“It’s Only A Play” Begins Performances on Broadway

An All-Star Cast

it's only a playNathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are back at it again.  The hilarious team behind The Producers has reunited for Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play, which began previews on August 28, 2014 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.  Directed by Jack O’Brien (The Nance, The Coast of Utopia), the play will officially open on October 9, 2014, and is slated to run for a limited engagement until January 4, 2015.  The play premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982, and then Off-Broadway in 1986 produced by Manhattan Theatre Club; this is the play’s Broadway premiere.  Not only does the cast feature The Producers dream team Broderick and Lane, but it also includes Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, Emmy and Tony Award winner Stockard Channing, Harry Potter film star Rupert Grint making his Broadway debut, Emmy Award winner Megan Mulally, and a newcomer named Micah Stock.  This all-star cast is sure to make a huge splash in this upcoming Broadway fall season.

Already a Financial Success

In fact, the box office is already showing a lot of promise.  In the first week of only 5 performances, the show grossed a total of it's only a play cast$793,046, which is 112.45% of its gross potential.  With a top ticket price of $225, the average ticket was a remarkable $146.81.  This is especially impressive given that the play has not yet been reviewed, nor has it appeared on Broadway before.  However, Terrence McNally is a tried and true playwright on Broadway, whose experience underscores the quality of this production perhaps even more than the starry cast.  He has had a total of 21 productions on Broadway, beginning in the year 1963 with his adaptation of The Lady of the Camellias.  The first play he wrote that was produced on Broadway was And Things That Go Bump In the Night in 1965, and some of his other writing credits include the epic musical Ragtime, last season’s Mothers and Sons starring Tyne Daly, Master Class also starring Tyne Daly, the book for the stage adaptation of Catch Me If You Can, the book for the musical The Full Monty, the book for Kiss of the Spider Woman, as well as Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Rink, Deuce and many more.

A Backstage Drama

This script promises to be one of McNally’s best.  The cast list alone implies that the play is top-notch, as such as stellar list of actors responding positively to the material cannot be a coincidence.  According to a statement by McNally, the play was cast in less than two days, as the actors responded with an immediate yes.  The only exception was Rupert Grint, as he was on location filming a movie where there was no wireless internet, but he responded positively within four days.  Also, the play is reported to have undergone significant revision since its Off-Broadway production in the 1980s.  The story involves a backstage drama in a metatheatrical fashion.  Matthew Broderick plays a playwright named Peter Austin, and the show takes place on opening night of a production of one of his plays.  As he nervously awaits a response from audience and critics, he interacts with a television star played by Nathan Lane, his early-career producer played by Megan Mullally, the star of the play (Stockard Channing), the young director (Rupert Grint), a scary critic (F. Murray Abraham), and a coat check boy (Micah Stock).

“You Can’t Take It With You” Begins Previews

A Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman Collaboration

you can't take it with youOn August 26, 2014, You Can’t Take It With You began previews at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre.  It will have its official opening on September 28, 2014, and is presently scheduled to run for a limited engagement until January 4, 2015.  Written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman in 1936, You Can’t Take It With You is a comedic play in three acts.  Upon its premiere, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1937.  Furthermore, a successful 1938 film adaptation directed by Frank Capra won the Academy Awards for Best Picture as well as Best Director.  A revival of the play was mounted in 1983; this will be the play’s second revival.  Directed by Scott Ellis (Twelve Angry Men, The Mystery of Edwin Drood), the show will star James Earl Jones (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Fences) as Martin Vanderhof, along with Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, “Charmed”) making her Broadway debut in the role of Alice.  Further cast members include Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots), Elizabeth Ashley (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), and Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike).

In the Season Following “Act One”

This production will also feature original music written by Jason Robert Brown, a well-known composer for Parade, The Last Five Years, and The Bridges of Madison County.  It is produced by Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, who first announced the production in 2010, but it was postponed several times until this fall.  Fortunately, the decided production dates are timely, as last season Lincoln Center debuted a play called Act One written and directed by James Lapine, which dealt with the long collaborative relationship between Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.  In that production, Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) played George S. Kaufman as well as Moss Hart as an older man.  Santino Fontano (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella) played Moss Hart as a younger man.  That show will have whet the appetite of many audience members who are now eager to see a production of work by that great collaborative duo.  Now they will have a chance.

A Wacky Family Headed by James Earl Jones

The story of You Can’t Take It With You involves a wacky family called the Sycamores.  James Earl Jones plays the patriarch Grandpa james earl jonesVanderhof, and the rest of the family includes those who collect snakes, consider themselves revolutionaries, dance ballet, and build skyrockets.  The play takes place as the youngest daughter Alice (played by Rose Byrne) brings her fiancé (played by Fran Kranz, recently seen on Broadway in Death of a Salesman) and his parents over to meet her family, and hilarity incurs.  The play features a large cast, which will make its financial success difficult to achieve, but fortunately it features such a great team that it may very well succeed.  As for the non-human members of the cast, the producers have just announced that they have partnered with the Humane Society of New York to adopt the kittens that are used in the show.  As the kittens outgrow their roles, the production will help ensure that they find a happy family to adopt them.

“Frozen” Stage Musical Adaptation Confirmed in Development

The Next Logical Step

frozenDisney’s 2013 hit animated film Frozen will one day become a Broadway musical.  Though no timeline has been announced, the producer of the film has confirmed that they are in early development talks to adapt the make the stage musical, produced by Disney’s theatrical unit under the leadership of Thomas Schumacher.  This is the next logical step for the film, which won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as Best Original Song for the tune “Let It Go.”  With songs written by Broadway favorite Bobby Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q) in collaboration with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the show should be easily convertible into a stage musical format, with such experienced Broadway personnel on its team.

In Early Stages, but Marketing Has Already Begun

The film was written by Jennifer Lee (screenwriter for Wreck-it-Ralph) and co-directed by Lee and Chris Buck (Tarzan).  The film’s producer Peter Del Vecho revealed definite plans for the stage musical in an interview with TVGuide.com.  Shortly before the Academy Awards, Kristen Anderson-Lopez also hinted that a stage musical was in very early talks, but now it has been confirmed by the producer.  The team has made it clear that they are not rushing the process; rather, they are taking their time to make sure the result is as excellent as possible.  In the meantime, Disney is taking the opportunity to promote the future show and gather email addresses, by means of having set up a microsite: www.frozenthemusical.com.  Because of the serious franchise potential of Frozen, the film is only the first step.  The musical will follow, and perhaps more types of media will appear in the future as well.

Idina Menzel and Further Cast Members

The Academy Award winning song “Let It Go” was sung by Broadway favorite Idina Menzel, who played the role of Elsa, the ice queen Idina Menzel Oscar Awards 2014older sister who is forced to flee when she is unable to control her powers.  Menzel performed the song at the Academy Awards, and John Travolta became notorious for flubbing her name upon introducing her; he called her Adele Dazzem.  Fortunately, this only spurred more social media attention for the project.  Menzel is famous for having premiered the lead role of Elphaba in Wicked as well as Maureen in Rent.  As such, she has a huge musical theater fanbase who will surely be delighted to see the stage show of Frozen.  Time will tell, however, whether Menzel will be cast in the same role onstage, as perhaps she is not the right age for the character in person, though her voice was.  Presently, she can be seen onstage in the new musical If/Then.  Other actors who appeared in the film who may be considered for roles in the stage musical include Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana, all of whom have been seen on Broadway before.

Disney’s “Newsies” Ends on a High Note

Continually Exceeding Expectations

Disney Musical Newsies Broadway ShowThe Disney Theatricals production of Newsies concluded its Broadway run this past Sunday, August 24, 2014.  Unlike the majority of Broadway shows that choose to shutter after consistently earning dangerously low box office sales, Newsies had healthy, if declining, sales upon its decision to conclude the run.  There are many reasons that Disney decided to close early, despite the continual profits.  First of all, Newsies has already exceeded expectations beyond the producers’ wildest dreams.  The musical is based off a 1992 film of the same name which was a major flop at the movie box office, but which managed to gain a cult following in the home video and online markets with musical theater fans.  When Harvey Fierstein wrote the book for the musical adaptation, it was originally intended to play only regionally, at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.  The intent was to earn profits primarily by licensing the show to amateur and regional houses.  However, when many New York critics who made the trek over the river to see the show gave it stupendously positive reviews, Disney decided to bring it to Broadway.  The show was originally intended only for a 3 month run at the Nederlander Theater, but encouraging box office sales and reviews persuaded the producers to extend for an open-ended run.

A Broadway Success Story

The show ran for two and a half years, totaling 1,004 performances on top of the 16 preview performances.  In this time, it earned overnewsies choreography $100 million at the box office, grossing the first $1 million in only two weeks.  It filled 94% of its seats across the run, and saw an average gross of over $700,000 per week.  With a modest budget of only about $5 million, the show was able to recoup its costs in only nine months.  After beginning previews on March 15, 2012, the show opened on March 29, 2012, and it announced recoupment on December 20, 2012.  In addition, it earned eight 2012 Tony Award nominations, winning two (those for Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli and Best Original Score for Alan Menken and Jack Feldman).  Though Disney is well-known for its hits such as the long-running The Lion King as well as its newly successful musical adaptation of Aladdin, it has also had significant flops in recent years including The Little Mermaid and Tarzan.  Therefore, the success of Newsies comes with great appreciation for the mega-producer Disney, and it decided to close at a prudent point in the show’s trajectory.

Why Close Now?

Although profits have been relatively healthy in the last few months, they have shown a gradual decline.  Furthermore, Thomas Schumacher (the president of Disney Theatricals) explained that based on the past performance of the company’s shows, he would have expected that Newsies would decline in the last few weeks of summer, and show a significant drop amidst the newly competitive fall season.  To avoid this, they announced closing on June 22, 2014, which allowed the show to pick up steam at the end of its run.  In addition, the show will begin its National Tour in October 2014, and the producers can save hundreds of thousands of dollars by re-appropriating the physical production (sets and costumes) to the touring production.  Furthermore, the show will be long remembered in Broadway history as an unexpected hit, which went out on a high note.  Even though its run was much shorter than many of Disney’s other shows, the run was longer than originally expected, and fans around the country will soon be able to see it in the touring production.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 8/24/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

“This Is Our Youth” Off To Moderate Start

The Kenneth Lonergan Play This Is Our Youth started previews this past week, performing almost a full week of seven performances.  From those seven shows, the production grossed $365,614, which represents 58.20% of the show’s gross potential.  This is not excellent, but it is not bad given that the show has only just begun previews.  Starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson, the cast is indeed made up of some household names, but time will tell whether these young stars are box office gold, or just recognizable faces.  This show is also one of the first new plays to open in this fall season, and Broadway theatregoers may not have yet become aware that new shows are beginning to premiere.  In a few weeks, it will become clear whether this play will have legs this fall season.

An Overall Poor Week for Broadway

In the week ending August 24, 2014, the entire Broadway industry grossed $22,786,507, which was a decrease of $1,521,238 from the week prior.  It is the case that some shows closed and others opened, but generally it can be discerned that theatregoers are adjusting to the transition between the summer and fall season.  With the weather still hot and many vacationers still traveling, the summer musical fare is still doing much better financially than new plays such as “This Is Our Youth.”  After Labor Day on September 1, 2014, we will likely start to see an increase in interest in plays and a slight decrease in some of the larger summer blockbuster musicals such as The Lion King and Wicked, as New Yorkers and tourists alike return home.

Even the Big Musicals Saw a Drop

This week, The Lion King earned $1,955,396, which was a decrease of $253,086 from the week prior.  Similarly, Wicked earned $1,795,268, which marks a decrease of $231,434 from the week before.  In addition, The Book of Mormon earned $1,606,698, which was a decrease of $152,722 from the week prior.  Therefore, even the biggest musical hits saw a lessening of interest in the week ending August 24, 2014.  Nevertheless, each of these three earned at least 99% of their gross potential if not higher, so they can still rightly be called bonafide hits.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending August 24, 2014:
Broadway Show Ticket Analysis 8-24-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $898,629 7,332 101.05% $122.56
ALADDIN $1,512,983 13,777 99.95% $109.82
BEAUTIFUL $1,282,410 8,088 98.54% $158.56
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $630,257 8,995 68.98% $70.07
CABARET $814,620 6,706 93.87% $121.48
CHICAGO $569,511 7,045 81.54% $80.84
CINDERELLA $609,004 8,305 59.29% $73.33
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $648,738 6,175 87.60% $105.06
IF/THEN $688,053 8,433 80.41% $81.59
JERSEY BOYS $804,364 8,050 81.94% $99.92
KINKY BOOTS $1,131,425 10,423 91.49% $108.55
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $511,741 4,425 92.69% $115.65
LES MISÉRABLES $886,074 9,254 82.10% $95.75
MAMMA MIA! $750,128 8,572 91.90% $87.51
MATILDA $1,091,719 11,452 99.97% $95.33
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $979,849 10,372 86.03% $94.47
NEWSIES $878,556 9,285 97.94% $94.62
ONCE $425,535 5,619 66.32% $75.73
PIPPIN $614,901 7,309 92.29% $84.13
ROCK OF AGES $315,426 3,666 78.60% $86.04
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,606,698 8,752 102.63% $183.58
THE LION KING $1,955,396 13,608 100.06% $143.69
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,019,608 11,447 89.15% $89.07
THIS IS OUR YOUTH $365,614 5,772 77.72% $63.34
WICKED $1,795,268 14,077 97.27% $127.53
Totals: $22,786,505 216,939 87.97% $102.73

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

“Bullets Over Broadway” Closes

An All-Star Team Leads to Naught

bullets over broadway the musicalOn August 24, 2014, the new musical Bullets over Broadway played its last performance at the St. James Theatre.  Highly anticipated upon its start of previews on March 11, 2014, the musical disappointed when the reviews came out after its opening night of April 10, 2014.  This show is based off the 1994 film of the same name by Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath.  The musical book was written by Woody Allen, and the score is made up of songs from the 1920s orchestrated by Doug Besterman.  The show was directed and choreographed by the very successful Susan Stroman (The Producers).  Nevertheless, despite this powerful team of proven talents, the show was a quick flop.  The cast featured Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs) in his Broadway debut, alongside Marin Mazzie, Nick Cordero, Karen Ziemba, Vincent Pastore, and Brooks Ashmanskas.

A Serious Financial Loss

With a budget of $14 million, the show is sure to close at a significant financial loss.  The musical only played 33 preview bullets over broadway dance numberperformances and 156 regular performances, which is much less than would have been needed to recoup that large investment.  Due to mixed reviews in a season with a slew of competing large-scale musicals, the box office sales never got off the ground.  Its highest numbers were earned in the weeks shortly after the show’s official opening, when reviews spurred word of mouth.  In those weeks, the grosses inched towards the million dollar mark without ever reaching it; the highest weekly gross was $974,076 in the week ending April 20, 2014.  With a few more scattered weeks in the $800,000 and $900,000 range, the show’s numbers have been seriously tapering off in recent weeks.  All throughout July and August, the show has struggled to maintain a gross as high as $650,000.  It even reached the supremely low gross of $492,009 in the week ending July 6, 2014.  Therefore, on July 22, 2014, the producers announced that the show would be closing on August 24th.

Awards and Storyline

The show received six Tony Award nominations, but failed to win any.  They were those for Best Book of a Musical for Woody Allen, Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Nick Cordero, Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Santo Loquasto, Best Costume Design of a Musical for William Ivey Long, Best Choreography for Susan Stroman, and Best Orchestrations for Doug Besterman.  However, those nominations may have been more of a nod for the producers, as there was certainly a lot of hype going into this spring season, although none of it came to muster.  The story involves the world of theatre in the 1920s, as a playwright named David Shayne is finally getting his first play produced on Broadway.  A wealthy gangster who is financing the show wants his girlfriend to play the lead, and her dim-witted bodyguard comes up with some good ideas to improve the script.  Unfortunately, it appears that the antics of the earlier generations of theatre were not enough to entice a theatergoing audience, who are underwhelmed by farce and look for more original forms of entertainment.

“This Is Our Youth” Begins Previews on Broadway

Kenneth Lonergan’s Broadway Debut

this is our youthThroughout his writing career, Kenneth Lonergan has had countless successes for stage and screen, including the Pulitzer Prize nominated play The Waverley Gallery, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Academy Award Best Screenplay nominee You Can Count on Me, and the Academy Award nominated Best Screenplay Gangs of New York.  Still, this is the first time his work has been seen on Broadway.  This Is Our Youth began previews on August 18, 2014 at the Cort Theatre, starring Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson.  The play’s official opening will take place on September 11, 2014.  It is the story of three lost youths, taking place in 1982 in New York City.  The play originally premiered Off-Broadway in 1996 produced by the New Group, when it starred Josh Hamilton, Mark Ruffalo, and Missy Yager.  It has also been produced in the West End with an array of stars including Freddie Prinze, Jr., Anna Paquin, Casey Affleck, Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon, Colin Hanks, Hayden Christensen, and Heather Burns.

Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson

The Broadway production of This Is Our Youth is directed by Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County, Motherf**ker with the Hat).  This this is our youth castproduction originated in Chicago at the Steppenwolf Theatre, prior to arriving on Broadway.  Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin are longtime collaborators, having starred in these same roles in a production of This Is Our Youth in 2012 at the Sydney Opera House.  They also co-starred in the film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  All three young actors are making their Broadway debuts.  Michael Cera is best known for his screen comedic roles such as the television show Arrested Development as well as films including Juno, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Superbad, and This is the End.  Kieran Culkin is a well-known actor for roles in such films as Igby Goes Down and Music of the Heart.  Furthermore, he is renowned as the younger brother of Macaulay Culkin, and he also previously acted in a film written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, Margaret.  Tavi Gevinson is only 18 years old, but she has already had a celebrated career as a fashion blogger and model.  She only recently turned to acting, appearing in films such as Enough Said.

Young and Adrift

this is our youth posterThe play takes place in an apartment in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1982.  Dennis Ziegler is a cocaine dealer and friend to Warren Straub, a 19 year-old who has just been kicked out of his house and stolen $15,000 from his alcoholic father.  When a young fashion student named Jessica Goldman comes over to the apartment, Warren hopes that he can entice her to sleep with him with his newfound load of cash.  The play is bitingly realistic and insightful about issues of adolescence and maturity, and these three actors are sure to bring a fresh and vibrant take on the material to the Broadway stage.  The play is produced by mega-producer Scott Rudin, who often uses his power to bring high quality material to the stage that might not otherwise be seen by such large-scale audiences.  Interestingly, he has already made one creative marketing move: the marquee outside the theatre appears as if the sign for This Is Our Youth was illegally taped over the sign for the show that was previously in the Cort Theatre – the recently shuttered The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe.  Incorporating the show’s themes of rebellion and youth, this marketing ploy is sure to cause a few heads to turn.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 8/17/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

A Summer With No Straight Plays

As represented by the week ending August 17, 2014, the summer has reached the point where there are no straight plays running.  The only so-called play still running is actually a play with music, and could legitimately be deemed a musical – that is, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.  This goes to show that the theatre industry truly goes in cycles, with the fall and spring seasons climaxing with a slew of opening intended to attract a range of clientele, including New York locals.  The summer season, on the other hand, is reserved pretty exclusively for tourists, who are more generally drawn to large-scale musical fare.  At this point in the summer, many New Yorkers are on vacation, or are concerned with catching the final outdoor bursts of enjoyment in their leisure hours.  Theatre, on the other hand, is reserved for the colder months for locals.

An Overall Decrease in Sales

This past week, the majority of shows saw a decrease in box office compared to the week prior.  As for the industry as a whole, the composite weekly gross was $25,177,910, which was a decrease of $332,330 from the week before.  Of the 25 shows presently running, only 8 saw an increase in sales this week.  The biggest increase was on the part of The Book of Mormon, which grossed $1,759,420, compared to $1,647,095 last week.  The bigger loser, on the other hand, was Aladdin, which grossed $104,809 less this week than last week, when it reached $1,602,785.  The only other shows that saw an increase were A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Rocky (in its final week), Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Cabaret, Newsies, Les Misérables, and Chicago.  In sum, these are either long-running musicals, 2014 Tony Award winners, or musicals about to close.  In general, however, it seems this week was a moderate one on Broadway, with few new shows having opened as the fall season begins to gear up.

 

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending August 17, 2014:Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis 8-17-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $920,946 7,307 100.70% $126.04
ALADDIN $1,497,976 13,784 100.00% $108.67
BEAUTIFUL $1,301,425 8,104 98.73% $160.59
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $635,965 9,232 70.80% $68.89
CABARET $828,681 6,731 94.22% $123.11
CHICAGO $627,709 7,662 88.68% $81.93
CINDERELLA $741,574 10,187 72.72% $72.80
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $1,139,903 7,177 101.82% $158.83
IF/THEN $717,723 8,425 80.33% $85.19
JERSEY BOYS $808,545 8,329 84.78% $97.08
KINKY BOOTS $1,219,264 10,845 95.20% $112.43
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $506,840 4,452 93.26% $113.85
LES MISÉRABLES $990,003 10,089 89.50% $98.13
MAMMA MIA! $809,675 8,871 95.10% $91.27
MATILDA $1,127,748 11,459 100.03% $98.42
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $968,020 10,123 83.97% $95.63
NEWSIES $966,603 9,485 100.05% $101.91
ONCE $453,259 6,157 72.67% $73.62
PIPPIN $596,032 7,000 88.38% $85.15
ROCK OF AGES $342,772 3,978 85.29% $86.17
ROCKY $870,165 10,355 85.38% $84.03
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,759,420 9,846 102.63% $178.69
THE LION KING $2,208,482 13,450 98.90% $164.20
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,112,478 12,145 94.59% $91.60
WICKED $2,026,702 15,771 94.11% $128.51
Totals: $25,177,911 230,964 90.87% $107.47

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

“Rocky the Musical” Closes on August 17th

Boxing and Singing Prove a Confusing Combination for Audiences

rocky the musical on BroadwayRocky the Musical, based off the renowned film of the same name, has announced a premature closing on Broadway.  The musical began previews on February 13, 2014, and had its official opening on March 13, 2014.  It will close on Sunday, August 17, 2014, after only 28 preview performances and 180 regular performances.  With a hefty budget of $16.5 million, that means the musical will certainly close at an extraordinary loss.  It would have had to run for at least a year with excellent sales in order to recoup, so this represents a significant disappointment for the show’s producers, who were expecting this to be a huge hit.  After a slam dunk run in Hamburg, Germany, the show transferred to Broadway, where it received only mixed reviews.  The director, Alex Timbers, is one of Broadway’s darlings, having sprung onto the scene at a young age, and already directed several shows on Broadway including Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and The Pee-wee Herman Show.  Nevertheless, his theatrical ingenuity was not enough to spur sales on a show that was perhaps dissonant with the usual Broadway demographic.

Another Flop for Stage Entertainment

Rocky is a very ambitious show from a technical perspective.  In the final extended musical number, an entire boxing ring even rocky golden circlesprung up in the middle of the orchestra, requiring some audience members to re-seat.  This spectacle was certainly astonishing for theatergoers, but unfortunately spectacle alone did not send ticketbuyers flying to the box office.  The disappointment is particularly severe for the show’s producers, the international theatre presenters Stage Entertainment who have seen several Broadway flops in recent years, including Sister Act and Big Fish.  Though Stage Entertainment has reaped significant financial success from many of their European productions, Broadway is proving a harder nut to crack.  Still, the show is likely to go on a national tour, which raises the question of how to transport the heavy scenic elements on the road, and it is also sure to have a series of regional productions.  These further runs will contribute to financial revenue for the producers, though the show will still likely be a long way off from proving a financial success.

Recent Weeks Show Financial Promise, But to No Avail

Grosses at the Winter Garden Theatre have shown an upsurge since the closing announcement was made in mid-July.  In the week ending August 10, 2014, the show brought in a gross of $795,275, which was an increase of $27,756 from the week before.  In the week before that, the show demonstrated an increase of $65,714, and before that there was an increase of $27,742.  Therefore, the show has been on a steady increase in ticket sales in the last month.  This shows that there is an audience for the show, but unfortunately ticketbuyers did not prioritize this purchase amongst the slew of Broadway options to choose from.  Perhaps they expected the show to stick around for longer, but now that there is not much time left to catch the performance, they are pulling out their wallets.  Unfortunately, this demonstration of interest came too late for Rocky the Musical, which may have had a chance given another few months for the brand to pick up and for word of mouth to spread.

The Meredith Vieira Show Premieres This Fall

NBC Universal Grants Vieira Her Own TV Show – Premieres on August 25, 2014

the meredith vieira showMeredith Vieira, who won over the hearts of Americans by hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? for eleven seasons, in addition to her many other television talk show appearances, has finally earned her own show. The Meredith Vieira Show will premiere on Monday, August 25, 2014 produced by NBCUniversal and airing in syndication. The show will be filmed in New York City’s world famous 30 Rockefeller Plaza with a live studio audience. This daytime talk show will have six episodes a week, with tapings taking place twice a day every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00am and 3:00pm. The producers of The Meredith Vieira Show are inviting audience members to attend this exciting premiere taping on August 25th free of charge! The show will feature celebrity guests, interactive games, human interest stories, and a slew of other surprises, and free tickets can be acquired by phone or online, by calling 212-664-3056, or by visiting the website www.meredithvieirashow.com/tickets.

Viera’s Incredible Career Escalation: News Announcer, 60 Minutes, Millionaire and The View

Vieira’s career began in the mid-1970s as a radio news announcer in Worcester, Massachusetts. She entered the realm of television first in Providence, and then in New York City serving as an investigative reporter at WCBS-TV from 1979 to 1982. Until 1984, she served in Chicago as a reporter for CBS; this is where she first gained national recognition. From 1985 to 1993, she was a correspondent for nationwide news shows including West 57th, 60 Minutes, and finally as co-anchor for CBS Morning News. In 1994, Vieira transitioned from CBS to ABC, first as a regular correspondent for the ABC show Turning Point. Meanwhile, she also hosted the Lifetime channel’s show Intimate Portrait from 1995 to 2004. When The View debuted in 1997, Vieira was its original moderator and co-host, a position she held until June 2006.

the meredith vieira show

In 2002, Meredith Vieira took over Regis Philbin’s position as host of the renowned show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Upon her takeover, the show transitioned from being aired only on ABC to being nationally syndicated. In January 2013, after eleven seasons, Vieira announced that she would be leaving Millionaire after filming over 1,800 episodes and awarding contestants over $70,000,000.00. Meanwhile, upon departing The View in 2006, Vieira accepted the position of succeeding Katie Couric as co-anchor on the NBC show Today. Her contract stipulated that she would not appear on Today for any hours that conflicted with Millionaire; as such, she rarely appeared in the third or fourth hours of the show. She remained in her position on Today until 2011. In 2012, Vieira co-hosted the NBC coverage of the London Summer Olympic Games, and for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, she became the first woman to be a solo anchor NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.

The Meredith Vieira Show

Now with the premiere of The Meredith Vieira Show, her career has reached a new height. Distributed by NBCUniversal, the Meredith-viera-350x265show has already been sold to 98% of the United States, and it has also been picked up by CTV in Canada. The show’s band leader will be Everett Bradley, who tours with Bruce Springsteen’s legendary E Street Band. Furthermore, Jon Harris, a close friend of Meredith and her husband Richard, will be the show’s announcer. Harris has had a long career serving as the lead spokesperson for global companies such as the Hillshire Brands Company. It has also been announced that Geoff Rosen and Matthew Strauss will be the show’s co-executive producers, and that Benita Alexander, Angela LaGreca, and Leslie Peirez will be the show’s supervising producers.

Free Tickets To The Show

Free tickets to the premiere of The Meredith Vieira Show taping on August 25th at Studio 6A of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (on West 49th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) are available by requesting at www.meredithvieirashow.com/tickets/ or by calling 212-664-3056. Individuals can book up to four tickets, and there are also group options available.