Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/22/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

New Top Earning Shows: “The Audience” and “Fish in the Dark”

In the week ending February 22, 2015, two shows that have recently begun previews performed excellently at the box office. The Audience, which stars Helen Mirren in the role of Queen Elizabeth II, for which she won an Academy Award for also portraying in the film The Queen, brought in an impressive $1,048,473 this past week. Furthermore, it accomplished this feat in a week of only 7 performances. The previous week, it began previews but played only two performances; even then the figures seemed extremely promising. Still, this past week has proven that this show is a surefire hit with audiences, who are lining up to see this brilliant performance in the flesh. In addition, Larry David’s play Fish in the Dark, which David wrote and also performs in, brought in a weekly gross of $1,177,593. This is the first week in which the play had eight performances, and therefore it increased its weekly gross by $161,950. In the first two weeks of seven performances each, the play also performed very well at the box office, but now it has reached new heights. In any event, this proves that Larry David is a very exciting name on Broadway, and that audience members are thrilled to see him and his work.

An Overall Mixed Week on Broadway

This past week, about half of the running shows demonstrated an increase in sales, whereas the other half showed a decrease in sales. Across the board, there was therefore mixed movement on Broadway this week. Whereas The Lion King saw an increase of $214,415, bringing in a weekly gross of $1,940,457, the other usual mega hit Wicked barely increased at all, going up only $59,939 for a weekly gross of $1,646,631. On the other hand, another big earner, The Book of Mormon, saw a decrease of $99,705, bringing its weekly gross to $1,548,797. Other musicals that saw a decline in ticket sales were Honeymoon in Vegas, which is struggling to compete with a weekly gross of $799,136, representing 78.45% of its gross capacity. In addition, Cabaret declined by $154,143, bringing in a gross of only $337,003. It is doubtful how long that musical revival will last in such a competitive environment, especially as the new spring season is just gearing up. Surprisingly, the three shows that concluded performances in this past week all saw a decrease in sales. The Elephant Man, which ended performances on Saturday, February 21, 2015, went down by $90,713 for a final weekly gross of $1,022,479. That decline, however, is due to the fact that the week only included seven performances, so that Bradley Cooper could attend the Oscars. Furthermore, A Delicate Balance and You Can’t Take It With You, which both concluded their runs on Sunday, February 22, 2015, saw a decrease in sales in their final week.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 22, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-2-22-15-1

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $432,887 4,327 67.44% $100.04
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $635,905 6,442 88.78% $98.71
ALADDIN $1,546,267 13,785 100.01% $112.17
BEAUTIFUL $1,076,794 7,860 95.76% $137.00
CABARET $799,136 6,616 92.61% $120.79
CHICAGO $547,833 6,401 74.09% $85.59
CONSTELLATIONS $600,043 5,159 99.21% $116.31
DISGRACED $333,065 4,586 62.45% $72.63
FISH IN THE DARK $1,177,593 8,720 101.58% $135.05
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $541,166 5,403 76.65% $100.16
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $337,003 4,476 47.66% $75.29
IF/THEN $603,920 7,788 74.26% $77.54
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $499,442 5,216 60.54% $95.75
JERSEY BOYS $734,939 7,709 78.47% $95.34
KINKY BOOTS $939,884 9,392 82.44% $100.07
LES MISÉRABLES $710,992 8,819 78.24% $80.62
MAMMA MIA! $578,257 7,157 76.73% $80.80
MATILDA $1,037,118 11,482 100.23% $90.33
ON THE TOWN $536,545 7,760 51.76% $69.14
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $293,584 4,233 97.71% $69.36
THE AUDIENCE $1,048,473 7,411 99.04% $141.48
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,548,797 8,745 102.54% $177.11
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $791,055 7,648 93.91% $103.43
THE ELEPHANT MAN $1,022,479 5,548 102.40% $184.30
THE LION KING $1,940,457 13,569 99.77% $143.01
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $829,721 10,114 78.77% $82.04
WICKED $1,646,631 14,771 96.52% $111.48
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $403,767 5,574 64.93% $72.44
Total $23,193,752 216,711 83.73% $104.57

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

“A Delicate Balance” Plays Its Final Performance

A Wildly Successful Beginning, Tapering Out

a delicate balanceWhen Glenn Close and John Lithgow began performances in this season’s revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance on October 20, 2014, ticketbuyers sprinted to the box office. When the show opened on November 20, 2014, critics were generally laudatory of the marvelous rendition directed by Pam MacKinnon, arguably the greatest contemporary interpreter of the works of Edward Albee. As such, in the first week of previews, the show brought in $884,596, which represented 102.25% of its gross potential. However, it never made it past the 100% mark in any other week. The next three weeks were also excellent, with the box office reaching in the high 90s of percentage of gross potential, and 100% of audience capacity. Soon, however, sales began to taper off slightly. Between November 18, 2014 and December 14, 2014, the show was still between 88% and 99% of audience capacity; however, percentage of gross potential was slightly lower, between 83% and 94% of the full potential. This shows that the production began to offer a limited number of discounted tickets. Most recently, as the run nears its end, the production has brought in sales in the low 50s of percentage of gross potential. The show plays its last performance on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

An Excellent Production, but a Competitive Seasona delicate balance

It is not clear exactly why the show began with such a strong start, but then lost steam as it continued to play throughout the run. Most likely, the show reached its saturation point with individuals who were particularly excited about Albee, or Glenn Close, or John Lithgow, or the play in particular. After many other shows began performances, some exciting musicals or other plays with big stars in the lead, there just weren’t enough audience members to sustain the packed houses as the winter season kicked in. The two plays that did manage to survive the cold season were It’s Only a Play starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper. However, most other shows remained in the midrange of ticket sales, competing with the regular favorites and mega musicals. In any case, this production can consider itself a success, whether or not it enters profits for its producers (the recoupment information has not been made public). It is an achievement merely to mount such a great dramatic work on Broadway and attract enough audience interest to maintain a fairly healthy commercial run.

“You Can’t Take It With You” Closes

Final Performance Sunday, February 22nd

you can't take it with youOn Sunday, February 22, 2015, You Can’t Take It With You will play its final performance at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. It began previews on August 26, 2014, and the official opening night took place on September 28, 2014. This comedic revival is directed by Scott Ellis, who also helmed The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper, which wraps up performances the day before. The play was written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, and original music was written for this production by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County). The play starred James Earl Jones as the patriarch, Grandpa Martin Vanderhof. Furthermore, Rose Byrne starred alongside him, making her Broadway debut. Additional roles were played by Fran Kranz (Death of a Salesman), Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots), and Byron Jennings (Arcadia). This comedy, originally written in 1936, takes place during the Great Depression. It is also a timely revival for the New York theatre scene, as last season Lincoln Center put on a play called Act One, which dealt with the life and collaborative partnership of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.

Critical Praise, and Commercial Survivaljames earl jones

Upon its opening night on September 28, 2014, critics were generally pleased with You Can’t Take It With You. Ben Brantley from The New York Times said that the only problem might be the pain in your cheeks after smiling for two and a half hours straight. Robert Kahn of NBC New York praised the performances of James Earl Jones, as well as Rose Byrne who is known for her performances in TV’s Damages as well as the film Bridesmaids. David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter enjoyed the play’s escapist pleasure, emphasizing a life well lived rather than one marked by success. On the other hand, Mark Kennedy from the Associated Press did not enjoy the references from the Great Depression, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and the 48 States. Unfortunately, the concept of a farcical Broadway “laughfest” has died down since the 30s, and a comedy that was once thought hilarious may now come off as a glorified television sitcom. Nevertheless, this Pulitzer Prize winning play from 1937 managed to charm critics and audiences alike in 2015, which is no small achievement.

A Difficult Sell at the Box Office

Despite the overall laudatory response from reviewers, the box office was a tough sell for this play revival in light of the highly competitive season. The show’s highest weekly gross took place in the week ending October 19, 2014, when it brought in $680,921, which represented 87.4% of its gross potential. Still, it mostly hovered around the $400,000 to $500,000 marks, with the lowest weekly gross of $334,244, which took place just recently in the week ending February 8, 2015. Though the play has notable stars such as the esteemed James Earl Jones, the cutthroat competition proved a bit too much to allow this play to be a real hit on Broadway.

“The Elephant Man” Concludes Its Run

A Broadway Success, Closing One Day Early

elephant manOn Saturday, February 21, 2015, The Elephant Man plays its final Broadway performance. It has been running at the Booth Theatre since it began previews on November 7, 2014, and opening night took place on December 7, 2014. This revival of the 1977 play by Bernard Pomerance was directed by Scott Ellis, and has received rave reviews and excellent box office performance. The production was originally scheduled to conclude one day later, on Sunday, February 22, 2015; Sunday is a common closing night for Broadway shows. However, this particular Sunday also happens to be the Academy Awards, of which the star of The Elephant Man – Bradley Cooper – was nominated for two for the biographical war film American Sniper. Not only is this the third consecutive year in which Cooper has received an Academy Award acting nomination (the previous two were for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), but this is the first time he is also being honored with the nomination for Best Picture, as he is also a producer on American Sniper. This was therefore a good enough reason for The Elephant Man to cancel their final planned performance, allowing Cooper to travel to Los Angeles for the Academy Awards. This is the second instance in which Cooper cancelled performances for an awards ceremony; the first was for the DGA Awards on February 7-8, 2015.

Next Up: London’s West Endelephant man

Following the huge critical and commercial success of the Broadway run, The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper in the lead role will arrive at London’s West End this spring. It will begin performances at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on May 19, 2015, and is scheduled to run until August 8, 2015. It will be a transfer production also directed by Scott Ellis, and Bradley Cooper’s co-stars Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola will join the London run as well. This will actually be the third time that these four individuals will have collaborated on this piece; the first instance was at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in summer 2012. It is remarkable that Cooper has the stamina to continue to play this physically demanding role, in which he transforms into a deformed man based off a real-life figure named John Merrick. Cooper portrays Merrick, as the play has been traditionally done, without means of any stage makeup, but rather by means of physicality alone. It is therefore testament to Cooper’s true acting chops to be able to maintain this role in a third incarnation, which not all actors known for their film successes would be able to do.

Excellent Box Office Sales

In the last week of reported sales, the week ending February 15, 2015, The Elephant Man brought in an impressive gross of $1,113,192. This was the sixth highest grossing show that week, and by far the highest grossing straight play. It was only beat out by musicals, specifically The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Aladdin, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. This eight performance week followed a six performance week in which Cooper took off two shows to attend the DGA awards, causing the production to cancel those performances. Therefore, there is intense demand for this show as it nears its closing performance. After all, it will be a bit more difficult for New York theatregoers to catch the show in London.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/15/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Two New Shows: “The Audience” and “On The Twentieth Century”

In the week ending February 15, 2015, two new shows began previews on Broadway. The first, On the Twentieth Century, began performances on February 13, 2015, and played four times in this first week. Starring Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher, this musical revival with book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and a score by Cy Coleman, is produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company at their American Airlines Theatre. In the first four performances, it had mediocre box office performance, bringing in $228,661 which represents 56.95% of the show’s gross potential that week. With an average paid admission of $80.04, the show filled up 96.5% of the seats, which shows a fair amount of discounting. The next night, The Audience began performances on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2015, at the Gerald Scheonfeld Theatre. Starring Helen Mirren in the role of Queen Elizabeth II, whom she won an Academy Award for portraying in the film The Queen also written by Peter Morgan, brought in a huge audience and box office response. In the first two previews, the show brought in $331,101, which is 111.21% of the gross potential. With a top ticket price of $293.00, and an average paid admission of $153.22, the show had standing room only with no discounting whatsoever. This is testament to the popularity of Helen Mirren, especially in this acclaimed role, along with excellent producing by the Brits who brought the show over the Atlantic.

An Overall Excellent Week of Box Office Sales

Of the 28 shows that had performances in the week ending February 15, 2015, all but one experienced an increase in box office from the week before. That show, Constellations, saw a decrease in sales of $39,530, bringing in a weekly gross of $491,055, which is not too bad at a gross potential of 71.75%. As for the rest of Broadway, every single show increased in ticket sales. One major reason may be that this week included Valentine’s Day, which was conveniently on a Saturday night. Not only is Broadway an excellent idea for date night, but the weekend positioning opened up the opportunity for Valentine’s associated dates to take place in five separate performance slots. The top earning shows were, as expected, The Lion King with a gross of $1,726,042, The Book of Mormon with a gross of $1,648,502, Wicked with a gross of $1,586,692, Aladdin with a gross of $1,489,612, and Beautiful which brought in $1,132,369. Excellent sales were also seen by The Elephant Man starring Bradley Cooper, with a weekly gross of $1,113,192. That show is one week from closing, and has also been offering less than full performance weeks due to Cooper’s schedule (last week they only played six), causing intense demand for this show during its limited engagement.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 15, 2015:Broadway show ticket sales analysis week ending 2/15/15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $491,763 4,799 74.80% $102.47
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $642,010 5,769 78.98% $111.29
ALADDIN $1,489,612 13,770 99.90% $108.18
BEAUTIFUL $1,132,369 7,548 91.96% $150.02
CABARET $975,224 7,178 100.48% $135.86
CHICAGO $593,437 6,884 79.68% $86.21
CONSTELLATIONS $491,055 5,173 99.48% $94.93
DISGRACED $351,175 4,647 63.28% $75.57
FISH IN THE DARK $1,015,643 7,630 101.58% $133.11
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $635,303 5,656 80.24% $112.32
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $491,146 6,092 64.86% $80.62
IF/THEN $687,134 8,669 82.66% $79.26
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $541,427 5,715 66.33% $94.74
JERSEY BOYS $679,472 6,569 66.87% $103.44
KINKY BOOTS $1,012,786 9,370 82.25% $108.09
LES MISÉRABLES $669,499 7,610 67.51% $87.98
MAMMA MIA! $562,438 6,921 74.20% $81.27
MATILDA $945,588 9,976 87.08% $94.79
ON THE TOWN $552,450 7,385 49.26% $74.81
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $228,661 2,857 96.52% $80.04
THE AUDIENCE $331,101 2,161 101.08% $153.22
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,648,502 8,749 102.59% $188.42
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $767,648 7,014 86.12% $109.45
THE ELEPHANT MAN $1,113,192 6,300 101.74% $176.70
THE LION KING $1,726,042 13,447 98.88% $128.36
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $721,008 8,056 62.74% $89.50
WICKED $1,586,692 12,583 86.95% $126.10
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $412,057 5,167 60.19% $79.75
Totals $22,494,432 203,695 82.44% $108.80

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

Jon Stewart to Leave “The Daily Show”

Growing Restless, and Ready to Move On

Jon-StewartOn the Tuesday, February 10, 2015 episode of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart announced that he would be retiring from the position of host that he has held for the past 17 years. His contract with the network is up in September, but he explained that he may leave before that, as early as July, or after that, as late as December. In any case, he will not stick around for the notorious Daily Show election coverage in the 2016 election, entitled Indecision 2016. Not long after he took the mantle on January 11, 1999, Stewart made a huge name for himself through covering the 2000 election, when the concept of Indecision election coverage began. Since that time, he has defined himself as the go-to liberal correspondent, even if he is often considered a mock host, rather than a real host. In any event, he undeniably blurred the line between “real” news and “comedy” news in this era of increasing political cynicism and declining idealism. His decision to depart stemmed from a sense of growing “restless”; he said that America deserves better than even a somewhat restless host of The Daily Show. The only plans he specified was to spend more time with his family – specifically, to eat dinner with them on a school night, which is something he has not been able to do throughout his career.

What the Future Holds – for Stewart, and for the Daily Showjon stewart

Stewart did not make clear what his specific future plans are, although they could range from Hollywood directing to entering the realm of actual politics in Washington. He made his foray into film writing and directing last year with the only semi-successful Rosewater, for which he took a hiatus from hosting The Daily Show for three months. The film is not his usual comedic style; it is based on a memoir written by Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari involving his imprisonment in 2009. Whether or not this indicates that Stewart intends to pursue more directing opportunities, it does hark to a new effort to express his interest in current affairs through a lens other than his particular brand of comedy. All along, he has clearly cared about the issues he covered. His popularity stemmed from the fact that he was not mocking for the sake of mocking, but rather because he was not afraid to take a stance on issues of clearly marked importance for him and his staff. Certain online outlets have even been tossing around the idea of Stewart running alongside Hillary Clinton as Vice Presidential candidate in 2016, although he has not mentioned anything himself to this end. As for The Daily Show, it will continue on with a new host. Stewart has managed not only to position himself as a force to be reckoned with among the late-night competition, on a basic cable station no less, but he has also been able to build a legacy that will continue on without him, however difficult that is to imagine at the present moment.

Who Might Succeed the Legendary Jon Stewart?

It is too early to know for sure what direction Comedy Central intends to take The Daily Show in the absence of Jon Stewart, but a few likely contenders stand out from the rest. The main question is whether the producers will hope to keep The Daily Show in a similar tone and style to the past 17 years, or whether they will try to reinvent it with a completely different personality. In any event, one obvious choice would be John Oliver, who presently hosts his own HBO show Last Week Tonight that is very similar in tone to The Daily Show. However, he may be lured back to Comedy Central, as indicated by the fact that Oliver took over from Stewart for two months while he filmed Rosewater. Another idea is Aasif Mandvi, a Daily Show insider who would continue the show in a similar vein. Another in-house idea is Jessica Williams, who the film Hot Tub Time Machine 2 predicts will host in the year 2025, and who would set a precedent for a female, African American host. Another female candidate is Amy Poehler, who recently completed her run on Parks and Recreation, or perhaps Amy Schumer or Sarah Silverman. An outside-the-box individual would be Joel McHale, who might not be as inherently political. Two other comedians who might be considered are Patton Oswalt and Ricky Gervais.

 

“The Audience” Begins Previews

Helen Mirren Stars as Queen Elizabeth II

the audienceOn Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2015, The Audience began previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The play, written by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry, premiered in the West End’s Gielgud Theatre almost exactly two years ago. It was a huge success, winning several awards including the Olivier Award for Best Actress for Helen Mirren. In June 2013, the production participated in the National Theatre’s NT Live programme, in which it was broadcast live to cinemas around the world. This broadcast broke records, bringing 80,000 viewers in the UK and another 30,000 in North America. The success of this production convinced the producers, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert Fox, and Andy Harries, to mount it on Broadway, with the same director and several original cast members, including Helen Mirren (Queen Elizabeth II), Geoffrey Beevers (the Queen’s equerry), Michael Elwyn (Anthony Eden), Richard McCabe (Harold Wilson), and Rufus Wright (David Cameron). The play is scheduled for a limited engagement to run until June 28, 2015, with opening night taking place on March 8, 2015.

“The Queen,” and the Story of “The Audience”helen mirren

This production marks the second time writer Peter Morgan and actress Helen Mirren have collaborated on a work surrounding the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Released in 2006, Morgan wrote the screenplay for a film entitled The Queen directed by Stephen Frears, in which Mirren also starred as Queen Elizabeth II. For this performance, Mirren won both the Academy and BAFTA Awards for Best Actress. This is following her success as the title character in the television series Elizabeth I, for which she earned both the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for her performance. The enormous success of the stage version The Audience has led not only to this Broadway transfer, but in addition a West End revival starring Kristin Scott Thomas at the Apollo Theatre, just two years after the West End premiere, to run concurrently with the Broadway production. The Audience refers to the weekly meetings the Queen was said to have with all former prime ministers from the start of her reign in 1952. The cast therefore includes actors portraying John Major, Gordon Brown, Harold Wilson, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, and Jim Callaghan. The play is a fictional portrayal of these meetings, with each prime minister confessing their deepest thoughts and feelings to the queen in private conversation.

Cast and Creative Team

In addition to Helen Mirren, as well as original cast members Geoffrey Beevers, Michael Elwyn, Richard McCabe, and Rufus Wright, the show will feature Dylan Baker as John Major, Judith Ivey as Margaret Thatcher, Anthony Cochrane as Cecil Beaton, Dakin Matthews as Winston Churchill, Rod McLachlan as Gordon Brown, and Elizabeth Teeter as Young Elizabeth. The scenic design is done by six-time Tony winner Bob Crowley, and the lighting design is by Rick Fisher, a two-time Tony winner. Furthermore, sound is by Tony winner Paul Arditti, and Paul Englishby did the music. The producers, Matthew Byam Shaw of Playful Productions, Robert Fox, and Andy Harries, also produced the original West End run.

“On the Twentieth Century” Begins Previews

A Roundabout Production at the American Airlines Theatre

on the twentieth centuryOn February 13, 2015, On the Twentieth Century begins previews at the American Airlines Theatre. Produced by the non-for-profit Broadway and Off-Broadway powerhouse Roundabout Theatre Company, this revival marks the third Broadway production of the musical. With book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Cy Coleman, it first premiered in 1978, directed by Harold Prince. The 2015 revival is directed by Scott Ellis, who has recently helmed such works as The Elephant Man, You Can’t Take It With You, Harvey, Curtains, and The Little Dog Laughed. He is also the Roundabout Adams Associate Artistic Director, and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. Opening night is scheduled for March 12, 2015, and it is scheduled to be a limited engagement that closes on July 5, 2015. If it is successful, it may extend through the end of summer.

Cast and Creative Team

The musical stars Kristin Chenoweth, who is well known for being the original Glinda in Wicked (Tony kristin chenowethnomination), has won a Tony Award for her performance of Sally Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and who has also branched into television with such shows as The West Wing and Pushing Daisies. Alongside Chenoweth will be Peter Gallagher (The Country Girl, Noises Off, “the O.C.”, “American Beauty”), Andy Karl (Rocky Balboa in Rocky the Musical), Mark Linn-Baker (Relatively Speaking, Losing Louie), Michael McGrath (Tony Award winner for Nice Work if You Can Get It), and Mary Louise Wilson (The Women, Cabaret, The Importance of Being Earnest). The choreographer is Warren Carlyle, who won a Tony Award for his choreography for After Midnight, which he also directed). Scenic design is by David Rockwell, lighting is by Donald Holder, sound design is by Jon Weston, and costume design is by William Ivey Long. The musical director is Kevin Stites, and orchestrations are by Larry Hochman, with dance arrangements and incidental music by David Krane.

The Twentieth Century: A Luxury Train

 

peter gallagher kristin chenoweth

The musical’s title refers to being aboard a luxury train called the Twentieth Century, which is traveling from Chicago to New York. The business aboard the train is, not coincidentally, the theatre business. A temperamental actress named Lily Garland (Kristin Chenoweth) is at odds with her flailing producer named Oscar Jaffee (Peter Gallagher). He is at once trying to woo her romantically, and at the same time to play the lead part in his upcoming show, which has not yet been written. The musical is a screwball comedy, with elements of farce as well as operetta. The musical is based on a straight play of the same name from 1932, written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, which was turned into a film in 1934 called Twentieth Century directed by Howard Hawks. To complicate the matter, Hecht and MacArthur based their play on an unproduced work by Charles Bruce Millholland called Napoleon of Broadway, which is based on his real life experiences with the legendary producer David Belasco, who left his name to the theatre on 44th Street, where Hedwig and the Angry Inch is now playing.

 

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 2/8/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“Fish in the Dark” Strong Out of the Gates

On February 2, 2015, Larry David’s Fish in the Dark began previews at the Cort Theatre. In its first week of seven performances, it fared brilliantly at the box office. As previously reported, this play broke advance box office records due to the notoriety of its writer and star, Larry David, who rose to fame principally through the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm as well as through co-creating Seinfeld. In the week ending February 8, 2015, the show brought in a weekly gross of $993,940, which is especially not bad given that was with only seven performances. It made 113.39% of its gross potential, with an average paid admission of $130.95 and a top ticket price of $423.00. Miraculously, it had the fifth highest gross this week on Broadway, following only the mega hit musicals The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, and Aladdin. Once again, that was with one fewer performance that week than the other shows.

“If/Then” Struggling Following Week-Long Hiatus

Idina Menzel, the star of the presently running musical If/Then, took a weeklong hiatus from performing in that show in order to travel to Phoenix, Arizona to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015. Without her, the producers felt it best to cancel performances for that entire week, rather than bring in an understudy. Menzel’s fame is clearly soaring, due in large part to her recent success playing the lead part and singing the hit song “Let It Go” from the Disney animated film Frozen, as well as John Travolta’s heavily referenced flub of her name, calling her Adele Dazeem. It is for this reason she was asked to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. However, If/Then isn’t doing quite as well. It’s clear that without Menzel at center stage, this musical would be faring even less well. Still, in the first week back after this week-long hiatus, the musical brought in $563,156, which was only 43.65% of its gross potential. With an average paid ticket price of $76.71, the show is clearly doing a lot of discounting. Still, it only managed to reach an average capacity of 70.0%.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending February 8, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-2-8-15

 

Show Name GrossGross Total Attn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A DELICATE BALANCE $456,872 4,427 69.00% $103.20
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $584,938 5,838 80.46% $100.19
ALADDIN $1,203,871 13,090 94.97% $91.97
BEAUTIFUL $966,461 7,330 89.30% $131.85
CABARET $932,882 7,016 98.21% $132.96
CHICAGO $447,331 5,903 68.32% $75.78
CONSTELLATIONS $530,585 5,132 98.69% $103.39
DISGRACED $333,741 4,633 63.09% $72.04
FISH IN THE DARK $993,940 7,590 101.05% $130.95
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $473,945 4,507 74.59% $105.16
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS $359,163 4,849 51.63% $74.07
IF/THEN $563,156 7,341 69.99% $76.71
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $474,936 5,633 65.38% $84.31
JERSEY BOYS $616,604 6,870 69.93% $89.75
KINKY BOOTS $819,594 8,385 73.60% $97.75
LES MISÉRABLES $511,848 6,773 60.09% $75.57
MAMMA MIA! $362,236 5,157 55.29% $70.24
MATILDA $692,151 9,328 81.42% $74.20
ON THE TOWN $379,914 5,420 36.15% $70.09
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,455,237 8,715 102.19% $166.98
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME $738,815 7,130 87.55% $103.62
THE ELEPHANT MAN $721,450 4,651 100.15% $155.12
THE LION KING $1,463,314 13,180 96.91% $111.03
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $583,683 7,818 60.89% $74.66
THE RIVER $503,377 5,703 102.42% $88.27
WICKED $1,262,017 12,266 84.76% $102.89
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $334,244 4,507 52.50% $74.16
Totals $18,766,304 189,192 77.35% $97.66

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

“Saturday Night Live” 40th Anniversary Special

saturday night liveA Star-Studded Three Hour Event

On February 15, 2015, NBC’s Saturday Night Live will air a three hour 40th anniversary special to celebrate four decades on television. The actual premiere of the late-night sketch comedy and variety show took place on October 11, 1975. Though this anniversary celebration may be eight months early, this special event is sure to attract a lot of attention due to its star-studded excitement. The occasion will welcome many previous cast members of SNL, along with past guests, who will be joining the present cast members and a slew of exciting live performances. The last time a big anniversary was celebrated on the show was 1999, when the twenty-fifth was honored. Compared to that special, executive producer Lorne Michaels said that this fortieth anniversary would feature more live performances in comparison to pre-taped bits. He also mentioned that every host and cast member from history was invited, and that he doesn’t expect all of them to come. However, when a positive RSVP was received from any of them, that’s when their team began writing sketches surrounding their involvement. In any event, this show is certainly something special, as it has been presided over by the same individual, Lorne Michaels, since it first began 40 years ago. That has allowed the brand to grow into one of the most highly regarded comedy shows today.

A Brief SNL Historysaturday night live

The origins of Saturday Night Live date back to 1975. At that time, NBC had been filling the Saturday night timeslot with reruns of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. However, Carson requested that the network remove these episodes from the weekend so that they could be saved for occasional weekday fillers, when Carson wanted to take a night off. Therefore, NBC was tasked with finding a new show to fill this crucial time period, and Lorne Michaels was approached. The NBC president at the time Herbert Schlosser tasked his VP of late night programming Dick Ebersol with filling the slot. Thus Saturday Night Live was born, although it didn’t get that name until 1977, as the name was already in use by a show on ABC. Fortunately, the spectacular success of this comedic romp gave NBC the incentive to purchase the rights to this name. Early on, the show adopted the famous tagline, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

Cast Members, Hosts, and Returning Guests

This year, the fortieth season of Saturday Night Live, includes a number of repertory players as well as featured players who will likely go on to lead successful comedy careers, as many SNL players have done in the past. Current cast members include Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharaoh, Cecily Strong, and Kenan Thompson. Each episode is hosted by a different individual; this season, hosts have included Chris Pratt, Sarah Silverman, Bill Hader, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Woody Harrelson, Cameron Diaz, James Franco, Martin Freeman, Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Blake Shelton, and J.K. Simmons. As for the past cast members and hosts who will be joining the 3-hour fortieth anniversary special, that waits to be seen. However, some names have been leaked. One interesting individual who will be showing his face on the special is Eddie Murphy, who made a point of never appearing on the show since he left in 1984. This opens up the possibility that any number of surprise guests may be making an appearance, and the special will certainly be an exciting one indeed.