EGOT’s, REGOT’s, and Those Who Are On Their Way

With this year’s Academy Awards on March 2, 2014, Robert “Bobby” Lopez became the youngest person ever to be designated an EGOT.  An acronym made up of “Emmy,” “Grammy,” “Oscar,” and “Tony,” this title refers to those extraordinary artists who have earned all four awards over the course of their career.  Upon winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for having written “Let It Go” from the Disney film Frozen, Bobby Lopez entered the prestigious circle of EGOTs, accomplishing it in the shortest amount of time in history: only 10 years.  Lopez’s first EGOT award was 2004 the Tony Award for Best Score, for the raunchy puppet musical Avenue Q.  He also received two Tony Awards in 2011 for The Book of Mormon, for Best Book of a Musical as well as Best Score.  The Book of Mormon also earned him a Grammy in 2012 for Best Musical Theatre Album, and he also earned two Daytime Emmys in 2008 and 2010, both for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for Nick Jr.’s Wonderpets.

EGOT Necklace on SilhouetteIn addition to Lopez, only eleven individuals have ever earned all four awards.  The first was Richard Rodgers (1902 – 1979), who earned one Academy Award, one Emmy Award, two Grammy Awards, and six Tony Awards, as well as three Special (non-competitive) Tony Awards between 1945 and 1979.  The second was Helen Hayes, who accomplished the mission between 1932, with her Best Actress Oscar win for The Sin of Madelon Claudet, and 1980, with her Special Tony Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in the American Theatre.  Interestingly, both Rodgers and Hayes have Broadway theatres named in their honor.  John Gielgud, who has a West End theatre named after him in London, also won all four awards between 1961 and 1991.

Other winners of all four honors include the actors Audrey Hepburn, Rita Moreno, and Whoopi Goldberg, the composers Marvin Hamlisch and Jonathan Tunick, director/screenwriter Mel Brooks, director Mike Nichols, and producer Scott Rudin.  If one takes into account non-competitive awards to determine EGOTs, then three more individuals are added to the list: Barbra Streisand, who only earned a Special Tony Award, Liza Minnelli, who only earned a Special Grammy Award, and James Earl Jones, who only earned a Special Academy Award.  Numerous individuals have also earned the “Triple Crown of Acting,” which refers to earning a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar, all in Acting categories.  These include Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Jack Albertson, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Ellen Burstyn, Melvyn Douglas, Jeremy Irons, Thomas Mitchell, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Scofield, Maggie Smith, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy.

In 1981, an anti-award ceremony was established: the Golden Raspberry Awards, or Razzies for short, which recognize Razzie Award, Raspberrythe worst in film.  In jest, certain people have begun referring to REGOTs, for those who have earned all five awards.  Of course, the R implies a negative achievement, but with the other four positive awards, this five-award recognition is more for fun than to cause shame.  The only person to have earned all five awards is Liza Minnelli, who won a Razzie in 1988 for two movies: Arthur 2: On the Rocks and Rent-a-cop – that is, if you include her Special Grammy Award.  Whoopi Goldberg came close to being a REGOT, as she has been nominated for two Razzies, The Telephone in 1988 and Eddie in 1996.

Different individuals reach this level of achievement for different reasons.  It helps if the artist has a musical bent, as this may allow them to earn a Grammy as well as a music-related Academy Award.  It certainly helps if they are geniuses, and perhaps arrogance and overzealous confidence can also push them along toward this distinction.  In any case, an EGOT is nothing to scoff at, for it represents true appreciation across multiple platforms of success.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 8/31/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

New Shows: “You Can’t Take It With You” and “It’s Only a Play”

There were two new Broadway shows that began previews in the week ending August 31, 2014.  First, on August 26, 2014, You Can’t Take It With You began performances at the Longacre Theatre.  This is the fifth revival of the Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman comedy that originally premiered in 1936, this time starring James Earl Jones, Rose Byrne, and Annaleigh Ashford in an ensemble cast.  In terms of box office, the show is off to a moderate start.   In its first week of 8 performances, it grossed $519,102, which represents 53.80% of its gross potential.  In comparison, It’s Only a Play began performances on August 28, 2014.  Also a New York revival though a Broadway premiere, this Terrence McNally play features a cast of A-list stars including Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Megan Mullally, and Rupert Grint.  The A-list nature of this cast is certainly showing at the box office.  In its first week of 5 performances, It’s Only a Play grossed $793,046, which represents a whomping 112.45% of the show’s gross potential.  This play looks well poised to take the Broadway fall season by storm.

As the Fall Comes In, Musicals Take a Side Seat

Throughout the summer, the big blockbuster musicals indubitably sold exceptionally well in comparison to plays.  In fact, for several summer weeks, no straight plays were running at all.  As new plays are beginning to begin performances on Broadway, and as the summer tourists are no longer arriving in full force, the bigger musicals are starting to show a slight decline.  The Lion King had a gross this week that was $23,364 lower than the week before, and Wicked declined this week by $87,040.  Furthermore, Mamma Mia! decreased by $52,645, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical decreased by $39,360, The Phantom of the Opera went down by $39,318, Cabaret decreased by $18,369, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch went down by $13,293.  Meanwhile, It’s Only a Play stormed onto the scene with $793,046 over only 5 performances, and This Is Our Youth increased its gross by $24,758 from the week before.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending August 31,2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 8/31/14


Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $942,205 7,339 101.14% $128.38
ALADDIN $1,506,683 13,780 99.97% $109.34
BEAUTIFUL $1,243,050 7,738 94.27% $160.64
CABARET $796,251 6,437 90.10% $123.70
CHICAGO $589,219 7,411 85.78% $79.51
CINDERELLA $638,177 8,551 61.04% $74.63
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $635,445 6,560 93.06% $96.87
IF/THEN $672,147 8,186 78.05% $82.11
IT’S ONLY A PLAY $793,046 5,402 101.07% $146.81
JERSEY BOYS $834,445 8,333 84.82% $100.14
KINKY BOOTS $1,246,584 10,743 94.30% $116.04
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $558,256 4,715 98.76% $118.40
LES MISÉRABLES $878,730 9,423 83.60% $93.25
MAMMA MIA! $697,483 8,027 86.05% $86.89
MATILDA $1,096,864 11,398 99.49% $96.23
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,100,811 11,603 96.24% $94.87
ONCE $481,616 6,231 73.55% $77.29
PIPPIN $608,962 7,448 94.04% $81.76
ROCK OF AGES $372,667 4,199 90.03% $88.75
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,682,942 8,752 102.63% $192.29
THE LION KING $1,932,032 13,603 100.02% $142.03
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $980,290 11,260 87.69% $87.06
THIS IS OUR YOUTH $390,372 6,437 75.84% $60.65
WICKED $1,708,228 13,727 94.85% $124.44
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU $519,102 7,929 92.37% $65.47
Totals: $22,905,606 215,232 90.35% $105.10


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

Larry David’s “Fish in the Dark” Headed to Broadway

A Broadway Debut as Actor and Playwright

larry david

Larry David, the creator of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and co-creator of NBC’s Seinfeld, is making his Broadway debut as actor and playwright.  Fish in the Dark will begin previews on February 2, 2015 at the Cort Theatre, and the show will officially open on March 5, 2015.  The play will be directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who won a 2008 Tony Award for her helming of August: Osage County.  This season, Shapiro is directing Kenneth Lonergan’s This is Our Youth, which is produced by Scott Rudin.  Rudin is also behind Fish in the Dark, and he was also the producer of Shapiro’s staging of Motherf**ker with the Hat in 2011.  The scenic design will be by Todd Rosenthal (This Is Our Youth, Of Mice and Men), the lighting will be designed by Brian MacDevitt (A Delicate Balance, This Is Our Youth), and costume design is by Ann Roth (A Delicate Balance, It’s Only a Play).

A Super Cast for David’s Debut

anna d shapiro

Anna D. Shapiro

David’s play is not a one-man show; rather it is said to have about 15 characters, though it is not clear how many actors play these characters.  So far, the further cast members who have been announced are Jayne Houdyshell (Tony-nominated for her roles in Well and Follies), Jake Cannavale (the Broadway debut of the son of Bobby Cannavale), Jerry Adler (Taller than a Dwarf, Play Me a Country Song), Jonny Orsini (Macbeth, The Nance), and Rosie Perez (The Ritz, Reckless).  Anna D. Shapiro directed Bobby Cannavale in Motherf**ker with the Hat, so it is all too fitting that she is also the director of the show in which his son Jake makes his Broadway debut.

David’s First Play as an Adult

Larry David says this will be the first play in which he has performed since the age of 8.  He said that he has often thought of writing a play, though he has rarely thought of appearing in a play.  However, he is talented at writing characters similar to himself, and this play certainly includes a character that can be described in that way.  In fact, he says that character may just be him with a different name.  In any case, it has not yet been announced what that name is, nor have all of the details been disclosed about the story or the rest of the characters.  The New York Times reported that David has said the play involves a death in the family.  More information will come to light as the spring season approaches.

“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  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:  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

“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.