Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 9/13/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Spring Awakening” Begins Previews With Less Than Stellar Numbers

On September 8, 2015, Spring Awakening began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, playing a full week of eight performances in the week ending September 13, 2015. In its first week out of the gate, the musical brought in $448,879, which represents 44.73% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $247.00, the average paid admission was $65.99, demonstrating a fair amount of discounting. This revival of Spring Awakening is unique in that it stars both hearing and non-hearing acting, with certain characters singing the songs and others using American Sign Language. This production is produced by Deaf West Theatre, and is a transfer from a production that received rave reviews in Los Angeles. Although there has been quite a bit of buzz about this production, the first full week of previews did not demonstrate an overabundance of excitement about the show. However, the fall season is only just beginning to be underway, and thus there is still a lull in audience interest in the new shows beginning previews. Once the show opens on September 27, 2015, the reviews will help spread awareness of the production and there is a chance that ticket sales will continue to pick up. The last time Spring Awakening was on Broadway was 2006, when the musical ran until 2009. Therefore, this is a pretty quick turnaround for a revival, even if the production differs in its casting and stylistic choices.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Shows Upturn in Final Week

On September 13, 2015, Hedwig and the Angry Inch played its final performance on Broadway. The show had been running at the Belasco Theatre for a year and a half, since it began previews on March 29, 2014. It won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Muscial among other awards, and broke the record for the longest running show at the Belasco Theatre. Over the course of the run, the lead role of Hedwig was portrayed by a variety of stars. By far the biggest box office attraction was the opening cast member, Neil Patrick Harris, who brought in well over a million dollars per week during his run. Following Harris, the show starred Andrew Rannells, then Michael C. Hall, then John Cameron Mitchell himself in the role he created, then Darren Criss, and then finally Taye Diggs, who was the closing performer. Though Diggs did not cause the greatest box office numbers during most of his weeks in the role, the final week did show an upturn. In the week ending September 13, 2015, Hedwig and the Angry Inch brought in $625,159, which represented 88.12% of the show’s gross potential, and which was an increase of $178,208 from the week before. In contrast, the previous week brought in $446,951, which represented 63.00% of its gross potential. Also, the houses were completely full, with the average audience capacity at 100.1% throughout the seven performances. In contrast, the previous week had an average audience capacity of 80.8%. The show will continue to delight audiences on the road, including international runs in London and Australia.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending September 13, 2015:broadway show ticket analysis

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn  %Capacity  AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $499,576 6,149 84.74% $81.24
ALADDIN $1,386,168 13,405 97.03% $103.41
AMAZING GRACE $332,663 4,970 53.46% $66.93
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,233,473 12,093 90.03% $102.00
BEAUTIFUL $1,002,586 8,162 99.44% $122.84
CHICAGO $631,817 8,008 92.69% $78.90
FINDING NEVERLAND $805,827 9,382 77.98% $85.89
FUN HOME $679,175 5,910 99.83% $114.92
HAMILTON $1,561,640 10,703 101.28% $145.91
HAND TO GOD $250,923 3,611 58.47% $69.49
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $625,159 7,058 100.13% $88.57
JERSEY BOYS $691,833 7,522 76.57% $91.97
KINKY BOOTS $878,766 9,804 86.06% $89.63
LES MISÉRABLES $768,084 9,538 84.62% $80.53
MAMMA MIA! $886,681 8,980 95.94% $98.74
MATILDA $715,374 9,647 84.21% $74.16
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $839,012 9,039 67.78% $92.82
SPRING AWAKENING $448,879 6,802 82.87% $65.99
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,438,096 8,721 102.26% $164.90
THE KING AND I $903,608 7,361 87.88% $122.76
THE LION KING $1,727,320 13,563 99.96% $127.36
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $844,824 10,544 82.12% $80.12
WICKED $1,472,236 14,570 94.56% $101.05
Totals $21,392,373 213,253 87.27% $97.91

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


Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris Debuts on NBC

At 10PM EST on September 15, 2015, Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris debuted on NBC. Best Time Ever is a live variety television show developed in the style of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, a British TV show that has been airing on the British channel ITV since 2002 where it achieved high very high ratings throughout its broadcast seasons. The new NBC show is a wacky and versatile take on the format and takes full advantage of the diverse talents of the host, Neil Patrick Harris. The show features A-list stars, performances, stunts, comedy skits, mini game shows, audience giveaways and hidden camera pranks.

Not unlike SNL’s first ever episode, Best Time Ever got off to slow start in its debut show, probably owing to tense nerves for the brand new, live, network TV show, but it wasn’t long before Neil Patrick Harris got everyone settled in and the show began ratcheting up the laughs. From this point forward, we will refer to Neil Patrick Harris as NPH and Best Time Ever as BTE, because without the acronyms, things can get a little wild, just like the show.

neil patrick harris in blue suit next to nicole scherzinger in green sparkly dressGuest Announcer Reese Witherspoon and Show Co-Host Nicole Scherzinger

Reese Witherspoon was the guest announcer for the debut show. Although it seemed that she wasn’t fully utilized, she still added some great fun moments to the show. Her announcing was hysterical and her involvement with the segments on the show were quite amusing. Unfortunately, in one segment, Witherspoon chose to do some rather lame comedy repartee bits with NPH that portrayed her as the “dumb blonde,” which seemed dated and totally missed the comedy mark. But she made up for it in her go-girl attitude when climbing up the massive American Ninja climbing frame, despite being visibly shaken by its height. Witherspoon missed many opportunites to be humorous on the show, but she is, after all, an accomplished actor and producer, not a comedian.

NPH’s official co-host was former Pussycat Doll, recording artist and dancer, Nicole Scherzinger. Nicole was dazzlingly gorgeous but her co-hosting ability took a back seat because the two-host format developed by Ant and Dec for the UK show did not take into account the powerhouse entertainer that is NPH. Harris has so much stage talent, such that he doesn’t really need anyone else to ad-lib or fill-in for him. When he can do everything on the show so well already, why divide the responsibility?

Neil Patrick Harris Provides Lots Of Entertaining Segments

In a segment called The Best Days of Your Life Neil brought up a couple from the audience as a segue from flirting with some audience members and asked some random questions (a play-off of the original British show Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway). He showed clips of stalking them across the country, even at their wedding! Because he’s the fun-loving Neil Patrick Harris, he gets away with it, with many great laughs.

Carson Daly was brought on as a guest to promote NBC’s The Voice and to talk about a hilarious skit where Neil went undercover on the TV show as an Austrian host of the Austrian version of The Voice. The hosts Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine had no idea this awkward foreign guy was actually Neil Patrick Harris in the flesh. Neil made his reveal on The Voice stage as he sang Dreamgirls’ “And I am Telling You,” in a flat, thick German accent. Hilariously, no judge turned around for him.

stunt with reese witherspoon and neil patrick harris on latter red and blue jumpsuits

Neil Patrick Harris and Reese Witherspoon

The surprise live karaoke segment, “Sing-Along Live” was clearly a total shock to the contestants, who at each reveal gave a deer-in-the-headlights look at their TV, not understanding what was going on, creating comedy gold. Kudos to the BTE production team, which managed to keep the contestants in the dark until the reveal. It’s a risky gambit for NBC to broadcast this show without a tape delay, but boy is it entertaining for the in-studio and TV audiences.

The fear during the stunt Reese and Neil pulled off together was felt both in the studio and throughout the nation. Everyone held their breaths until they both zip-lined down from that terrifying lattice, the in-studio audience cheered loudly for the champ, Neil, but were scared for the visibly shaken Witherspoon.

Gloria Gaynor Shines As First “Sing-Along Live” Surprise Guest

On BTE’s premiere night, 70’s disco queen, Gloria Gaynor was the singing star that appeared in the “Sing-Along Live” segment where some surprised viewers at home had to finish the song, where she left off. Gaynor belted out her female empowerment anthem “I Will Survive” to a raucous reception. Gaynor showed that she is still a powerhouse singer and can hit the high notes. Ricky Martin is anticipated to appear in the show’s first season.

best time ever end of the show showThe End-of-The-Show, Show

The intense stunt wasn’t the only moment where Harris showed off his brave talents. NPH ended the show with a bang, with a segment named The End-of-the-Show show. The stage was set up with Little NPH and Gloria Gaynor sitting at a bar. There were bartenders juggling bottles, then Neil popped up and started juggling along with them. Ant and Dec were also hanging out and having a beer. To up the ante, Neil brought out extreme pogo-stick riders and joined them and back flipped off his pogo-stick as Reese came downstage to join the party to the tune of Pitbull’s “Don’t Stop The Party.” But it wasn’t over! There was a huge blast of confetti while Little NPH got up on the bar and lip-synced, doing a little dance. After a parade of trumpets and drums. Scherzinger strut her stuff with dancers! This big finale was just a big giant party and had the audience on their feet dancing and screaming for more of everything! This is sure to be a very exciting season of Best Time Ever and will be a front-runner for ratings this fall, assuming that NPH can keep the momentum building.

Off Camera Hi-Jinks

Off-camera, NPH made the audience feel very comfortable, joked and often took the mic away from the warm-up comedian RC Smith who was trying his best to interact with the audience. After the show ended, Neil hugged his husband, David Burtka in celebration and quickly chatted to Perez Hilton, who was also in the audience. For full disclosure, not every moment was live last night. There were a few pre-recorded portions of the show, but both the in-studio and at-home audience felt the exciting and spontaneous elements of the entire hour, which ripped through at a rapid pace.

In Studio Audience Experience Different From TV

During the taping (can you say that when it is live?), the show pace appeared to be just-too-much for the director, Glenn Weiss, to handle. Weiss has previous live TV experience with Peter Pan Live and the 67th Annual Tony Awards, but on this show he missed many on-camera jokes that the live studio audience laughed at and the at-home TV audience missed  – and were then left scratching their heads wondering what was going on. This happened with all three live Karoake contests, where the cut-away was too soon. Weiss also missed NPH’s zipline crash through the finish line banner. All these scenes were missed by the at-home viewers but seen by the studio audience who reacted accordingly with laughs and clapping. When Gloria Gaynor belted out “I Will Survive” with the background dancers and a roller-skating couple, key elements of the segment were also missed. It is anticipated that adjustments will be made to the production that allows for these comedy-gold moments to be captured more appropriately. It would have also been nice to see an unannounced audio cut to Reese Witherspoon actually singing the Gloria Gaynor song, “I Will Survive” (she sounded great to the in-studio audience, but her was audio cut) or incorporating her into the quiz show segment, where she could have mimed the answers to the contestant, which could have been hilarious.

Show Broadcast Live From Kaufman Astoria Studios ineil patrick harris in front of Kaufman Astoria Studiosn Queens, New York

Best Time Ever with NPH is taped at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, NY. This area is a strange location for a TV show of this magnitude, but it works! If the in-studio audience is driving to the show, parking is easy to find and if they use public transportation, the subway is just a couple blocks away. The audience seemed at home in this neighborhood and after the show, although late at night, the streets were still safe. Aside from this, restaurants like UNO bar, Beer Garden and the locals’ favorite: Mama’s Empanadas are near and open, so after the show, the audience and crew found some good late night eats!

Harris recently starred on Broadway in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. He is also very well known for his television starring roles in such shows as How I Met Your Mother from 2005 to 2014, and Doogie Howser, M.D. from 1989 to 1993. He has won 5 Emmy Awards for his work hosting the Tony Awards, and for his work on “Glee.” He has also been nominated for his role on “How I Met Your Mother. In Best Time Ever, one of the many aspects of the show is song and dance, allowing Harris to demonstrate his charm in a musical fashion. Furthermore, the segments include game show bits, character impersonations, A-list celebrity appearances, stunts, performances, pranks, and audience giveaways.

Show Ratings and Demographic

For BTE’s debut episode, the preliminary ratings showed that 6.8 million viewers of adults aged 18 to 49 tuned in to see Harris’ premiere. The studio audience demographic skewed older than the at-home viewers and the curve for 18-45 years old was bottom heavy, which is a positive for advertisers.

Promotion Of NBC’s Other Shows on BTE

NBC Executives must have pushed the producers to promote other NBC shows in the debut of NPH’s BTE. The Voice featured heavily in the undercover segment featuring a fake Austrian The Voice host, Jurgen Vollmer (actually NPH) and the American Ninja host Matt Iseman. The American Ninja apparatus into which NPH and Witherspoon so courageously climbed in the second segment promoted NBC’s American Ninja TV Show. The demographic of these other shows skew quite differently to BTE, as does the lead-in to the show, America’s Got Talent, whose demographic is wildly different. NBC’s current stable of shows seem to be all over the shop, in terms of demographic.

Comparison To Fox’s Knock Knock Live:

Best Time Ever is the live TV show format that the upstart-challenger on the Fox channel, in the form of Ryan Seacrest’s Knock Knock Live, tried to achieve in July 2015. In a bid to steal the format from NBC, Seacrest’s show failed miserably and was cancelled after only two shows due to low ratings, even with the endorsement and participation of big celebrities and large amounts of money being given away. The problem with that format was that there was no real entertainment value, other than rather boring back-stories, that Seacrest gambled on and lost. BTE, on the other hand, was entertaining from start to finish. No need for back-stories here, this is fun!

Tuesday Live Shows For The Next 8 weeks

Neil Patrick Harris’ Best Time Ever is scheduled to broadcast on NBC for the next seven weeks and they will try to raise the ante on each show. The out-of-the-gate momentum is strong, and the show will move to an earlier time slot at 8PM beginning on 9/29. The new time slot will change the viewer demographic considerably and may mean an increase in the market penetration, for this funny and irreverent vehicle for Neil Patrick Harris’ talents.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Plays Final Performance

Year and a Half Run Goes Out With a Bang

hedwig coverOn September 13, 2015, Hedwig and the Angry Inch played its final performance at the Belasco Theatre. The show had been running on Broadway since it began previews on March 29, 2014, followed by its official opening night on April 22, 2014. With a book by John Cameron Mitchell, and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, the show first premiered Off-Broadway in 1998, starring John Cameron Mitchell in the title role. At that time, the show won an Obie Award and Outer Critics Circle Award and ran for two years, followed by a run in London’s West End. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that Broadway was brave enough to take on this risqué, small-scale musical about an androgynous rock musician who was raised in East Berlin. However, it was well worth the wait, as the show took home the 2014 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Furthermore, the show broke the record for the longest running production at the Belasco Theatre. The character of Hedwig is a German young man who becomes a woman in order to marry a U.S. soldier and escape life in East Berlin; however, once he arrives in America he is abandoned and forced to make his life as a single, transsexual with a botched sex change operation. In addition to taking place at this fascinating time in history, the style of the musical is steeped in the gorgeous and colorful aesthetic of 1970s glam rock, inspired by the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and John Lennon.

Excellent Box Office with Opening Cast, Success Throughout the Runhedwig and the angry inch neil patrick harris title

When the show began its run, the lead actor was played by Neil Patrick Harris, a big box office favorite who managed to sell out with grosses over 100% of gross potential and weekly box office over one million dollars for multiple weeks. In Harris’ final week of performances, the show reached its record high of a weekly box office gross of $1,139,903, reaching an astounding 136.61% of its gross potential. The top ticket price has remained $248.00 throughout the run, but that week it reached a peak average paid admission of $158.83. In the show’s final week of performances, it brought in less than it had been bringing in at the beginning of the run, but still a significant increase from the lower grosses that the later performances had been seeing. In the week ending September 13, 2015, the show brought in $625,159, which represents 88.12% of its gross potential, with an average paid admission of $88.57. This is up by $178,208 from the week before, the penultimate week.

A String of Fantastic Hedwigs: Harris, Rannells, Hall, Mitchell, Criss, Diggs

The other actors who played Hedwig did not perform as well at the box office; however they were all very exciting performers who brought originality and pizzazz to the role. The next man to take on this challenging role was Andrew Rannells, who rose to fame after playing the opening cast lead role of Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon. The next Hedwig was played by Michael C. Hall, well known for his role on Dexter amongst other shows. As the fourth Hedwig, a landmark occasion took place as John Cameron Mitchell returned to Broadway to play the role he created, but this time at age 50. Though he was indeed magnificent, the role did at one time prove a bit strenuous, as Mitchell injured his knee and had to take a few performances off, returning with his leg in a cast. With utter grace and charm, he continued to play the role of Hedwig marvelously despite his injured state. Following Mitchell, Darren Criss from Glee took over the role. Finally, for the closing weeks, Hedwig was played by Taye Diggs, well known from the original cast of Rent among other productions. The show will continue on the road, with a national tour commencing in San Francisco on October 4, 2016, as well as international performances in London and Australia.

“Mamma Mia!” Concludes Its Amazing 14 Year Run

5,773 Performances and Productions All Over the World

Mamma Mia on BroadwayOn September 12, 2015, Mamma Mia! played the final performance of an astonishing run. Originally beginning Broadway previews on October 5, 2001 at the Winter Garden Theatre, the Abba jukebox musical officially opened on October 18, 2001. This was following its successful London premiere in 1999. It was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical, but did not win any. However this did not stop the show from having a long life. Having now played continuously for almost 14 years, Mamma Mia! is the eighth longest running show on Broadway to date. The show played the Winter Garden Theatre for 12 years, and then transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre on November 2, 2013, where it concluded its run this week. The transfer was to make room for Rocky the Musical, which was an underwhelming show but had high expectations, enough to persuade Mamma Mia! to move theatres. In any case, the show has continued to delight audiences at the Broadhurst, located on West 44th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Upon closing, the show played a total of 5,773 performances, including 14 preview performances. In addition to playing in London and New York, Mamma Mia! has had runs in countless countries, including Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, France, Brazil, Denmark, Russia, New Zealand, Austria, the Czech Republic, Israel, and Finland. In addition to playing in major cities, the show has had national tours in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Russia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

A Stellar Creative Team and the Launch of a Brandmamma mia

Mamma Mia! has a book by Catherine Johnson, and music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba. Some of the songs were also written with Stig Anderson, and additional material is by Martin Koch, who also arranged the music. The show is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The original cast included Louise Pitre, Judy Kaye, Tina Maddigan, Karen Mason, and Dean Nolen. The show deals with a wedding a tiny Greek island, when the bride to be discovers her mother’s old diary, which recounts love affairs with three different men. She decides to invite each of the three men to the wedding, believing that one of them is her father. The show is an incredibly fun and uplifting show, including such timeless Abba hits as “Money, Money, Money,” “The Name of the Game,” “Chiquitita,” “Mamma Mia,” “Thank You For The Music,” “Voulez-Vous,” “Under Attack,” “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” and “Take a Chance on Me.” The show was adapted into a successful film in 2008, starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, and Julie Walters.

Over $2 Billion Worldwide and a Steady Hit for Years

Over the almost 14 years of running on Broadway, Mamma Mia! grossed a total of over $623 million. Over the course of all of its international productions, the show has brought in over $2 billion. From the first weeks after opening, the show was reaching in the high 90s to over 100% of its gross potential, becoming a quick hit as the buzz caught on. In 2001, the top ticket price was $100, and it is remarkable how low that seems now compared to some shows whose top ticket prices exceed $400. In any case, the show was a fast hit, bringing in over a million dollars in many of its running weeks. In January 2003, the top ticket price rose to $125, but then went back down to $100 in April 2003. However, in July 2004, the top ticket price took a quick leap to $201.25 with the introduction of premium ticket pricing. At the time of closing, the top ticket price was $225, and the final average paid admission was over $100.

Deaf West “Spring Awakening” Starts Previews

Revival of 2006 Musical Starring Hearing and Non-Hearing Actors

spring awakeningOn September 8, 2015, Spring Awakening began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway. However, this is not the same production as that which premiered nine years ago. Like the 2006 premiere, this production has a book by Steven Sater and music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik. The story is the same, based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind by the same name in German. However, this revival is a transfer from a Los Angeles production that premiered in September 2014, produced by Deaf West Theatre and directed by Michael Arden. Like the Los Angeles production, this Broadway revival stars both hearing and non-hearing actors, in the traditional Deaf West format. The theatre company’s last and only other show to come to Broadway was Big River in 2003, which was based off of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Like that production, Spring Awakening is cast with a mixture of actors, sometimes with a hearing and non-hearing actor doubling up on a role that calls for the artistic choice, or sometimes just played by a hearing actor or alternately a non-hearing actor. All in all, this creates a beautiful medley of not only singing but also dancing through American Sign Language, as well as a subtle appreciation for the artistic choice made for each character.

An Excellent Cast, Many Making Their Broadway Debutsspring awakening

The idea for this specific revival of Spring Awakening was reportedly brought to the director Michael Arden’s attention by his fiancé, Andy Mientus. Mientus was in the national tour of the original production of the musical, and he plays the role of Hanschen in this production. The only other cast member derived from an earlier Broadway incarnation is Krysta Rodriguez, who plays Ilse and was a swing in the original Broadway production. The only other two actors who have been on Broadway before are Patrick Page, a Broadway veteran who plays a variety of adult male roles, and Alex Wyse as Georg, who has been on Broadway once before in Lysistrata Jones. The many actors making their Broadway debuts include Marlee Matlin, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Children of a Lesser God, as well as Camryn Manheim who has a background as a sign language interpreter for hospitals and also is a Golden Globe winner. Additional roles are played by Russell Harvard, Sean Grandillo, Daniel Durant, Miles Barbee, Sandra Mae Frank, Alex Boniello, Joshua Castille, Treshelle Edmond, Katie Boeck, Kathryn Gallagher, Lauren Luiz, Amelia Hensley, Daniel David Stewart, Austin McKenzie, and Alexandra Winter.

Deafness Incorporating Not Only Stylistically But Also Thematically

The choice to make a Deaf West production of Spring Awakening was not a random decision. Rather, the themes in the story set in the late 19th century include teenagers’ inability to communicate with their parents, being unable to speak their true feelings, and having inadequate sexual education. Therefore, the incorporation of deaf actors and sign language is meant to evoke and underscore these ideas, while also creating a beautiful statement about equality and disability. Furthermore, it is visually stirring to see sign language played onstage alongside traditional singing and dancing, and Duncan Sheik’s score is altogether original and beautiful.

Jimmy Kimmel to Broadcast from Brooklyn for One Week

Taking New York By Storm While Competitors Are On Hiatus

jimmy kimmel liveIn the week of October 19, 2015, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! will produce five episodes from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Brooklyn, New York. The show generally films in Hollywood, California at the Hollywood Masonic Temple. However, Jimmy Kimmel is taking his show on the road in order to compete with his major rivals, who both shoot their late night shows in New York: Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. The former, Stephen Colbert, recently debuted his new job as David Letterman’s successor in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, and Jimmy Fallon is always a viewer favorite on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on NBC. However, ABC’s late night offering, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, is losing some of the spotlight with all of the happenings in New York. It is for this reason that Jimmy Kimmel has decided to come to New York for a week of shows. Whereas the show usually films just four episodes in a week, this special on the road series will feature five episodes. The timing of the week of October 19th was specifically chosen because both Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon will be on hiatus, allowing the entire focus of viewership to be centered on Jimmy Kimmel’s New York sojourn.

Jimmy Kimmel Does Well With On the Road Segmentsjimmy kimmel live

The last time Jimmy Kimmel did a major on the road piece was in March in Austin during the SXSW Festival. During that time, Kimmel saw a major increase in ratings compared to the previous weeks. Specifically, he brought in 2.830 million viewers in comparison to 2.744 million the week before that. Furthermore, his demographic statistics also increased from 0.73 the week before to 0.76 during the Austin special. Those numbers were his best statistics since the previous November. Simultaneously, Kimmel was then featured in Esquire Magazine as “Mr. James Kimmel, Troublemaker,” which added to the positive buzz around him at the time. Still, it can be said that Jimmy Kimmel does very well while on the road, with viewers tuning in for the change of scenery for his show. Therefore, the upcoming Brooklyn week is sure to attract a lot of attention, especially as both Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon will be on a break. However, the last time Jimmy Kimmel came to Brooklyn, Hurricane Sandy hit and he had to cancel his first show. So this time hold onto your hats.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Not Actually Live, But Still Great Fun

The name Jimmy Kimmel Live! is misleading. In its normal airing schedule, the show is taped at 4:30pm Pacific Standard Time on the day of the broadcast. There are rare occasions when the show does in fact air special live versions, such as after the Academy Awards or the NBA Finals leading into the ABC coverage of the event. Nevertheless, the show is a late night favorite among viewers. Since 2013, the show has been airing in the 11:35pm time slot in order to directly compete with Late Night with David Letterman, and now Late Night with Stephen Colbert, as well as what was once The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which is now The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Since both Letterman and Leno have since retired, Jimmy Kimmel is the longest running late night host. Jimmy Kimmel is 47 years old, which still makes him one of the new generation along with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. In fact, 47 years ago, Kimmel was born in Brooklyn, where he will return next month for his week long special.


Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 9/06/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Broadway Back on the Upswing

As September is finally upon us, Broadway is gearing up for the fall season, and the box office figures are showing an increased interest in the indoor activity. In the week ending September 6, 2015, the entire Broadway industry saw a collective increase of $499,271, which is the accumulation of the 24 that were running this past week. In the coming weeks, the fall shows will begin starting previews, but for now the shows that have been running since last season are themselves starting to pick up steam. The biggest increase this past week was seen by Kinky Boots, which went up by $175,260 to reach the weekly gross of $975,465. Over two years after winning the Tony Award for best musical (followed by A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder in 2014 and Fun Home in 2015), Kinky Boots is still going strong. The next biggest increase in sales was seen by Hamilton, the newest musical to take Broadway by storm. With an increase of $148,142 from the week before, Hamilton brought in a weekly gross of $1,697,070, making it the second highest grossing show on Broadway this past week. It even beat out Wicked, trailing only behind The Lion King. Another show from a previous season, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, saw an increase of $129,200, which brought it to the weekly gross of $1,031,198. The biggest decrease was seen by The Lion King, which went down by $93,758, a number that barely made a dent in its impressive weekly gross of $1,741,459.

“Hamilton” Continues to Climb Up the Charts

Still in its first two months of performances, Hamilton is becoming a bona fide best seller on Broadway. This past week, it brought in a weekly gross of $1,697,070, which is by far the highest number it has brought in thus far. This represents an impressive 127.13% of its gross potential. As the top ticket price has remained constant at $275.00 since the beginning of the run, it’s difficult to imagine where these extra dollars keep coming from. However, audience members are becoming more and more desperate to see this show, which made a huge splash Off-Broadway at the Public Theater before transferring to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. With book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and also starring Miranda in the title role, this is definitely the work of an impresario. Furthermore, it is innovative not only in terms of content but also stylistically, innovating on the concept of a biographical musical by bringing in a diverse array of characters to portray the founding fathers, while also incorporating musical styles from hip hop and rap to traditional Broadway musical styles. The average paid admission was also at a high this past week, rising to the number $158.52. With a total of 10,568 seats to sell across the eight performances, the figures somehow report that Hamilton sold a total of 10,706, or 101.3% of its audience capacity. Therefore, this musical is defying not only expectations, but also the bounds of what would previously have been thought possible for a show on Broadway.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending September 6, 2015:broadway show ticket analysis week ending 9-6-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn  %Capacity  AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $513,960 6,078 83.77% $84.56
ALADDIN $1,530,035 13,426 97.18% $113.96
AMAZING GRACE $275,044 4,813 51.77% $57.15
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,202,737 11,255 83.79% $106.86
BEAUTIFUL $1,031,198 8,182 99.68% $126.03
CHICAGO $543,224 6,704 77.59% $81.03
FINDING NEVERLAND $926,378 9,485 78.83% $97.67
FUN HOME $720,923 5,777 97.58% $124.79
HAMILTON $1,697,070 10,706 101.31% $158.52
HAND TO GOD $251,589 3,707 60.02% $67.87
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $446,951 5,697 80.82% $78.45
JERSEY BOYS $595,598 6,376 64.90% $93.41
KINKY BOOTS $975,465 9,351 82.08% $104.32
LES MISÉRABLES $808,664 9,265 82.19% $87.28
MAMMA MIA! $954,727 9,025 96.42% $105.79
MATILDA $748,542 9,302 81.20% $80.47
ON THE TOWN $955,351 11,898 79.36% $80.30
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $902,785 9,861 73.94% $91.55
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,508,403 8,741 102.50% $172.57
THE KING AND I $816,251 6,482 77.39% $125.93
THE LION KING $1,741,459 13,574 100.04% $128.29
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $814,978 9,232 71.90% $88.28
WICKED $1,560,536 12,920 89.37% $120.78
Totals $22,236,019 208,797 83.29% $103.28

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

“On the Town” Revival Plays Final Performance

Wraps Up Year Long Run on Sunday, September 6th

on the town posterThis afternoon, On the Town played its final performance at the Lyric Theatre. This old-fashioned but fun-loving musical concludes its run today after playing 368 performances in addition to 28 preview performances. Other than the original production in 1944, this makes this revival the longest running to date. When the show began previews on September 20, 2014, and in anticipation of its opening night on October 16, 2014, many doubted whether this musical from the 1940s would catch hold with audiences today, especially in the gigantic Lyric Theatre, which is better suited for large spectacle style shows such as Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark and the upcoming Cirque du Soleil show, Paramour. However, the show did defy expectations by holding on for almost a year, granted not without some very low box office performance weeks, and no recognition wins the Tony committee (despite four nominations). With a capitalization of $8.5 million, the show was on the cheaper size for musicals on Broadway; however, that is still a large amount of money to pay back to investors with a very expensive house to run each week.

Misty Copeland Steps in For Final 12 Performancesmisty copeland on the town

Although the show has struggled financially at the box office, it will go out with a final huzzah. Misty Copeland, who has recently made headlines for being named the first African American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater, stepped into to replace Megan Fairchild for the final 12 performances, from August 25, 2015 to September 6, 2015. Indeed, this did cause a major uplift in the box office. In her first week of performances alone, the show saw an increase of ticket sales in the amount of $519,055, more than doubling the previous week’s gross of $395,379 to reach an almost all-time high of $914,434. Though the final week’s box office performance has not yet been reported, with the combination of this being the final week to catch the show, along with the last and limited chance to see Misty Copeland in this role, chances are that sales will continue to be strong.

A Crowdfunding Attempt, But a Financial Letdown

With a capitalization of $8.5 million, the lead producers Howard and Janet Kagan tried an unusual tactic in raising funds for the production. They turned to crowdfunding, which is not unprecedented on Broadway, but it is certainly unusual. They opened a campaign on the crowdfunding platform Wealthforge, where they managed to raise just $500,000 of the $8.5 million budget. The Kagans did not intend to raise the whole amount on the site; wide press coverage stated that they would be pleased if they raised just $1 million or $2 million in that way. One benefit was that 2013 rule change allowed the producers to publicly advertise this investment opportunity, which allowed people to invest in Broadway who were not already in the know. However, this did not turn out to yield much advantage for these producers, because the show has come far from making back its initial investment. Over the 35 weeks of box office figures thus far reported (excepting the final week), the average percentage reached of the gross potential each week was only 31.00%. Furthermore, the average paid admission was only $62.94, demonstrating a large amount of discounting. Though the show did manage to stay open much longer than many expected, it was certainly not a financial success.

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Compose for Pinter’s “Old Times”

Unusual Collaboration Between Music and Theatre Worlds

Thom Yorke

On September 17, 2015, the revival of Harold Pinter’s play Old Times will begin previews at the American Airlines Theatre in a Roundabout Theatre Company production. Beyond the fact that Clive Owen is making his Broadway debut in the role of Deeley, there is something else out of the ordinary taking place with this production. The music is not composed by a traditional theatrical composer, but rather by the legend of alternative rock music Thom Yorke, most famously of the band Radiohead. Thom Yorke is the singer and main songwriter of Radiohead, a band renowned for its innovations in experimental and alternative rock since it began releasing songs in 1993. Radiohead, though renowned around the world and particularly in the United States, is originally from Oxfordshire, England. Specifically, Yorke was born in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire in 1968, and then his family settled in Oxfordshire in 1978, where he would later meet his future bandmates. Radiohead has now sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Their most recent album release was in 2011; this was their eighth studio album. They are reportedly at work on a ninth album. In addition, Thom Yorke has been building a solo career since his first solo release in 2006. His second solo album was released in 2014, entitled Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

First Broadway Revival of Classic Pinter Playold times

Old Times premiered on Broadway in 1971, at the time being the fifth production of a Pinter play on Broadway. The 2015 revival will be the second time the show has been on Broadway. Its original premiere was at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End in June 1971, and the Broadway production followed later than year in November. A recent London revival took place in 2013 at the recently renamed Harold Pinter Theatre (formerly the Comedy Theatre), directed by Ian Rickson and starring Rufus Sewell, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Lia Williams. This Broadway revival, on the other hand, will be directed by Douglas Hodge, and will star Clive Owen in his Broadway debut, along with Eve Best and Kelly Reilly. The play deals with the concepts of identity, adultery, and honesty. It can be interpreted in various ways, one of which is that all three individuals are different people, and the other is that the two women are interchangeable. In fact, in the recent London revival, the two actresses switches roles on various nights, having prepared to play both roles. Though this will not be the case in the Broadway production, it sheds some light into the fascinating ways in which this play can be viewed.

An Increasingly Versatile Move for Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke is well known for pushing frontiers in his musical styles, and recently he has also diversified the ways in which his music is released. For his recent 2014 solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, he opted to release the songs via BitTorrent, rather than through the traditional outlets. He then performed tracks from the album at a secret performance at this year’s Latitude Festival. Now, in additional to taking to the digital, Yorke is taking to arguably the most traditional performance art form: theatre. While he has a great deal of experience performing on stages from pubs to stadiums, he will now allow his music to be played on the theatrical stage for the first time.

Colbert Late Show To Do Battle With Fallon’s Tonight Show

Both Air in Same Time Slot: Weeknights at 11:30pm

jimmy fallon stephen colbertWith Stephen Colbert having taken over David Letterman’s longtime tenure as host of the Late Show on CBS, he is now is the same time slot as one of his colleagues and competitors: Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on NBC. Whereas David Letterman traditionally catered to an older demographic than Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert stepping into the Late Show shoes mean that he and Jimmy Fallon are now competing for the same younger demographic. Though Colbert is 51, which is significantly older than Fallon at age 40, he generally caters to the same younger demographic, at least to a younger demographic than Letterman did in his time. This is the first time that the two late night shows are very different in both style and content; whereas Colbert presents a funny look at serious subject matter, Fallon has taken his show more to irreverent interviews along with hilarious Saturday Night Live style sketches. Though there are no clear ratings comparisons at this time, as Colbert has only just begun his new tenure, it is clear that the competition will be fierce and the networks will need to consider the matter from a different angle than they are used to. The format of the traditional late night hosts such as David Letterman and Jay Leno now seems so long ago, and we have entered a new era of late night television

The Battle for Viral Videos as Much as Traditional Ratingsjimmy fallon stephen colbert

When Stephen Colbert led his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, 43 percent of his regular audience was under age 30 (according to a survey by Pew). However, in having abandoned his conservation character Stephen Colbert from The Colbert Report, he will need to work to hold onto his younger fan base. On the other hand, he has a much stronger hold on that demographic than his predecessor, David Letterman. Both Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon are renowned not only for captivating audiences in their traditional television time slots, but also for cultivating a strong following from people watching recap videos online, on sites such as youtube as well as the networks’ own websites. Therefore, the battle between Colbert and Fallon to captivate viewers will not only depend on the simultaneity of their television airings, but also on their ability to retain viewership on the viral video channels. When Fallon got his start in 2009, he significantly lowered the average age for late night viewers as a whole, and a great part of his strategy was focusing on viral videos. To this point, Colbert has already begun to capitalize on that strategy as well, through creating a podcast and website in anticipation of the launch of his reign on the Late Show, and by launching memorable moments such as shaving his “Colbeard” that he grew during his time off from appearing on television.

The Implications for Advertiser Revenue

As of now, there is a $100 million advertising gap between Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on NBC and the Late Show on CBS. In taking over from David Letterman, Stephen Colbert has his work cut out for him in terms of closing that gap. In 2014, of the $412.1 million that advertisers spent on the 11:30pm timeslot on the networks CBS, NBC, and ABC, Jimmy Fallon’s show snagged 47.6 percent of that, at $196.3 million. Furthermore, that number increased throughout the four quarters of 2014, with Fallon earning 46.4 percent in the 2nd quarter, 51.5 percent in the 3rd quarter, and the finishing out the year with 55 percent in the final quarter. On the other hand, David Letterman’s numbers decreased each quarter, culminating in just 22.5 percent in the final quarter of 2014. Of course, these numbers do not take into account the viral video viewership. Nevertheless, Stephen Colbert will need to work hard to cultivate viewership that will warrant competitive advertising revenue for the network, which from a business perspective, is exactly what he was hired to do.