“On the Twentieth Century” Closes on Broadway

Tony Nominated Best Musical Revival Plays Final Performance

on the twentieth centuryKristin Chenoweth may not have won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical, but she did have her moment of stardom at the Tony Awards this year. Along with Alan Cumming, Kristen Chenoweth hosted this year’s Tony Awards, but she presented the award for which she was nominated to Kelli O’Hara, for her well-deserved performance in The King and I. Kristen, on the other hand, was nominated for her performance in On the Twentieth Century, which played its final performance this past week. The show was nominated for five Tony Awards in total, also including Best Revival of a Musical (which went to The King and I), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Andy Karl (which went to Christian Borle for Something Rotten!), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (which went to An American in Paris), and Best Costume Design of a Musical (which went to The King and I). Still, On the Twentieth Century concludes its run on somewhat of a high note, having received fairly good reviews after its opening on March 15, 2015, and performed to satisfactory if not excellent results at the box office. At the end of its run, the show had played 144 performances, in addition to 33 preview performances.

A Fluctuating Box Office that Never Hit GoldON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

In its final week of performances, the week ending July 19, 2015, On the Twentieth Century brought in $571,895 at the box office, which represents 69.56% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $229.00, the average paid admission was $98.81. Still, the overall audience capacity for the final week of eight performances averaged to 100.2%, showing that the musical had enough draw to bring in a range of theatre goers who may not have been willing to pay top dollar, but were excited to see this hilarious romp starring Kristen Chenoweth. The highest weekly gross earned by this show took place in the week ending May 24, 2015 as the Tony Awards were approaching. That week, it brought in $621,043, which represented 75.54% of its gross potential. That week, the show filled up to 99.8% of its audience capacity, again representing a fair but not insane amount of discounting. The lowest weekly gross in a full week of eight performances took place in the week ending March 8, 2015, while the show was still in previews and before it had a time to spread word of mouth through reviews. That week, the weekly gross was $364,904, which represented 46.87% of the show’s gross potential. The audience capacity was still filled up to 88.0%, showing a strong draw even in the tough times.

An Unlikely Revival that Made a Big Splash

On the Twentieth Century may not be the most well known musical in contemporary musical theatre, but it certainly is more well known now after this Roundabout Theater Company production. The show premiered on Broadway in 1978, and then was revived in 2005 for a one-night only benefit production at the New Amsterdam Theatre. However, the majority of the theatergoing public was only reminded of this show for the 2015 revival. With a book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and a score by Cy Coleman, On the Twentieth Century falls into a period of musical theatre history when many great hits were made. With Kristen Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher’s excellent performances at the helm of director Scott Ellis, this show is sure to be remembered for a while longer.

“Penn & Teller on Broadway” Opens at the Marquis Theatre

Famous Magician Duo on Broadway for Limited Engagement

penn and teller posterPenn & Teller on Broadway played its opening night performance at the Marquis Theatre. This famous magician duo has been in residence at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for 14 years, and it is a rare treat for them to come to Broadway. In this case, they were able to swing a quick engagement just over a month in New York. Penn, whose full name is Penn Jillette, is always the one who talks onstage, whereas Teller, who just goes by the single name Teller, is mute onstage. In this classic reimagining of their act, they incorporated many of the most famous magician tricks, such as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and sawing a woman in half. They also incorporated the use of technology, at one point asking an audience member to videotape a certain trick so that it can be projected on a large screen for the entire audience to see. In an interview, Penn explained how this New York engagement is an opportunity for them to make their act a little more intellectual, in an effort to appeal to a New York audience rather than the usual Las Vegas crowd. This show is directed by John Rando, who has also directed Broadway shows including On the Town, A Christmas Story: The Musical, and Urinetown.

A Mixed Review by the New York Timespenn and teller

In Ben Brantley’s review of Penn & Teller on Broadway in The New York Times, he did justice to the profundity with which Penn and Teller have infiltrated themselves into the contemporary American cultural mindset. The review begins by explaining that the duo has been performing together for 40 years, and yet they seem as fresh and relevant as ever. This is partly due to the fact that the magicians, while holding down their gig in Las Vegas for 14 years, also have made several television shows that have solidified their inclusion in the continued cultural zeitgeist. For example, they had a long running series on Showtime called Penn and Teller: BS, and more recently they began a new show called Penn and Teller: Fool Us on ITV in Britain and the CW in the U.S. In Brantley’s review, in addition to remarking on this wide reach of the famous magicians, he also commented that their acts were not entirely new or surprising. While some may have appreciated the relatability of the common acts such as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the choice also bespeaks a lack of creativity.

A Fairly Successful Start at the Box Office

In the first two weeks of performances, which are the only two weeks of box office figures that have been reported thus far, Penn & Teller on Broadway show a significant increase. In the first week, the week ending July 12, 2015, the show brought in $1,075,289, which represented 62.40% of its gross potential. In the second week, the week ending July 19, 2015, the show saw an increase of $150,111, bringing the weekly gross to $1,225,400, which represents 71.11% of the show’s gross potential. This past week, the average audience capacity was 70.0%, which is a decrease from the first week’s average audience capacity of 78.6%. However, the average paid admission went up to $120.37 this week from $114.64 the week before, resulting in an overall increase in ticket sales for this past week. Overall, it is clear that Penn & Teller are a major box office draw, even as visitors to New York from their usual home of Las Vegas, and that as word of mouth spreads, the box office will most likely continue to creep upwards.

Ryan Seacrest’s “Knock Knock Live” Fails To Ignite

FOX TV’s Knock Knock Live Show Review

knock knock liveAt 9PM on July 21 2015, Ryan Seacrest’s new TV show Knock Knock Live beamed out , live, over the Fox broadcast airways for the very first time and now it all seems a blur. Knock Knock Live is Seacrest’s bid to remain on the broadcast air long after American Idol has died and gone to heaven, which will be in early 2016. The format of the show is basically a feel-good, let’s give away lots of sponsors prizes to people who are deserving by knocking on their doors and surprising them. The show roped in a couple of stars like the rapper Common and soccer star David Beckham. Kellie Pickler (from American Idol fame) co-hosted. The show consisted of hearing sappy back-stories of deserving families and then showing them being surprised by one of the celebrities with a easy challenge and then a big prize. Some of the people who nominated the families also got prizes. In a bid to keep the in-studio audience entertained, one of the families in the TV studio was also surprised.

Sponsors Galore

Knock Knock Live had an amazing slew of major sponsors that included Ford, Sprint and Meineke who gave away cars, iPhones and buses for teachers to pick up their students. The show often felt akin to when Oprah gave out all those cars (but later turned out that it was Chevy the gave away the cars). The same format played off here, with Seacrest giving away over half a million dollars worth of prizes of OPM (other peoples money). One such money giveaway was hilarious with Seacrest’s team spraying money into the street using a fan out the back of a truck and having the winner get on their hands and knees in the street to pick up the money in the dirt and grime and whatever else was there. The use of an armored truck is also hysterical, especially when the cash amount is only $25,000. Homeowners all over America will now be using armored trucks to take them to their condo closings as their bank checks are worth way more than $25k

ryan seacrest at knock knock liveThe Twitter Sphere Reacts

Twitter sphere was quick to react to the show with claims that all the “surprised” fans at home were all remarkably well dressed. Each man had on a shirt and tie and the women were wearing their Sunday best with full makeup – not one person was in their boxer shirts or covered with paint or sweat, indicating that all the families were tipped-off in some way prior to the “surprise”. Fox probably didn’t want anything to go wrong on the debut of a live show. With the sheen off the surprise, the show lacked any genuine surprises and many questionable moments appeared in the show. One obvious fake surprise came when one of the hosts came to the door of the neighbor who nominated someone else. That neighbor acted totally surprised, yet a veritable riot had been happening outside their house for the last thirty minutes with over 50 TV crew, 100 neighbors, four TV trucks and an armored truck. Every neighbors in the street had seen the show on TV or heard the noise and came out, how did the nominated neighbor not know anything? Clearly they did. It was the most obvious fake of all.

Seacrest is Charming Host But Lacks Comedic Skills

Ryan Seacrest is no stranger to fake-ality TV shows, especially given his mastermind of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Knock Knock Live may have landed in that genre given its less-than-honest surprises. There were many moments in the show that a more talented host could have used to comedic effect, but Seacrest is just not-that-kind-of-host and the show often came over as bland, if not banal. Kellie Pickler shone brightly in this show that gave her an outlet for her upbeat and winning personality. It was clear to all that while this show may not last, she just passed the interview for something bigger and better. Pickler had talked about doing The View with Whoopi Goldberg, but that seems a step down for this bright and talented star on the rise.

In-Studio Audience Experience

The In-Studio audience did not have much fun on this show as anticipated as all the action was either pre-recorded or shown live on the giant screens in the studio. Only Seacrest was in the TV studio with the audience, and he is not exactly an electric personality in person. The audience members described the experience as only slightly better than America’s Funniest Home Video’s, but at least each audience member was paid $40 for their six hour experience on the show debut. The audience was gathered by OnSet productions, who are considering raising the pay rate for the audience, as it was a stretch to get five hundred people to come to this show in the first place, where very little live-action happens. Even with the extra money, they do not anticipate on making the show any more interesting for the in-studio audience, so the whole project is difficult.

Back Story Format Lifted From American Idol

david beckhamThe “feel good” format of the show is unlikely to sustain good viewership over time as there was very little raw entertainment in the show, just one family back story after another – with each family getting a bunch of money at the end. The over-the-top attention on the back-story format grew so large on American Idol that many feel that is what ultimately did the show in. Other major networks have made the same mistake, with NBC and their prime time show AGT (America’s Got Talent).

If you cast your mind back to 2012, NBC’s Olympics coverage also has way too much back-story and they managed to make the Olympics slow-paced and bland. It’s amazing that NBC was able to add huge amounts of back-story and not even show the sports events live. They also cut out of opening ceremonies to, you guessed it, show some more back story, this time a
a Ryan Seacrest interview with Michael Phelps. Seacrest is certainly no stranger to messing up good formulas.

During the initial TV show pitch meeting for Knock Knock Live, it is reported that Fox executives often heard the terms “low brow bonanza” and ” feel good format” and they thoroughly bought into the concept. If the plan was to aim the show at individuals who think that “investing in your future” means buying a lottery ticket, then they hit that demographic perfectly. The problem is that advertisers do not necessarily want that demographic and once the sheen is off this show, they will depart, especially given that Neil Patrick Harris’s similar TV show, Best Time Ever is just around the corner and that is being produced by the masters in this genre,  ITV America who have had ten years of experience of developing a show like this.

Simon Cowell’s Suggestions Ignored

Simon Cowell had been asked for his informal input on the show and had been vocal about significant changes that would need to be made to make this show a long-term success. An insider indicated that Cowell stated that Seacrest just wants to be Mr Nice Guy, which after a little while, becomes boring and not edgy or interesting in any way. Cowell suggested that an additional character be introduced (perhaps he was referring to himself) who would arbitrarily decide whether or not the family could keep the money they just won. The reality would be that the family would get the money anyway, but on TV they would be denied just to see the reaction in some macabre They Shoot Horses Don’t They kind of way. “Seacrest needs a bad guy to counter his Mr Nice Guy persona, otherwise, he can be a bit boring” Cowell is quoted as saying. Cowell added “Where is Brian Dunkelman when you need him?”

Show Update: Show Cancelled

On July 29, 2015 Fox executives pulled the plug on this show directly after the ratings for the 2nd show were announced. Ratings that were already low in the 18-50 range for the premiere show, went down by another 17% in the 2nd show. The producers  pulled out all the stops on the 2nd show by bringing in singing sensation Justin Bieber to give a 16 year old girl a surprise. Executives figured that If Bieber was unable to turn this show around then nothing would. A summer launch of a new show is always risky, but this show ended up being a real doozy. The 2nd show was aired Jul 28 2015 and the show was cancelled on July 29 after the audience viewing figures were released.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/19/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Right Away, “Hamilton” Is a Run-Away Hit

In the week ending July 19, 2015, Hamilton began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. After playing a highly acclaimed run Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, it transferred with its first preview on July 13, 2015. Though it only played seven performances in its first week, rather than the usual 8, it brought in a weekly gross of $1,288,436. That represents 110.30% of its gross potential, and the average audience was filled up to 100.3%. With a top ticket price of $275.00, the average paid admission was $138.94. This is an extremely good achievement for a musical in its first week of previews, especially one that opened in the height of summer without the Tony Award buzz to boost it forward. Hamilton has been highly buzzed for many months, and there were even talks about bringing it to Broadway before the Tony Awards this year, but the creative team decided to wait until July in order to finely tune the piece. Furthermore, this allowed the Public Theater’s other masterpiece, Fun Home, to win Best Musical without competition from Hamilton, and now Hamilton will certainly be in the running for that award next year. This show is Lin Manuel-Miranda’s newest concoction, following his success with In the Heights, although this show is more controversial, and also more enticing, due to its reimagining of an important historical figure.

An Overall Excellent Week on Broadway

Including the $1,288,436 that Hamilton brought to the table in its first week of previews, the week ending July 19, 2015 saw an overall increase in ticket sales of $3,458,042 from the week before. Of the 29 shows currently running, 27 of them saw an increase in ticket sales, and only two decreased by a small amount. Following Hamilton’s powerful entrance onto the scene, the next biggest increase in ticket sales was seen by The Lion King, which brought in $311,125 more than the week before to reach a gross of $2,620,016, Wicked, which brought in $267,724 more than the week before to reach a gross of $2,167,815, and The Book of Mormon, which brought in $203,287 more than the week before to reach a gross of $1,654,152. Also, all three of these hit musicals played 9 performances this past week, up from the usual 8 which they played last week. Furthermore, Penn & Teller on Broadway continued to creep up in box office, bringing in $1,225,440 which is an increase of $150,111 from the week before. Other six figure increases were seen by The Phantom of the Opera, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Les Miserables, Beautiful, and On the Twentieth Century. Though On the Twentieth Century had been performing fairly poorly, it played its final performance on July 19, 2015, and this announcement of the final week was enough to bring the last week’s gross up by six figures to $571,895.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 19, 2015:Broadway show ticket analysis week ending 7-19-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $538,813 6,783 93.48% $79.44
ALADDIN $1,833,662 13,818 100.01% $132.70
AMAZING GRACE $321,914 6,933 74.58% $46.43
AN ACT OF GOD $990,023 7,713 95.84% $128.36
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,439,179 12,878 95.88% $111.75
BEAUTIFUL $1,023,705 7,835 95.46% $130.66
CHICAGO $638,796 7,791 90.17% $81.99
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,164,664 11,844 98.44% $98.33
FISH IN THE DARK $902,194 8,099 94.35% $111.40
FUN HOME $817,665 6,120 103.38% $133.61
HAMILTON $1,288,436 9,273 100.28% $138.94
HAND TO GOD $344,030 4,598 74.45% $74.82
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $681,087 6,552 92.95% $103.95
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $392,500 5,725 70.71% $68.56
JERSEY BOYS $709,588 7,430 75.63% $95.50
KINKY BOOTS $909,402 9,393 82.45% $96.82
LES MISÉRABLES $801,902 9,692 85.98% $82.74
MAMMA MIA! $909,862 9,342 100.15% $97.39
MATILDA $1,110,520 11,439 99.85% $97.08
ON THE TOWN $501,525 9,178 61.22% $54.64
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $571,895 5,788 100.21% $98.81
PENN & TELLER ON BROADWAY $1,100,653 9,144 69.95% $120.37
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,111,321 12,095 90.69% $91.88
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,654,152 9,828 102.44% $168.31
THE KING AND I $1,152,974 7,971 95.16% $144.65
THE LION KING $2,620,016 15,100 98.93% $173.51
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,064,460 12,031 93.70% $88.48
WICKED $2,167,815 16,815 97.67% $128.92
Total $29,683,617 269,131 90.73% $106.77

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

New York TV Show Pilots On The Rise

Hollywood loves to add its own level of fanfare to its latest TV shows that are in the Pilot stage, but in the New York area, TV production companies like to keep the new TV shows in pilot-stage on the down-low. Sometimes the reasoning for the secrecy is because they do not want to the show to go off half-cocked if the show is picked up. Other times it is because the celebrity is doing something that is off-contract, or may be embarrassing (or damage) their e-score rating if it flops. It seems that well known celebrities do not like to advertise what projects they are working on when on the East Coast, but the second they are in LA, their PR people cannot wait to tell the world via their social media accounts.


al roker in black and white suit on red carpetAl Roker has been uber-busy. He has been working on a new show for NBC Universal, in between the gig he has at NBC on Today and the Wake Up With Al show, Roker has been developing The Al Roker Show that has filmed a number of episodes in the Stamford Media Center at 307 Atlantic Street in Stamford, CT. Al Roker’s self-titled new TV show uses a game show format and is similar to the likes of The Newlywed Game, The Pyramid Game  and Clue (All Born back in the 1970’s in Hollywood) in which couples ask questions and test their spouses knowledge about each other. Al Roker and his PR group has been tight lipped about the show that is under development but it is being exec-produced by Terence Gray (The creator of the New York Television Festival) The PR is being handled by Jon Harris at Jon Harris and Associates and the show producer is Tiffany Trigg. Audience management was provided by the LA based OnSet productions, that have scant New York TV shows to their credit. They had to resort to pay $60 to each audience member to make them go out to the Connecticut studios to watch them tape the show. Lord knows how cheap it is to tape a show in Stamford, CT – but when you have to bus-in a paid audience, all the economical value goes out of the window. Also the quality of a paid audience shifts the dynamic of the show. Now they are being paid to laugh, which, everyone knows, comes over the TV tube as closer to canned laughter than natural audience reaction.

Roker first made his name as a weather anchor in 1974, working for a CBS affiliate WHEN-TV in Syracuse, New York. Since 1996, he has been the weekday weather forecaster on NBC’s The Today Show, and since 2009 he has hosted an early morning show every weekday on The Weather Channel called Wake Up With Al. Al is beloved for his creative approaches to forecasting the weather, often done outside the studio, as well as his success as an actor and as book author.


knock knock liveLike a modern-day version of the Mad TV vs SNL ratings war in the 1990’s, Ryan Seacrest’s Knock Knock Live, currently in production in LA appears to be a straight copy of Neil Patrick Harris’s, yet to be shot, Best Time Ever on NBCSeacrest’s Knock Knock Live show debuts on Fox on July 21, 2015. This TV show dodged the whole pilot phase and went straight into production, beating Patrick-Harris and NBC by a solid eight weeks, which, in TV terms, can be an eternity. It is not clear how Fox got to use the trademark format owned by ITV productions for its British show Saturday Night Takeaway, but if the initial Knock Knock Live tapings are anything to go by, it uses exactly the same formula including the “live from your living room” format to surprise viewers at home. At this point it will be a surprise for some, but after a while, as both shows become established, the surprise may wear off and one of the shows will ultimately fail. With Seacrest lacking any on-stage talent other than show hosting and losing his American Idol gig in 2016, he will be desperate to make this work as he cannot live off Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s money (a show where he is the exec producer) for very long. Patrick Harris, on the other hand, may be coming to the party rather late, but he brings tremendous talent to his show, but with NBC calling the shots, they may over-produce the show and sabotage him with the content constraints they have put on other shows (Americas Got Talent being a great example of how they mess things up). If the NBC execs can keep their hands off the show, they may well have an SNL style winner. best time ever with neil patrick harrisFox’s TV ratings will be boosted tomorrow night by the amount of ITV and NBC executives who will be tuning in to see how good the show is and how many bits have been lifted from Patrick Harris’s show. It remains to be seen if anyone else will watch in the notoriously soft summer of viewership. Lacking creative originality, Seacrest has used some of the household names he helped create on the American Idol show namely Kellie Pickler and Adrienne Bailon, as co-hosts. Seacrest gets to be first on TV, Patrick Harris brings his stage talent later.TV viewers may tire quickly if Seacrest’s show just gives  Let the battle royale commence.

Knock Knock Live is produced by Dick Clark Productions and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment. Seacrest, Fuller, Michael Herwick, Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Stijn Bakkers and Nicolle Yaron serve as executive producers. The new show series will premiere on Tuesday, July 21 at 9:00 p.m. on Fox and will be broadcast on the same night each week. Best Time Ever is produced by ITV Studios America and NBC Entertainment. Executive Producers on the show are Neil Patrick Harris, Orly Adelson, Siobhan Greene, Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly and David A. Hurwitz. The latter three individuals are all producers of the British version of the show: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.Glenn Weiss is directing the show.

“Hamilton” Begins Previews on Broadway

Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hit at the Public Theater

hamiltonOn July 13, 2015, the highly anticipated new musical Hamilton began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. The official opening night is scheduled for August 6, 2015. With book, lyrics, and music by Lin Manuel-Miranda (In the Heights), Hamilton had its New York premiere at the Off-Broadway Public Theater in the East Village, with previews beginning on January 20, 2015, its official opening night on February 17, 2015, and wrapping up performances on May 3, 2015. The show was directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, who are the same director and choreographer as for the Broadway production. The show is inspired by the life story of United States founding father Alexander Hamilton, and is specifically based off of the biography Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow. Chernow has served as the historical consultant for this production. When the show premiered Off-Broadway, critics far and wide hailed it as a magnificent achievement. With so much buzz, the producers considering bringing it to Broadway in time for Tony Awards consideration in 2015. However, with the Public Theater’s Fun Home also competing for Best Musical (which it ended up winning), and with the creative team of Hamilton believing more work could be done to perfect the musical, the show’s Broadway transfer was delayed until the summer.

Lin Manuel-Miranda Stars in His Own Musical in the Title Rolehamilton

Not only did Lin Manuel-Miranda write the book, lyrics, and music for Hamilton, but he also takes to the stage in this production, playing the role of Hamilton himself. There is also an alternate actor to play Hamilton on select performances, that is Javier Muñoz. This weekend in particular, President Obama and his two daughters attended the matinee performance of Hamilton on Saturday; this day was scheduled to be a day when Miranda sat in the audience to watch the show, and on which Muñoz would perform the title role. Even though the Obamas came for this performance, Miranda stuck to his original plan and sat in the audience to watch his show for the first time as an audience member. The concept of this show is a fresh take on the story of Alexander Hamilton. Rather than being rooted in the principally white background of the forefathers of this country, Miranda opted to embrace the racial diversity present in modern day America, incorporating R&B, jazz, hip hop, tin pan alley, and contemporary Broadway style music into his compositions. The casting incorporates a vast amount of racial diversity, and the show has been praised for its cultural reimagining of this time period.

A Stellar Supporting Cast and Creative Team

In addition to Lin Manuel-Miranda in the title role, the cast includes Jonathan Groff as King George, Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette, and Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler. The scenic design is by David Korins, the costume design is by Paul Tazewell, the lighting design is by Howell Binkley, the sound design is by Nevin Steinberg, and the hair and wig design is by Charles G. LaPointe. Overall, this cast and creative team is sure to make a big splash on Broadway, and even though they missed the Tony Awards this time around, the buzz this show is generating implies that it will be a major contender at the Tony Awards in 2016.

ABC’s The View in Slow Motion Crash

Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace to Step Down

the view cohostsIn the eighteenth season of The View on ABC, the original creator and co-host Barbara Walters had stepped down, and it was new territory to test whether the remaining co-hosts would bring in as high ratings and overall support from audiences and the network. Along with Walters’ departure, her co executive producer and co-creator Bill Geddie also stepped down, and he was replaced with Bill Wolff, the former executive producer of The Rachel Maddow Show and vice president of primetime programming at MSNBC. In addition, Season 18 had a new filming location, now taking place at the former studios of the now cancelled talk show Katie, which is located in the ABC Broadcast Center in New York City. As for the most interesting personnel on the show for the majority of audiences, the co-host positions also underwent significant transitions in the eighteenth season. The lone incumbent was Whoopi Goldberg, who was joined by former co-host Rosie O’Donnell. In addition, actress Rosie Perez and former Republic correspondent Nicolle Wallace were the remaining co-hosts. However, O’Donnell cited health reasons in announcing she would not return for the 19th season of The View. In addition, both Perez and Wallace will be stepping down. Therefore, for the 19th season, which will commence in mid-September 2015, Whoopi Goldberg will be joined by an additional group of co-hosts.

Wallace Asked to Resign, Raven-Symoné and Michelle Collins Will Joinrosie perez nicolle wallace

For the 19th Season of The View, Rosie Perez chose to step down in order to pursue acting opportunities. Nicolle Wallace, on the other hand, was asked to step down. She was offered the position of rotating co-host for a contributor slot, and she is currently thinking that over. However, she was reportedly offended to be refused the permanent co-host slot on the new season. As for the new co-hosts, it has been announced that former child star Raven-Symoné (from the Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven) will be joining the panel. This is sure to rile up the discussion topics, as Raven has already caused some controversy. During a guest host appearance, Raven contributed to a discussion on politicians feeling obliged to take selfies by saying that she gets a cramp in her hand now when she tries to sign autographs. Nicolle Wallace responded with a rare burst of aggressiveness by quickly asking if she was that famous. However, the ratings must have shown more of an appreciation for Raven’s self interested-ness than with Wallace’s witty instincts because Wallace has been axed, whereas Raven has been offered a permanent position. In addition, comedian Michelle Collins has been offered a co-hosting position for the 19th season. Collins has appeared as a guest host on several occasions, and is excited to join the permanent panel.

“The View” in Slow Motion Crash

Since Barbara Walters retired from The View in May 2014, the ratings have taken a significant dip. In the second quarter of 2015, the ratings were down 16% from last year, reaching 2.48 million viewers. As for the key demographic of women aged 18 to 49, the ratings were down 18% to only 386,000 women viewers. With the relative failure of the 18th season, the producers are aiming for a five co-host format again in the 19th season. This will include Whoopi Goldberg, Raven-Symoné, Michelle Collins, and two co-hosts to be announced. One of these will possibly be a rotating co-host slot, and it remains to be seen whether Nicolle Wallace will accept the offer to be an occasional rotating co-host in this slot. The show cannot seem to decide whether if it wants to focus on news-worthy items or just cover the frivolous pieces, like who has the best looking pooch. Without Walters and Geddie, the show now appears rudderless, but instead of running in small circles, The View is running like a full speed, out of control, speedboat with an imminent crash in sight as soon as it hits land. Expect more firings to come until they can turn it around.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 7/12/2015

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

Sales Pick Up After Holiday Weekend

In the week ending July 12, 2015, Broadway as a whole saw an increase of $2,076,675 from the week before. This is primarily because in the week ending July 5, 2015, Broadway had seen a decrease in sales of $2,288,441. Therefore, sales are almost back to their levels a week ago, but still not quite as high. With the closure of Wolf Hall Parts One and Two and the beginning of previews of Penn & Teller on Broadway, sales still saw a pick up on a show by show basis. The biggest increase in a show that was running both weeks was seen by Aladdin, which increased by $188,986 to a figure of $1,787,410. The next biggest jump was seen by The Lion King which went up by $165,547, reaching the weekly gross of $2,308,891. At the height of the summer season, this tourist favorite managed to gross 100.1% of its gross potential. Amazing Grace, which is still performing terribly, saw an increase of $90,234 to reach the weekly gross of $291,315, representing just 26.54% of its gross potential. After the over two million dollar gross of The Lion King, the next biggest weekly gross was seen by Wicked with a gross of $1,900,091. Aladdin came it at number three, and the fourth highest weekly gross was earned by The Book of Mormon at $1,450,865. Overall, the most popular audience seats on Broadway in the heat of summer are the tourist attractions, as the locals are at the beach.

Penn & Teller Launches Out of the Gate

On the note of tourist shows, Penn & Teller have left their semi permanent home of the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to do a seven week run on Broadway. In the first week of eight performances, Penn & Teller brought in $1,075,289, which represents 62.40% of the show’s gross potential. Though this figure is outstanding at over one million dollars for the first week of previews, there is still a lot more ticket selling room at the Marquis Theatre, which can seat 1,611 people. With a top ticket price of $247.00, the average paid admission was $114.64, showing that the magic of the world’s most famous magicians extends beyond their home territory in Nevada. Those who travel to New York looking for a spectacle-filled Broadway show are not looking for dramatic or literary profundity; they are looking to be dazzled. Therefore, Penn & Teller is a great tourist treat, not relying on the Tony Award buzz to sell tickets in the summer months right after the awards. Though the audience was only 66.4% filled this week, word of mouth is sure to spread as Penn & Teller stick around New York for another month and a half. The word of mouth needs to spread quickly in order to catch up with the longtime performing duo before they turn right back around and return to Vegas.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending July 12, 2015:Broadway-Show-Ticket-Analysis-07-12-15

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $489,049 5,707 78.65% $85.69
ALADDIN $1,787,410 13,785 100.01% $129.66
AMAZING GRACE $291,315 5,810 62.50% $50.14
AN ACT OF GOD $920,623 7,375 91.64% $124.83
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS $1,406,875 12,894 95.99% $109.11
BEAUTIFUL $918,122 7,337 89.39% $125.14
CHICAGO $625,581 7,675 88.83% $81.51
FINDING NEVERLAND $1,126,473 11,526 95.79% $97.73
FISH IN THE DARK $861,784 7,863 91.60% $109.60
FUN HOME $783,291 6,129 103.53% $127.80
HAND TO GOD $317,244 4,239 68.64% $74.84
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $533,938 5,539 78.58% $96.40
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU $358,327 5,281 65.23% $67.85
JERSEY BOYS $614,775 6,423 65.38% $95.71
KINKY BOOTS $841,500 8,802 77.26% $95.60
LES MISÉRABLES $688,996 8,389 74.42% $82.13
MAMMA MIA! $852,207 9,130 97.88% $93.34
MATILDA $1,077,379 11,416 99.65% $94.37
ON THE TOWN $509,820 9,090 60.63% $56.09
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY $469,559 5,219 90.36% $89.97
PENN & TELLER ON BROADWAY $995,616 8,685 66.44% $114.64
SOMETHING ROTTEN! $1,088,662 11,847 88.83% $91.89
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,450,865 8,745 102.54% $165.91
THE KING AND I $1,247,155 8,376 100.00% $148.90
THE LION KING $2,308,891 13,556 99.91% $170.32
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $914,409 10,596 82.52% $86.30
WICKED $1,900,091 14,729 96.34% $129.00
Total $26,270,648 243,874 85.97% $104.00

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

Deaf West “Spring Awakening” Comes to Broadway This Fall

Acclaimed Los Angeles Production of Tony Winning Musical

deaf west spring awakeningIn a surprise move, the Deaf West Theatre Company production of Spring Awakening has announced that it will come to Broadway this fall. Following the announcement that It Shoulda Been You will be closing on August 9, 2015 and vacating the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, the producers of Spring Awakening revealed that they will be taking advantage of the opportunity to move the production out east. With previews beginning on September 8, 2015, and an official opening night scheduled for September 27, 2015, Spring Awakening is scheduled to run for an 18 week limited engagement with a closing date of January 9, 2016. Spring Awakening premiered on Broadway in December 2006, and it conquered the 2007 Tony Awards by winning eight awards of their 11 nominations, with the wins including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, and Best Choreography. Spring Awakening has music by Duncan Sheik (American Psycho) and book and lyrics by Steven Sater. The original production was directed by Michael Mayer with choreography by Bill T. Jones. Though this production will step back onto the Broadway stage less than a decade later, it will be a very different Spring Awakening.

Deaf West Theatre Company’s Second Time on Broadwaydeaf west spring awakening

The Deaf West Theatre company was founded in Los Angeles in 1991, since which time they have been dedicated to producing theatre made for deaf and hearing audiences both, utilizing both deaf and hearing actors. The highest profile show of theirs to date was Big River, the Huckleberry Finn tale which transferred to Broadway in 2003 and was nominated for Best Musical. That year, the Deaf West Theatre company was also given an honorary Tony Award for their contributions to theatre. This production of Spring Awakening will be the second Deaf West production to make it to Broadway. Spring Awakening, which is based on an 1891 German play of the same name by Frank Wedekind, tells a story about teenagers reckoning with inner and outer tumult and dealing with their own burgeoning sexuality. One of the main themes is the teenagers’ difficulty communicating with parents who do not understand them, and that is one reason why the show is a particularly apt choice for a Deaf West production. This production, directed by Arden, premiered in Los Angeles at Inner-City Arts and then transferred to Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where it concluded its run on June 7, 2015. After receiving rave reviews, the show decided to move to Broadway.

The Beauty of Using Both Hearing and Non-Hearing Performers

According to Charles McNulty’s rave review in the Los Angeles Times, this production is a very successful reimagining of the modern classic, going above and beyond the mere fact of using deaf performers as well as hearing performers. The choice of which characters are to be played by hearing actors, or non-hearing actors, or sometimes both, is very thoroughly conceived. For example, one of the lead roles, a young woman named Wendla, is portrayed by two actors – one hearing, and one non-hearing who uses sign language. Therefore, we are able to step inside her head even more than usual, understanding the alienation and fear she is encountering while also listening to the beauty of these feelings expressed in song. However, the male lead of Melchior is played solely by one actor who sings his heart out. Overall, this production seamlessly integrates the complex logistics of this sometime dual casting, while making the audience completely suspend disbelief as they are lead into the heart of this beautiful ensemble story.

Silvercup Studios to Open New Bronx Location

New Hub for New York Based Television Shows and Films

silvercupSilvercup Studios, the largest film and television production center in New York City, has been based in Long Island City, Queens since 1983, when it took over from the former Silvercup Bakery in the building. Founded by brothers Stuart and Alan Suna, Silvercup was originally used primarily as a site to film music videos and commercials, but it has become much more predominantly used for television production in recent years. For example, Silvercup is famously the site where HBO’s Sex and the City filmed their six seasons, as well as the primary site for ABC’s Hope & Faith as well as FX’s Rescue Me. Other television shows to use the space over the years include Girls, Madam Secretary, 30 Rock, Gossip Girl, Big Lake, Elementary, Fringe, Mad Men, The Michael J. Fox Show, Person of Interest, The Sopranos, and Ugly Betty. With this storied history, the complex is looking to expand and has found its new site in the South Bronx, in the Port Morris area of the borough. The new facility will be 115,000 square feet in size, and operate as a full service studio complex. The warehouse is located at 295 Locust Ave., nearby the Bruckner Expressway as well as the Bronx Brewery. This new facility will be known as Silvercup North, and will open its doors in 2016.

Bronx Revitalization and New York Tax Incentives


The new Bronx site

The project is slated to cost $35 million in order to build the new production studios with 50 foot ceilings as well as offices and shops. These facilities will be able to encompasses two-story high sets, and will have the highest ceilings of any facility in New York City. The South Bronx, which has long been a troubled area, is finally entering a period of long-expected gentrification. In 2014 alone, real estate investors put $2.39 billion into the borough, which is 39% higher than 2013 and 55% higher than 2012. This will create many new jobs for New York City, with a lot of temporary construction work, as well as hundreds of additional jobs in the production industry. The Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. is supportive of the new studio, eager both for the economic development as well as the helpful branding of the Bronx image. One of the reasons it is worthwhile for Silvercup to build a new studio is that production tax incentives in New York State are generous at the moment. Though this can change from year to year, New York currently offers producers 30% of their budget in refundable tax credits, up to $420 million allocated for below-the-line expenditures, and $7 million allocated for post-production. This is as long as the production follows all the detailed rules to qualify, including shooting 75% of production in state.

Television Shows Moving to the New Site

Time will tell which shows begin to film in the new Bronx site, but chances are that many will move not just from Silvercup’s Studios in Long Island City, but also from other locations including out of state. Many television shows, including some from NBC, are currently filmed in Stamford, Connecticut, where the present tax incentive offering is 30% in transferable tax credit for spends over $1 million, with up to 50% of production days in the state of Connecticut. Provided that Mayor DiBlasio and Governor Cuomo uphold matching the benefits that these shows currently get in Connecticut, chances are that the new Silvercup North facility will bring back some shows to New York.