Broadway Fall 2014 Line-Up Falling into Place

This fall looks to be an exciting one on Broadway!  Let’s face it – every new season is pretty exciting.  But with the Tony Awards still a month away to commend the brilliant plays and musicals of the 2013-2014 season, announcements are already being made for shows to open next fall.

It was recently announced that Hugh Jackman will be returning to Broadway this fall in Jez Butterworth’s play The River.  Jez Butterworth’s work was last seen on Broadway with the 2011 production of Jerusalem starring Mark Rylance, directed by Ian Rickson, and prohugh jackmanduced by London-based powerhouse theatre production company Sonia Friedman Productions.  Sonia Friedman will be shepherding a Butterworth play once again, after having watched over its production at the Royal Court Theatre, where Jerusalem also premiered.  The partnership between Ian Rickson and Jez Butterworth also holds strong, as Rickson is on board to direct this play.  The River is about a loner on a remote island and the two women in his life, who will be played by British actresses Laura Donnelly and Cush Jumbo.  The River will begin performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre on October 31, 2014.  A favorite of the Great White Way, Hugh Jackman sold out his 2011 one-man show Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, and he will host the Tony Awards this year for the fourth time.

In addition to the proven partnership between director Ian Rickson and playwright Jez Butterworth, another fall show will see the recurrence of a proven Broadway partnership, this time between two beloved actors.  Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, who famously co-starred in 2001’s The Producers, will join forces this fall for a Terrence McNally play called It’s Only a Play, directed by Jack O’Brien.  Like The Producers, It’s Only a Play is also a comedy based in the world of show biz.  Having premiered at the Manhattan Theater Club in 1986, It’s Only a Play is the story of a nervous playwright (Broderick) at the opening night party for a play he has written, and his interactions with his backstabbing friend (Lane).  Produced by Tom Kirdahy, who is married to Terrence McNally, the play will begin performances in September at a theatre yet to be announced.

Producer Scott Rudin also has a starry play up his sleeve for this fall.  This Is Our Youth, written by Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me, Margaret, The Starry Messenger) first premiemichael cera kieran culkinred Off-Broadway in a production by The New Group in 1996.  The play centers on three aimless teenagers in New York City, and this Broadway production will star Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson.  Directed by Anna D. Shapiro (Motherf**ker with the Hat), the show will have an out-of-town pre-Broadway run at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago over the summer, and it will then transfer to Broadway’s Cort Theatre with performances beginning August 18, 2014.  Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin also appeared in their same roles in an Australian production of this play in 2012, directed by Mark Brokaw.

Further fall productions that have been announced include Simon Stephens’ play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which is a transfer from London’s National Theatre via the West End.  The play will occupy the Ethel Barrymore Theatre with previews beginning September 15, 2014.  In addition, The Country House by Donald Margulies will star Blythe Danner at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with previews beginning September 9, 2014 in a Manhattan Theatre Club production.  Finally, it has also been announced that a production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing will play at the American Airlines Theatre in a Roundabout Theatre Company production, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ewan McGregor, and Cynthia Nixon, and directed by Sam Gold.  This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as many more exciting shows are sure to be announced for the Broadway fall season in the coming months.

“Kinky Boots” Takes an Unusual Hiatus

Kinky Boots has been playing at the Al Hirschfield Theatre on Broadway since it began previews on March 3, 2013.  With a book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Newsies, Casa Valentina), a score by the singer songwriter Cyndi Lauper, and directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde: the Musical, The Rocky Horror Show revival), the musical is based on the 2005 film of the same name and inspired by a true story.  Kinky Boots is the sensationalized tale of a young man struggling to keep his father’s boot factory afloat in England, only to resuscitate it as a maker of boots for drag queens.  In addition to winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2013, it also took home the Tony Awards for Best Score, Best Actor (Billy Porter), Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), and Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus), with an additional seven nominations.  Needless to say, the show is a hit, consistently playing to well over a million dollar grosses.

In a generally unprecedented move, Kinky Boots took a brief hiatus this past week.  Between May 8, 2014 and May 13, 2014, the show went dark, but the theatre did not.  Univision, the American Spanish language television station that boasts one of the largest audiences of SpKinky boots broadwayanish speaking television viewers in the world, rented out the Al Hirschfield Theatre over this period, during the time that the show would have played a full week of eight performances.  The only reason this was possible was because of Univision’s monetary power, as they not only paid for the theatre rental, but additionally paid the producers and theatre owners for the lost revenue in ticket sales over the eight performances in the 1,437 seat venue.  Furthermore, they also compensated the actors and stage crew, who were paid for their vacation as if they had been playing a regular performance week.  Exactly what Univision used this space for is unclear, but press statements affirm that the network used the theatre for upfront presentations.

In anticipation of this dark period, the producers of Kinky Boots – Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig – adjusted the performance schedule in weeks leading up to the break.  As a result, the weekly gross reports show an extraordinary decline for Kinky Boots.  In the week ending May 11, 2014, the show only grossed $668,658.  Though this may not be that low for other shows, even for other musicals, that represented a loss for Kinky Boots of $808,892 from the week before, when it earned $1,477,550.  The highest weekly gross that the show has earned thus far is $2,247,240, when it played nine performances in the week ending December 29, 2013.  As for eight performance weeks, its weekly gross record is $1,912,568 from the week ending December 1, 2013, when it made an extraordinary 124.61% of its gross potential.  Nonetheless, the show has still been grossing well above one million dollars throughout all of 2014 so far, and it looks to continue to be a favorite pick among visitors to New York City.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/11/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

TICKET SALES PICKING UP WITH THE WARM WEATHER
As opposed to the previous two weeks, which showed very slow ticket sales, this past week demonstrated an increase in ticket buying for Broadway.  The largest increase was the new revival of Cabaret, which was up $155,270 from the previous week, reaching an all-time weekly high of $783,761.  Furthermore, After Midnight increased by $135,410, grossing $658,463 in the week ending May 11, 2014.  This show, which was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical, has grossed as much as $714,663 in past weeks, but this past week is the best the show has done in months.  Still, that gross only took the show to 66.15% of its gross capacity.

Other shows that saw an increase in sales this past week include Cinderella, which went up by $106,356, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which increased by $83,180, and the Daniel Radcliffe led play The Cripple of Inishmaan, which went up by $77,998.  Furthermore, The Bridges of Madison County increased by $106,038 after having announced that the show will close on May 18, 2014.  There is one more week of performances for this show to recoup a little more of its investment, but it will surely close at a financial loss.

KINKY BOOTS PLAYED ONLY A HALF WEEK OF PERFORMANCES
At first glance, the weekly gross of $668,658 appears to be an outrageous low for the 2013 Tony Award winning Best Musical Kinky Boots.  The musical has not earned less than $1,173,857 any week of the entire year 2014 so far, and that was on a frigidly cold week in early February.  This past week, it earned $808,892 less than the week before.  However, further examination of the data shows that Kinky Boots still earned 93.08% of its gross potential, as it only played 4 performances in the week ending May 11, 2014.  The reason for this is that it decided to take a short vacation.  From May 8 to May 13, 2014, the Al Hirschfield Theatre went dark, which is very unusual for a Broadway show to do during its run.  The only reason this is possible is because Univision, the international television network, is utilizing the theatre for upfront presentations throughout this period.  How did they convince the Nederlander Organization, who owns the theatre, to allow this?  In addition to paying for rental, Univision is paying for all eight performances that will be missed during that week.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending May 11, 2014: Broadway Show Ticket Analysis w/e 5-11-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $663,459 7,065 97.37% $93.91
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,184,774 8,368 100.00% $141.58
ACT ONE $433,912 5,867 67.65% $73.96
AFTER MIDNIGHT $658,463 7,493 90.41% $87.88
ALADDIN $1,171,988 13,782 99.99% $85.04
ALL THE WAY $828,296 7,120 83.45% $116.33
BEAUTIFUL $1,087,702 8,259 100.62% $131.70
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $952,840 10,481 80.38% $90.91
CABARET $783,761 7,083 99.82% $110.65
CASA VALENTINA $249,728 4,409 85.58% $56.64
CHICAGO $597,445 7,244 83.84% $82.47
CINDERELLA $742,072 9,536 68.08% $77.82
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $971,988 7,210 102.28% $134.81
IF/THEN $1,001,802 9,408 89.70% $106.48
JERSEY BOYS $744,831 7,436 75.69% $100.17
KINKY BOOTS $668,658 5,524 96.98% $121.05
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $528,025 4,664 97.70% $113.21
LES MISÉRABLES $1,049,079 10,028 88.96% $104.61
MAMMA MIA! $696,527 7,881 84.49% $88.38
MATILDA $915,544 10,217 89.18% $89.61
MOTHERS AND SONS $203,679 3,194 49.78% $63.77
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,159,405 11,032 91.51% $105.09
NEWSIES $592,716 8,132 85.78% $72.89
OF MICE AND MEN $852,668 8,156 95.01% $104.54
ONCE $469,441 5,369 63.37% $87.44
PIPPIN $615,001 6,784 85.66% $90.65
ROCK OF AGES $310,326 3,701 79.35% $83.85
ROCKY $741,927 8,795 72.52% $84.36
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,667,542 8,752 102.63% $190.53
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $392,986 6,221 76.31% $63.17
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $571,593 6,309 73.50% $90.60
THE LION KING $1,693,549 11,904 100.03% $142.27
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $882,551 10,886 84.78% $81.07
THE REALISTIC JONESES $569,042 6,046 86.67% $94.12
VIOLET $360,843 5,014 85.39% $71.97
WICKED $1,736,317 14,711 96.88% $118.03
Totals: $28,750,477 284,081 86.43% $98.65

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

‘America’s Got Talent’ Faces Tough Time Filling Seats In NYC

For the May 2014 taping of season 9 of the NBC behemoth TV show, America’s Got Talent (AGT), Mariah Carey’s hubby, Nick Cannon and the various judges Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B are certainly a big draw for audiences to see the show in NYC, but producers have created confusion in the choice of varied tape dates and locations for the taping’s, leading to a shortage of audience members.

For what’s billed as “Judgment Week “, normally the AGT show would be sold out, but right now there are many empty seats to be had over the next few days and many “priority seating” options are left empty, which is quite rare. The timings of the taping’s are also pretty awful with two taping’s a day at 9 AM and 2:15 PM maintaining a rigorous and demanding taping schedule. Many New Yorker’s just aren’t getting up for this. It is expected that in order to keep the morning audience there for the afternoon that they will feed them lunch as a bribe, a classic Hollywood trick.

The latest taping location is at Pier 92/94 on the West Side Highway, which is normally a  trade show and special event venue that houses the Westminster dog show and various other corporate trade shows. It’s weird to see AGT relegated to such a meager environment, especially given the high quality of the previous taping locations . Pier 92/94 bills itself in the “heart of midtown”, but in reality it is located on the outskirts of Midtown Manhattan at 55th Street and the West Side Highway, with no subway and little public transportation going there, that doesn’t help audience members who want to see the show, and have to battle rush-hour traffic to get there. No doubt the celebrities on the show, will be able to use Howard Stern’s “Ronnie Mund” AKA ” Ronnie the limo driver” to take them out there, in the quiet comfort of his customized Audi A8 complete with a working AC petcock.

AGT americas got talent show datesIt’s widely know that the reason AGT is shot in NYC is due to Howard Stern’s demanding schedule with The Howard Stern Show at Sirius XM radio so it remains to be seen if this format of moving around NYC in search of shooting locations will work over time or Howard will get bored and move onto new TV projects. It seems like just only a few moments ago the show was stationed in the theater at Madison Square Garden and before that it was at the Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark NJ. It is not clear where the live shows will be taped in the summer of 2014, but given the constant go-around NYC, it could be pretty much anywhere in the tri-state area.

What also doesn’t help is that the show isn’t on our TV screens right now, so there is little interest in the public minds – out of sight, out of mind. All the footage from these current shows is recorded and then edited down to the bare minimum, so the feel of this kind of show is labored and somewhat less compelling than a “Live” show, where it seems like anything could happen. Audiences in Hollywood would often be paid to attend these kinds of shows, but the New York ones have to be run more cheaply as the cost of shooting these shows in NYC is about double the Californian rate. The taped show also take a lot longer to shoot, often two and a half hours, with re-shoots and lighting adjustments galore,  which makes the audience restless and often bored. So bored  in fact that they don’t come back, especially given the amount of boos that Nick Cannon received recently at Madison Square Garden, when he came to see the NY Knicks play. His AGT TV producers thought it would be a great idea to shoot an AGT promo at the game and for him to appear on the MSG Jumbotron and then do a trick shot (Throwing the ball behind his head, while someone else throws a ball into the basket) His appearance on the Jumbotron was met with loud crowd boos and then his failed trick shot added to the crowd torment and they started getting mean. After a 2nd, but successful, attempt Nick Cannon finally sat down and then left the stadium just ten minutes later as he appears to have little interest in the Knicks. New Yorker’s generally do not like Nick Cannon and clearly Knicks fans positively dislike him, and now he knows it  if he didn’t know already. NBC’s AGT producers are well known producers of “fakeality” TV Shows and are to expected to still use the negative footage recorded at MSG, remove the loud boos, overdub the audio and edit out the fans rude hand gestures and make it appear that Mr Cannon was in fact the darling of The Garden.

We look forward to see the live shows of AGT come back to NYC in July and it will be interesting to see if the public interest in seeing this show returns, but given the current nomadic spin on shooting locations, the show could end up in Danbury, Connecticut. The home of all the other NBC universal shows. If only Howard Stern would agree to the move.

For your information, the official address of this shooting location at Pier 92/94 is 711 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10019.

“The Bridges of Madison County” to Close on May 18

Based on the 1992 best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County is a musical with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, Songs for a New World), a book by Marsha Norman (‘night, Mother), and directed by Bartlett Sher.  Though the show was a highly anticipated transfer from the Williamstown Theatre Festival where it ran in summer 2013, it will unfortunately close on May 18, 2014 after consistently moderate sales.  The musical opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 20, 2014 after 37 preview performances, and it will have run 100 regular performances by the time it shutters its doors.

The musical was not helped by its schedule, hbridges of madison county musical kelli o'hara steven pasqualeaving opened in the midst of a very cold winter.  Furthermore, it received mixed reviews from critics, despite considerable appreciation for the performances of its two stars.  Kelli O’Hara, who has received Tony Award nominations for her roles in The Light in the Piazza, The Pajama Game, South Pacific, and Nice Work if You Can Get It, starred alongside Steven Pasquale, who is known for his television roles on Rescue Me and Six Feet UnderThe Bridges of Madison County received four Tony Award nominations in 2014, including those for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Kelli O’Hara), Best Original Score (Jason Robert Brown), Best Orchestrations (Jason Robert Brown), and Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Donald Holder).  Despite this appreciation from the theatre community, it did not manage to attract enough ticket-buyers to keep it afloat.

Financially, the show’s highest weekly gross was $476,374, but it generally grossed around $350,000 per week.  This is hardly enough to sustain a musical, even though its capitalization was a modest $8.5 million.  In general, it only amassed enough sales to reach 30 to 40 percent of its gross potential in a given week.  Since early March, it has been on a steady decline, and this past week it grossed $64,998 less than the week before.

The novel is one of the bestselling books of the 20th century, having sold 50 million copies worldwide.  It is the story of an Italianbridges of madison county kelli o'hara steven pasquale bed scene woman named Francesca who lives in Madison County, Iowa in the 1960s.  The story takes off when she starts an affair with a National Geographic photographer focused on covered bridges in the area, and it follows the couple for several years afterward.  In addition to this musical adaptation, the novel was made into a film in 1995 directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Eastwood and Meryl Streep.

This is a very competitive season for new musicals.  In addition to the four that were nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Aladdin, After Midnight, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – this season also saw the premiere of Bullets over Broadway, If/Then, and Rocky the Musical, as well as the Broadway premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Violet (though these two shows have had Off-Broadway runs in the past).  In addition to the slew of musical revivals and plays both new and revived, it was particularly difficult for a new musical to find its audience, even one with such name recognition as The Bridges of Madison County.

“Bullets Over Broadway” Opens at the St. James Theatre

Bullets over Broadway, the new musical based off the 1994 film of the same name, opened on April 10, 2014 at Broadway’s St. James Theatre.  With a book by Woody Allen based on the screenplay he wrote along with Douglas McGrath, the musical is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman.  The story is a fitting one for Broadway, as it tells of a young playwright in 1929 named David Shayne who is desperately trying to get his first Broadway production.  In order to secure financing for the play, he agrees to hire the girlfriend of a gangster, in exchange for that gangster backing the production.  The actress’ gangster escort turns out to be a genius contributor to revising the play, but soon David is pretending that those ideas are his own.  Bad turns to worse, as David begins cheating on his girlfriend with the alcoholic leading lady, and the leading man, who is also a compulsive eater, begins to eye the gangster’s girlfriend.

The cast is led by actor-writer Zach Braff (Garden State, Scrubs) as David Shayne.  Though this is Braff’s Broadway debut, he is a familiar face on the Off-Broadway scene, not only as an actor but also as playwright; his play All New People played at New York’s Second Stage Theatre in 2011.  The cast bullets over broadway the musicalof Bullets over Broadway also includes Marin Mazzie as the leading lady Helen Sinclair, Helene Yorke as the gangster’s girlfriend Olive, and Nick Cordero as her escort Cheech.  Of all these actors, however, only Nick Cordero received a Tony nomination, for the category of Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

In total, the musical received six Tony Award nominations, also including those for Best Book of a Musical for Woody Allen, Best Scenic Design for Santo Loquasto, Best Costume Design for William Ivey Long, Best Choreography for Susan Stroman, and Best Orchestrations for Doug Besterman.  This may be considered a disappointment compared to what some theatre industry watchers were expecting, as the musical failed to be nominated in any of the major categories, such as Best New Musical, Best Director, or Best Score.  Furthermore, it is interesting to note that Woody Allen, for his first ever Tony nomination, will be competing against Douglas McGrath, who wrote the book for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and who also co-wrote the screenplay for the film Bullets over Broadway.

However, the biggest disappointment is that the musical received fairly negative reviews.  Ben Brantley of The New York Times called it “occasionally funny but mostly just loud.”  Ending his review on a perhaps prophetic note, Brantley then suggested that the authenticity-seeking Cheech take over direction of the musical, and the Tony nominating committee seemed to agrbullets over broadway dance numberee that this performance was one of the best things going for the show.  Furthermore, Marilyn Stasio of Variety remarked how the script was surprisingly few on laughs, and that several of the big dance numbers fall flat, most notably “The Hot Dog Song.”  The Hollywood Reporter also disliked the show, comparing it to a “watered-down champagne cocktail.”  Only NBC New York seemed to like it, even going so far as to call it the best new musical on Broadway this season.  Too bad the Tony committee did not agree.

Financially, the show has been staying afloat, if not exceedingly well.  In the week ending April 27, 2014, it grossed $956,227, and it did even a little bit better in the week preceding that.  In the first few weeks of performances, it did numbers in the 700 to 800,000 dollar range, which is still fairly decent.  Its audience capacity has been flitting between 86 to 92 percent, with an average ticket price around 70 or 80 dollars, which shows a normal amount of discounting for a show still trying to hit its stride.  All in all, the name value of this title will certainly help it find its audience, and the star power of Zach Braff shouldn’t hurt.  Still, with mediocre reviews and minimal Tony recognition, this musical may not ever become the hit that its producers hoped it would.

“The Velocity of Autumn” Closes Early

After only 22 previews and 16 regular performances, The Velocity of Autumn has shuttered its doors at the Booth Theatre.  A new play by Eric Coble and directed by Molly Smith, this two-hander starred Oscar winner Estelle Parsons and Tony winner Stephen Spinella.  It is the story of an elderly woman who threatens to blow herself up in her apartment when her children consider moving her out to a nursing home.  Though the play received mixed reviews and a Tony nomination for Estelle Parsons in the category of Best Actress in a Play, this was not enough to lure ticket buyers to the box office.

With a budget of $2.5 million, this play will surely incur a financial loss for its investors.  In its less than five weeks of performances, the highest it grosThe velocity of autumn on Broadwaysed was in its first week, with a total of $135,307 for seven performances.  Following that first week of previews, the show’s numbers dwindled at three consecutive weeks of $100,056, $94,400, and $84,521, respectively.  In its final week of eight performances, the show saw a slight increase in sales, grossing $130,333 after announcing closing.  The production struggled to spread word of mouth through offering complimentary tickets on various ticket sites, which only brought down the average ticket price to an extraordinary low.  In the five weeks of its run, this average ticket price was $39.96, $32.55, $23.54, $20.77, and $27.43, respectively.

This goes to show that it is increasingly difficult to make a straight play on Broadway profitable, especially without name recognition for the show’s title and without A-list Hollywood stars in the cast.  Although Estelle Parsons is a well-known actress whose long career includes such films as 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde (for which she received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), as well as a role on television’s Roseanne, she is not a star for whom the public would flock to the box office.  Stephen Spinella, though a Tony winner, is hardly a household name.  Though producers would be more inclined to take a risk on a low-cost show with a small cast such as this one, it was still capitalized at $2.5 million, which is no chump change.

This is the first Broadway credit for the lead producers, Larry Kaye and HOP Theatricals.  Though its producing team also includes Broadway regulars such as Van Dean of The Broadway Consortium, their lack of experience is palpable from the fate of this attempt.  Furthermore, though Van Dean has raised money for several shows in the last handful of years, many have incurred financial losses and closed early, including Big Fish, Bonnie and Clyde, Chinglish, and Catch Me If You Can.  In order to keep the loyalty of their investors, these producers will need to find a hit among the risks they take.  Unfortunately, The Velocity of Autumn has proved to be another loss.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5/04/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

TONY NOMINATIONS INCREASE SALES

This past week was a slow one on Broadway overall; however, shows that received Tony Award nominations – especially for Best Musical – saw a jump in sales.  Because it is not always the case that nominations spur sales, it is not clear exactly what caused this year’s jump for nominated shows.  In addition to news coverage and press announcements about the nominations, it is likely that ticket buyers were persuaded by the advertising efforts of producers who touted the nominations online and in print ads.  Furthermore, many individuals may have not been aware that certain shows were even running until the high volume of publicity picked up around the nominations.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder led the list of Tony nominated shows, with nominations in 10 categories including Best Musical.  Theatregoers responded to this announcement, as last week’s sales increased to $580,279, a 23% jump from the previous week, and the highest weekly gross yet in the show’s six and a half month run.  Furthermore, a spokesperson for the show said that they also grossed $1.3 million in advance sales following the nominations announcement.  Another show that received a nomination for Best Musical – After Midnight – saw a jump of 7% and reached a weekly gross of $523,053.  A third nominee for that category – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – set a box office record at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre with a weekly gross of $1,036,646.  Though the fourth nominee, Aladdin, was down slightly from the prior week, it still grossed an impressive $1,176,765.

Furthermore, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which received the second highest number of nominations including one for Best Revival of a Musical, grossed $993,474, which is a 30% increase from the previous week and a box office record at the Belasco Theatre.  In addition, after being nominated for Best Play, Casa Valentina also saw a 30% jump to the still modest gross of $275,997.  However, the reverse also held true, as shows on their last legs who failed to receive key nominations were only hurt further by the lack of appreciation from the Tony nominating committee.  The Bridges of Madison County, for instance, saw a decrease of $64,998 after failing to be nominated for Best Musical, even after they announced they will be closing on May 18, 2014.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending May 4, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 5-04-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $580,279 6,770 93.30% $85.71
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,190,876 8,368 100.00% $142.31
ACT ONE $398,834 5,695 65.67% $70.03
AFTER MIDNIGHT $523,053 6,510 78.55% $80.35
ALADDIN $1,176,765 13,782 99.99% $85.38
ALL THE WAY $1,014,071 9,177 80.67% $110.50
BEAUTIFUL $1,036,646 8,130 99.05% $127.51
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $950,052 10,246 78.57% $92.72
CABARET $628,491 7,007 98.75% $89.69
CASA VALENTINA $275,997 4,429 85.97% $62.32
CHICAGO $605,077 7,204 83.38% $83.99
CINDERELLA $635,716 8,406 60.01% $75.63
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $993,474 7,215 102.35% $137.70
IF/THEN $927,814 8,928 85.13% $103.92
JERSEY BOYS $699,790 7,189 73.18% $97.34
KINKY BOOTS $1,477,550 10,914 95.80% $135.38
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $490,737 4,496 94.18% $109.15
LES MISÉRABLES $1,080,994 10,148 90.03% $106.52
MAMMA MIA! $763,046 8,502 91.14% $89.75
MATILDA $924,624 10,186 88.91% $90.77
MOTHERS AND SONS $172,916 2,743 42.75% $63.04
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,123,937 10,710 88.84% $104.94
NEWSIES $576,874 8,038 84.79% $71.77
OF MICE AND MEN $864,014 8,303 96.73% $104.06
ONCE $439,851 5,179 61.13% $84.93
PIPPIN $538,721 5,698 71.94% $94.55
ROCK OF AGES $334,369 4,046 86.75% $82.64
ROCKY $707,891 8,051 66.38% $87.93
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,631,761 8,747 102.57% $186.55
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $286,948 4,729 58.01% $60.68
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $493,595 5,682 66.19% $86.87
THE LION KING $1,940,102 13,602 100.01% $142.63
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $988,317 11,739 91.43% $84.19
THE REALISTIC JONESES $605,288 6,256 89.68% $96.75
THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN $130,333 4,752 78.26% $27.43
VIOLET $303,237 4,020 68.46% $75.43
WICKED $1,732,110 14,910 97.43% $116.17
Totals: $29,244,147 290,507 83.68% $95.87

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

“Violet” Opens at the American Airlines Theatre

Sutton Foster has long been considered to have the potential to become one of the great musical theatre performers of our time.  Her big break occurred in 2002, when she was cast as the last minute replacement star of Thoroughly Modern Millie.  When the show transferred to Broadway, the consistently laudatory reviews and 2002 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical proved that she had begun to pave her way to theatrical stardom.  Her most recent Broadway star turn was in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2011 revival of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, where Sutton played Reno Sweeney and took home her second Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.  Despite this success, however, Sutton had yet not proven her invincibility as a surefire star – until now, with the recently opened Roundabout Theatre Company production of Violet.


Violet CD ImageViolet
is the story of a young disfigured woman who travels from North Carolina to Oklahoma in search of healing treatment.  Based on the short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts, it has music by Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline or Change) and libretto by Brian Crawley (A Little Princess).  Violet first premiered Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1997, receiving seven Drama Desk nominations and winning the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical.  On July 17, 2013, the Encores! Off-Center Series at New York City Center mounted a one-night production of Violet, this time starring Sutton Foster in the title role.  The creative team at Roundabout must have been impressed by her performance, for they decided to bring the show to one of their Broadway houses, the American Airlines Theatre, for a run this spring to summer 2014.  The production is directed by Leigh Silverman (Chinglish, Well) and choreographed by Jeffrey Page (Fela!).

When the musical opened on April 20, 2014, it received unanimously positive reviews.  Charles Isherwood at The New York Times remarked that this was a “career-redefining performance.”  Whereas Sutton has often appeared in light-hearted musicals such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Anything Goes, here she takes a darker turn and embraces issues of self-delusion and in security.

sutton-foster-in-violet

sutton-foster-in-violet

Similarly, Time Out New York stated that this was the “darkest and richest” part that Sutton has ever played, congratulating her on her seamless ability to portray both the optimistic and bitterly anguished elements of her character.  NBC New York also observed that this performance of Sutton’s is “a star being reborn.”  Despite the low-key sets and less than elaborate spectacles involved with the production, critics far and wide praised the ambition and the seriousness of the storyline.

The musical is slated to run until August 10, 2014.  Although this is the first time the show has appeared on Broadway, it is still considered a “revival” for the purposes of Tony Award consideration.  This is not the only show this season to premiere on Broadway after having had an Off-Broadway production years ago; Hedwig and the Angry Inch is similarly considered a “revival” though this is the first time it has been on Broadway.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 4/27/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

A SLOW WEEK FOR BROADWAY
In the week ending April 27, 2014, the vast majority of shows saw a decrease in ticket sales from the previous week.  Even the heavy hitters went down significantly.  For instance, though Wicked and The Lion King still both grossed over two million dollars, Wicked earned $694,805 less and The Lion King earned $399,631 less than the week before.  Other big drops include Matilda, which went down $324,076, Cinderella, which decreased by $293,539, Newsies, which slowed down by $256,702, Rocky, which decreased by $238,855, and The Phantom of the Opera, which went down by $399,865.  Even the mega-hit The Book of Mormon decreased by $15,835.  As this list includes some of the top tourist picks, this goes to show that Broadway was hit hard by the last week of April, presumably because spring break has now ended.  Certain shows showed a slight increase that may appeal less to tourists, including Violet, The Realistic Joneses, The Bridges of Madison County, Mothers and Sons, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.  Though these grosses are still significantly lower than the tourist shows mentioned above, this is further evidence that the overall decrease is due to the slower numbers of tourists flocking to the city this past week.

HEAVY DISCOUNTING
Casa Valentina, Harvey Fierstein’s new play about transvestites in the 1960s, is one of the more notable shows in terms of discounting, as evidenced by these figures.  Though the play grossed only $210,585 this past week, it still played to an average 91.3% capacity, with an average ticket price of only $44.78.  This shows that the play does attract a certain degree of interest from theatregoers, but they are not willing to pay full price.  Furthermore, The Velocity of Autumn had by far the lowest average paid ticket price at $20.77, still only managing to fill up 67.0% average capacity.  With a horrendous weekly gross of $84,521, this show looks to be on its very last legs.  With those numbers, it has definitely been dispersing complementary tickets in an effort to spread word of mouth, but it won’t be able to last long if sales don’t pick up soon.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending April 27, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 4-27-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $470,784 5,702 78.58% $82.56
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,183,783 8,368 100.00% $141.47
ACT ONE $373,915 5,308 61.21% $70.44
AFTER MIDNIGHT $488,203 6,142 74.11% $79.49
ALADDIN $1,194,264 13,790 100.04% $86.60
ALL THE WAY $994,085 9,118 80.15% $109.02
BEAUTIFUL $1,015,673 8,164 99.46% $124.41
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $956,227 10,783 82.69% $88.68
CABARET $624,575 7,108 100.17% $87.87
CASA VALENTINA $210,585 4,703 91.28% $44.78
CHICAGO $667,125 7,618 88.17% $87.57
CINDERELLA $1,119,405 13,362 95.39% $83.78
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $725,517 7,200 102.14% $100.77
IF/THEN $1,004,383 9,750 92.96% $103.01
JERSEY BOYS $800,204 8,253 84.01% $96.96
KINKY BOOTS $1,519,830 11,300 99.19% $134.50
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $489,022 4,504 94.34% $108.58
LES MISÉRABLES $1,258,537 11,099 98.47% $113.39
MAMMA MIA! $842,376 9,103 97.59% $92.54
MATILDA $1,253,017 11,517 100.53% $108.80
MOTHERS AND SONS $192,942 3,210 50.03% $60.11
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,203,398 11,487 95.28% $104.76
NEWSIES $812,665 9,232 97.38% $88.03
OF MICE AND MEN $897,852 8,555 99.66% $104.95
ONCE $569,833 6,749 79.66% $84.43
PIPPIN $682,229 7,063 89.18% $96.59
ROCK OF AGES $359,970 4,278 91.72% $84.14
ROCKY $783,892 8,805 72.60% $89.03
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,674,070 8,752 102.63% $191.28
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $351,946 4,922 60.38% $71.50
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $579,630 7,535 87.78% $76.93
THE LION KING $2,143,746 13,602 100.01% $157.61
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,117,440 10,679 83.17% $104.64
THE REALISTIC JONESES $619,507 6,458 92.57% $95.93
THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN $84,521 4,070 67.03% $20.77
VIOLET $360,849 5,022 85.52% $71.85
WICKED $2,074,749 14,320 98.95% $144.88
Totals: $31,700,745 307,631 88.49% $97.10

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