broadway show that sold its top ticket ambitiously for $275.00. Even with papering and discounting, the audience capacity never averaged more than 78.6% in a week, which took place the week ending April 19, 2015.

A Labor of Love, via the Williamstown Theatre Festival

The development of Living on Love was a long process, involving the adaption of the play Peccadillo, followed by a trial run at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in July 2014. That run received positive enough reviews to encourage the producers to transfer it to Broadway, with The New York Times calling Renée Fleming an eight-lane highway broad, with a voice to graze the heavens. However, in the context of the more competitive Broadway atmosphere, critics were less laudatory. Without the Tony nominations to keep the play afloat, it was just not worth it to continue paying the weekly running costs to keep the show open. Though the play was relatively low budget, it will close at a serious loss.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/03/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“The Heidi Chronicles” and “Living on Love” Close

On May 3, 2015, both The Heidi Chronicles and Living on Love played their final performances on Broadway. Both shows chose to shutter their doors due to having received poor box office performance. Living on Love also closed having failed to receive any Tony nominations. The Heidi Chronicles, which received one nomination for Elisabeth Moss for Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Play, announced its closing prior to the revelation of the Tony nominations. Both shows saw a slight, but not significant, increase in sales in their last week of performances. Living on Love played its final week with a weekly gross of $160,105, which represents only 16.58% of its gross potential. This was not its all-time high; that took place in the week ending April 12, 2015, which was its first full week of performances, when it brought in $198,392. Still the final week saw a slight upturn of $4,459 from the week before, when the show had previously been declining in the two weeks prior. However, the show never broke through the $200,000 mark for any weekly gross, and therefore needed to close in order to avoid losing more unnecessary money. As for The Heidi Chronicles, the final week saw an upturn of $65,046, bringing the final gross to a high of $378,471. This is the largest gross earned in any week of the run, although it still only represents 42.47% of the gross potential. Despite earning good reviews, the box office was not up to speed, and the show therefore closed after 80 performances.

No Real Change Yet for “An American in Paris” or “Fun Home”

Two musicals that appear to be perhaps the strongest contenders for the Tony Award for Best Musical – An American in Paris and Fun Home – budged only slightly in the week ending May 3, 2015, although this week marked the announcement of these Tony nominations. However, in the month to come before the Tony Awards in early June, chances are that interest will continue to develop as buzz spreads for this hot race. Fun Home, which was a relatively unknown title before coming to Broadway from the Public Theater, brought in $531,985 this past week, which is an increase of $95,812 from the week before. In fact, this is the largest increase of any show this past week, but it is still not hugely significant. The show reached its highest potential of its weekly gross yet at 71.37%, but there is still room for growth to be competing the millionaire’s club along with other celebrated musicals. As for An American in Paris, buzz has already taken off as the show has been in the millionaire’s club for the past three weeks. This past week, it brought in $1,220,231, which represents 84.20% of its gross potential. Although this show was a surprise at the Tony nominations, sweeping with an incredible 12 nominations, many for newcomers, it already seems to be exciting at the box office. In this past week following the nominations, however, it actually brought in $15,016 less than the week before. As the Tonys approach, this show too will likely continue to creep upwards in its box offices grosses.

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending May 3, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-05-03-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $500,038 5,148 70.95% $97.13
AIRLINE HIGHWAY $157,029 3,419 68.16% $45.93
ALADDIN $1,408,344 13,785 100.01% $102.16
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,220,231 13,026 96.98% $93.68
BEAUTIFUL $1,033,010 7,421 90.41% $139.20
CHICAGO $598,993 7,457 86.31% $80.33
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO $515,163 7,994 67.61% $64.44
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,093,498 11,308 93.98% $96.70
FISH IN THE DARK $1,158,381 8,694 101.28% $133.24
FUN HOME $531,985 5,700 97.60% $93.33
GIGI $550,516 6,833 61.71% $80.57
HAND TO GOD $346,364 4,758 76.05% $72.80
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $418,702 4,203 69.56% $99.62
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $350,281 4,849 59.78% $72.24
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $584,042 6,078 70.54% $96.09
JERSEY BOYS $575,211 5,913 60.19% $97.28
KINKY BOOTS $901,034 8,471 74.36% $106.37
LES MISÉRABLES $571,832 7,732 68.59% $73.96
LIVING ON LOVE $160,105 4,821 56.16% $33.21
MAMMA MIA! $660,796 7,718 82.74% $85.62
MATILDA $735,660 9,430 82.31% $78.01
ON THE TOWN $501,640 7,944 52.99% $63.15
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $489,687 5,639 97.63% $86.84
SKYLIGHT $776,373 6,401 99.77% $121.29
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $801,033 11,243 84.31% $71.25
THE AUDIENCE $1,166,293 7,534 100.68% $154.80
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,407,988 8,749 102.59% $160.93
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $631,589 6,320 77.60% $99.93
THE HEIDI CHRONICLES $378,471 5,455 68.12% $69.38
THE KING AND I $998,387 8,376 100.00% $119.20
THE LION KING $1,908,299 12,937 95.13% $147.51
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $837,178 10,503 81.80% $79.71
THE VISIT $194,145 4,342 60.24% $44.71
WICKED $1,387,456 12,512 86.60% $110.89
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $724,737 6,805 61.51% $106.50
Totals $26,274,485 269,518 80.12% $93.66

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

The Tony Nominations Have Been Announced!

Awards Ceremony Will Take Place June 7th at Radio City Music Hall

tony awardsOn June 7, 2015, the greatest stars and talents of the Broadway theatre community will gather at Radio City Music Hall for the 69th Annual Tony Awards ceremony. After great anticipation, the nominations have been announced by the Tony Nominating Committee. As the nominators are famously few, even in comparison to the privileged bunch who get to call themselves Tony voters, there is always a degree of subjectivity involved in these nominations. Sometimes very deserving candidates do not even get a chance to compete for awards that some might say they should have won, merely due to the choices of 50 theatre professionals. In comparison, there are approximately 868 individuals who are eligible to place a vote among these nominees. This year, it was a very competitive nomination process, as very few categories had obvious contenders. Arguably the most prestigious category is the award for Best Musical, as this can validate a show to be a long running hit, or even turn a hidden gem into a global brand name. For the 2015 Tony Awards, the nominees for Best Musical are An American in Paris, Fun Home, Something Rotten!, and The Visit. As for Best Play, the nominees are The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Disgraced, Hand to God, and Wolf Hall Parts One and Two.

Revivals, Book Writers, Composers, Actors, and Actressesan american in paris

The nominees for Best Revival of a Play are The Elephant Man, Skylight, This is Our Youth, and You Can’t Take it With You. The contenders for the category of Best Revival of a Musical are The King and I, On the Town, and On the Twentieth Century. As for Best Book of a Musical, the nominees are An American in Paris by Craig Lucas, Fun Home by Lisa Kron, Something Rotten! by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, and The Visit by Terrence McNally. Hand in hand is the award for Best Original Score, the nominees for which are Fun Home with music by Jeanine Tesori and lyrics by Lisa Kron, The Last Ship with music and lyrics by Sting, Something Rotten! with music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, and The Visit with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. As for the acting categories, the nominees for Best Lead Actor in a Play are Steven Boyer in Hand to God, Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man, Ben Miles in Wolf Hall Parts One and Two, Bill Nighy in Skylight, and Alex Sharp in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. The nominees for Best Lead Actress in a Play are Geneva Carr in Hand to God, Helen Mirren in The Audience, Elisabeth Moss in The Heidi Chronicles, Carey Mulligan in Skylight, and Ruth Wilson in Constellations. The nominees for Best Lead Actor in a Musical are Michael Cerveris in Fun Home, Robert Fairchild in An American in Paris, Brian d’Arcy James in Something Rotten!, Ken Watanabe in The King and I, and Tony Yazbeck in On the Town. The nominees for Best Lead Actress in a Musical are Kristin Chenoweth in Something Rotten!, Leanne Cope in An American in Paris, Beth Malone in Fun Home, Kelli O’Hara in The King and I, and Chita Rivera in The Visit.

Snubs and Surprises

finding neverlandThis year, there were quite a few shows that did not receive any nominations at all, some of which come as a major shock. One of the most obvious snubs was Harvey Weinstein’s first venture in Broadway producing, Finding Neverland, which received no nominations at all. Another show that can be considered a snub is Larry David’s Fish in the Dark, which has been selling marvelously at the box office but was a critical bust. Other shows that did not receive any nominations are The River, The Country House, Living on Love, The Real Thing, Doctor Zhivago, Side Show, Love Letters, A Delicate Balance, It Shoulda Been You, and Holler if Ya Hear Me. Some of these such as The River and A Delicate Balance sold very well, but received no nods by the Tony committee. For Living on Love, the lack of recognition was enough to persuade the producers to announce the closing date of the show as quickly as possible. As for positive surprises, the fact that An American in Paris received 12 nominations, tying only with Fun Home for the most of any show, was not expected by most. Though the reviews were generally positive, this dance heavy adaptation was a surprise sweep of the nominations. As for It’s Only a Play, which was a major box office hit, the show only received one nomination: for its newcomer Micah Stock. The other actors are major stars, and the play was received very warmly, but none of these individuals were recognized except the Supporting Actor.

2015 TONY AWARD NOMINEES # Of Awards
An American In Paris 12
Fun Home 12
Something Rotten! 10
The King and I 9
Wolf Hall 8
Skylight 7
The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time 6
Hand to God 5
On The Twentieth Century 5
The Visit 5
You Can’t Take It With You 5
Airline Highway 4
On The Town 4
The Elephant Man 4
The Audience 3
The Last Ship 2
Constellations 1
Disgraced 1
Gigi 1
Its Only A Play 1
The Heidi Chronicles 1
This is Our Youth 1

“Airline Highway” Begins Broadway Performances

MTC Produces a Broadway Play by a Female Writer

airline highwayThe Manhattan Theatre Club has been receiving a lot of criticism for their failure to produce a play on Broadway by a female playwright over the past two years. For the first time, they broke that streak with the production of Lisa D’Amour’s Airline Highway, which began previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on April 1, 2015. The show opened on April 23, 2015, and is scheduled to run until June 14, 2015. Lisa D’Amour is a renowned playwright, but this is the first time her work has been seen on Broadway. Her other plays include Nita & Zita, for which she received an Obie Award in 2003, Terrible Things, for which she received MAP Fund award in 2008, and Ten Thousand Things, for which she received the award for Best New Play from the Austin Critics’ Circle in 2002. Her play Detroit was scheduled to be produced on Broadway, but it was instead produced Off-Broadway by Playwrights Horizons in 2012-2013. This is therefore a great achievement for her work to finally be seen by a wider audience. Airline Highway is directed by Joe Mantello, whose many Broadway directing credits include An Act of God, The Last Ship, Casa Valentina, I’ll Eat You Last: A Conversation with Sue Mengers, and The Other Place.

A Gathering in a Run Down New Orleans Motelairline highway

Airline Highway takes place in New Orleans, where Lisa D’Amour was formerly a Carnival Queen. She utilizes her firsthand knowledge of the crazy range of characters in that town to craft this play. The concept of the play is an all-night party that the friends throw for their friend in honor of her death, before she has died. This pal is Miss Ruby, who lays upstairs on her deathbed, and then eventually makes it down to the parking lot party, with her bed in tow. She was a kind of maternal figure to all these tragic souls, and they are celebrating her life with a preemptive funeral. The other characters include Sissy Na Na, a wise and learned transvestite who will take on the matriarchal role once Miss Ruby has passed. We also meet the motel manager, a man who does odd jobs at the motel, and a variety of hippies and outcasts who form a tight knit community.

Difficulty Catching Hold at the Box Office

This little known play by a little known writer is having a tough time making tracks at the box office. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending April 26, 2015, the show only brought in $126,468, which represents 23.44% of its gross potential. In the week prior, the show reached its peak thus far with a weekly gross of $144,334, which represents 24.49% of the show’s gross potential. The average paid ticket has ranged between $29.08 and $37.42, showing a heavy amount of discounting. And yet they are still not managing to completely fill up the audience, as this last week had an average audience capacity of 86.7%. The peak in terms of audience capacity was the week before, at an average of 90.8%. Because this play is produced by Manhattan Theatre Club, it will likely survive this difficult string of box office losses, but it will still not be easy to last until June if sales don’t pick up.

“Fun Home” Begins Broadway Previews

A Tour de Force Transfer from the Public Theater

fun homeOn March 27, 2015, Fun Home began previews at the Circle in the Square Theatre. This new musical transferred to Broadway following a wildly successful run at the downtown Public Theater, the not-for-profit venue that is responsible for Shakespeare in the Park, among other successful Broadway transfers such as the recently announced Hamilton. The musical has a book by Lisa Kron, whose play Well played on Broadway in 2006, in which she also starred as a character based off of herself. Therefore, Fun Home is a departure for Kron, at least in terms of the fare we have seen on the Broadway stage, as it is a full scale musical and not intended to be autobiographical. Lisa Kron also wrote the lyrics for a score by Jeanine Tesori, who composed the music for Violet, A Free Man of Color, Shrek the Musical, Caroline, or Change, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. The show is directed by Sam Gold, the up and coming young director who made a huge splash Off-Broadway before directing a string of Broadway shows in recent years including Seminar, Picnic, The Realistic Joneses, and The Real Thing. This, however, is his first Broadway musical directing position.

Based Off The Graphic Novel by Alison Bechdelfun home

Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori collaborated on this musical adaptation, which is based off of a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. The musical takes place in three time periods, which overlap non-linearly in the show. Over the course of the musical, the protagonist, Alison, is 43 years old (as the narrator), 19 years old (as an Oberlin student), and 8 years old (as a child in her father’s restored Victorian home). In her first year of college, Alison came out of the closet, identifying as a lesbian. Over the course of this fascinating interwoven tale, Alison explores connections between her family’s history and her coming out. For instance, her father was overbearing when she was a child, she witnessed her father having a sexual affair with a man, and when he ordered her to put on a dress, she disobeyed and wore jeans instead. Her father’s death also becomes a seminal moment in her life, as she reexamines the impact this has had on her own life. The way that the three stories are told out of order is artfully done, reinventing her own story through personal connections.

Excellent Buzz but So Far Mediocre Box Office

Following its slam dunk run at the Public Theater, Fun Home came to Broadway in a storm of buzz. However, this buzz may not have extended to the entire theatergoing public, and instead may be reserved for New York locals and diehard theatre aficionados. Therefore, the show has been holding on just barely at the box office. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending April 26, 2015, the show brought in $436,173, which represents just 59.33% of its gross potential. This is also the highest gross the show has seen thus far. The Circle in the Square Theatre is a very small Broadway venue, so it is difficult to make a large weekly gross, but still the show is having a difficult time even reaching the potential of that small venue. However, the Tony nominations may change that, as Fun Home has just been announced to have received an incredible 10, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Orchestration, three acting nominations, and two design nominations.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 4/26/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“The Heidi Chronicles” to Close Early

In the week ending April 26, 2015, The Heidi Chronicles brought in $313,425. This represents 35.17% of the show’s gross potential. Since the show began previews on February 23, 2015, and well past its opening on March 19, 2015, it has been struggling at the box office. Its highest weekly gross came in the week ending April 12, 2015, when it brought in $368,596, which still only represents 41.36% of its gross potential. From one perspective, this is surprising, as the show stars Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men” fame, and Jason Biggs of American Pie fame. Furthermore, this is the first major production of the beloved playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s works since she passed away. However, these ingredients are not enough for this competitive Broadway season, and the show’s producers have therefore announced that the show will close on May 3, 2015. At that point, it will have played only 80 performances, including previews. This is in contrast to the 630 performances the play had in its run during 1989 – 1990. The show, which was capitalized at between $3.5 million and $4 million, will not recoup its initial investment.

Other Struggling Shows: “Airline Highway,” “Living on Love,” and “The Visit”

In addition, this past week, three shows that have recently begun performances are not demonstrating very much promise at the box office. The lowest weekly gross in the week ending April 26, 2015 was earned by Airline Highway, a Manhattan Theatre Club production at the Samuel J. Friedman theatre. That show brought in only $126,468 this past week, which represents 23.44% of its gross potential. Still, it is discounting heavily, as it managed to fill 86.7% of the audience across the eight performances. The next lowest weekly gross this past week was earned by Living on Love, the Renee Fleming vehicle based off of Garson Kanin’s play Peccadillo, which was now re-written by Joe DiPietro. This past week, the show brought in only $155,646, which represents 16.26% of its gross potential. With a top available ticket price of $275.00, the average paid admission was only $26.05, and the average audience capacity was 69.6%. Comp tickets were available in as wide a marketplace as to include studentrush.org and many highly accessible papering sites. Finally, the Chita Rivera starrer The Visit, written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, only brought in $180,105 this past week, which represents 23.62% of its gross potential. The average paid admission was only $34.45, and the average audience capacity was 72.5%. Time will tell whether these three shows can survive on Broadway much longer.

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending April 26, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-04-26-15-small

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $578,704 5,860 80.76% $98.76
AIRLINE HIGHWAY $126,468 4,349 86.70% $29.08
ALADDIN $1,492,453 13,786 100.01% $108.26
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,235,247 12,819 95.44% $96.36
BEAUTIFUL $1,049,011 7,536 91.81% $139.20
CHICAGO $552,016 6,819 78.92% $80.95
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO $485,335 9,366 79.21% $51.82
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,096,966 11,594 96.36% $94.61
FISH IN THE DARK $1,182,215 8,720 101.58% $135.58
FUN HOME $436,173 5,350 90.37% $81.53
GIGI $570,683 7,322 66.13% $77.94
HAND TO GOD $343,575 4,575 73.13% $75.10
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $702,944 6,363 90.27% $110.47
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $447,362 5,919 72.97% $75.58
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $678,842 6,895 80.03% $98.45
JERSEY BOYS $614,631 6,295 64.08% $97.64
KINKY BOOTS $927,593 9,087 79.77% $102.08
LES MISÉRABLES $724,981 9,108 80.80% $79.60
LIVING ON LOVE $155,646 5,975 69.61% $26.05
MAMMA MIA! $666,960 7,925 84.96% $84.16
MATILDA $995,903 11,296 98.60% $88.16
ON THE TOWN $567,250 8,560 57.10% $66.27
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $462,221 4,973 86.10% $92.95
SKYLIGHT $775,492 6,416 100.00% $120.87
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $716,593 12,031 92.49% $59.56
THE AUDIENCE $1,164,521 7,537 100.72% $154.51
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,469,646 8,744 102.53% $168.07
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $713,943 7,147 87.76% $99.89
THE HEIDI CHRONICLES $313,425 4,195 52.39% $74.71
THE KING AND I $981,217 8,376 100.00% $117.15
THE LION KING $1,972,747 13,557 99.68% $145.52
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $866,892 10,663 83.05% $81.30
THE VISIT $180,105 5,228 72.53% $34.45
WICKED $1,740,459 14,857 96.42% $117.15
WOLF HALL PARTS ONE & TWO $734,292 6,640 60.01% $110.59
Totals $27,722,510 285,883 84.35% $93.55

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

“Doctor Zhivago” Begins Performances

Based on the 1957 Novel by Boris Pasternak

doctor zhivagoOn March 27, 2015, Doctor Zhivago began previews at the Broadway Theatre. Based on the 1957 novel of the same name by Boris Pasternak, this new musical first premiered in 2006 at the La Jolla Playhouse in California. In 2011, Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, 700 Sundays, Guys and Dolls) took the helm as director for a touring production in Australia. That production received excellent reviews, finishing up its tour in Melbourne and then Brisbane. This 2015 Broadway production is also directed by Des McAnuff. In addition to the stage adaptation, Pasternak’s novel was adapted into a film in 1965 directed by David Lean, which won five Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score. The musical has a book by Michael Weller (Spoils of War, Loose Ends, Moonchildren), music by Lucy Simon (The Secret Garden), and lyrics by Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) and Amy Powers (Sunset Boulevard). This creative team therefore has an impressive pedigree, and the beautiful score shows this talent thoroughly. The Broadway production is choreographed by Kelly Devine (Rocky, Memphis, Rock of Ages). Official opening night is scheduled for April 21, 2015.

A Love Story from the Russian Revolution to World War Idoctor zhivago

Doctor Zhivago is epic in scope, set against the backdrop of a crucial period in Russian history, and yet it is deeply personal – telling the story of a woman loved by three men and a man loved by two women.  Lucy Simon’s score is as gorgeous as it is varied – the songs are stirring, sometimes even mesmerizing, and they help enormously to move this tale along efficiently and powerfully. The characters evolve over a long period of history; Lara (Kelli Barrett) is a vibrant and visceral female lead, as she undergoes significant development but always keeps her strong will. The role of Yurii Zhivago is played by Tam Mutu, making his Broadway debut. The fascinating role of Pasha is played by Paul Alexander Nolan, and he recurs in Act II as the vengeful Strelnikov. Other roles are played by Jacqueline Antaramian, Lora Lee Gayer, Sophia Gennusa, Jonah Halperin, Jamie Jackson, and Tom Hewitt (The Rocky Horror Show). Ultimately, this is a rich and compelling piece – it is a story of war and retraction of basic human rights, as well as love against all odds and devotion to artistic expression – compounded with a powerful score and a vastly recognizable title.

Presently at the Box Office

In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending April 19, 2015, Doctor Zhivago brought in $464,613, which represents 41.48% of its gross potential. That remained almost exactly the same from the week before, which brought in 41.78% of its gross potential, though with one more performance. The audience capacity also remained fairly steady, increasing from 75.4% to 78.3%. However, the following week will incorporate the first post-opening figures, and it will remain to be seen whether the notices in the papers and online will contribute to theatregoers’ excitement about this piece, or whether the institution of Doctor Zhivago may not hold interest in this competitive Broadway season.