As 2012 comes to a close, so do a couple of Broadway shows (Bring It On and A Christmas Story, along with one very popular show that is not on Broadway but at the Radio City Music Hall). Two of these shows, A Christmas Story and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, are holiday-themed productions that were designed to appeal to the Christmas tourist crowd visiting New York City. The Radio City Christmas show has of course been a staple of the NYC holiday seasons for many decades, and year after year it plays for approximately six or seven weeks during the holiday season, delighting audiences with the Rockettes’ precision dancing and the live Nativity scene.
A Christmas Story, on the other hand, was enjoying its first time in New York City. This musical adaptation of a beloved Christmas movie made a good impression on the critics and did excellent ticket sales (especially in December), so there is a good chance that this one could return to Broadway next holiday season and perhaps become a Christmas-time regular.
Bring It On‘s closing is not related to the conclusion of the Christmas holiday, but is simply the result of the show no longer selling enough tickets to make a continued run worthwhile. However, Bring It On, which opened in the summer, was originally scheduled for a very limited run that would have concluded in the autumn. But the competitive cheerleading themed musical received a positive response early in its run, prompting extensions that allowed the show to run much longer than initially planned.
A New York City holiday tradition for 86 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is also a great showcase for another NYC staple, Broadway musicals. This year’s parade, which will air on NBC from 9am to noon on Thursday, November 22, is going to showcase five of this season’s Broadway musicals: family-friendly shows Annie and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Christmas-themed Elf, the Matthew Broderick-starring Gershwin showcase Nice Work If You Can Get It, and the competitive cheerleading musical Bring It On.
Of course the hallmark of the Thanksgiving parade remains the massive balloons and parade floats that make their way along the parade route from the Upper West Side down to 34th Street. But performances from Broadway shows add a little musical spark to the proceedings. Given the broadcast’s enormous national ratings, this gives the featured shows tremendous exposure to potential ticket buyers. Bring It On in particular, which has struggled to fill seats, is likely to enjoy a box office boost due to its on-air performance.
Bright It On: The Musical has just announced its intention to close on Broadway on December 30. The competitive cheerleading musical, based loosely on the 2000 movie of the same title, started performances at the St. James Theatre on July 12, with an official opening on August 1. Originally Bring It On was only scheduled to play on Broadway until October 7, but good ticket sales and positive audience reaction encouraged the production to extend its run through January 20, 2013.
“We are extremely grateful for the enthusiastic audiences who have cheered on this extraordinary cast and that we’ve been afforded 12 additional performance weeks past our original end date,” said Universal Pictures Stage Productions spokesman Glenn Ross in a statement. “We’ve decided to forego the historically slow month of January and play our final performance on December 30, at the height of the holiday season, as we celebrate the remarkable achievement of our creative team and all of the talented people who made Bring It On a one-of-a-kind Broadway experience.”
Bring It On: The Musical, which includes the participation of some real-life competitive cheerleaders to help create the show’s high-flying stunts, has a score by Tom Kitt (Next To Normal), Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), and Amanda Green. Avenue Q scribe Jeff Whitty penned the musical’s book. Although Bring It On will be closing on Broadway at the end of the year, the show’s producers are discussing the possibility of touring it around the country in 2013.
It used to be that Broadway productions launched tours, but now the Great White Way is serving as a landing pad as well. Recent examples include Hair and Fela!, which had successful Broadway productions, went out on tour, and then returned to Broadway for limited engagements. Bring It On, now playing at the St. James Theatre, toured before landing on Broadway in a production that has already extended due to ticket demand.
The latest to follow this trend is Jekyll & Hyde, which is currently mounting a national tour starring former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages). The tour begins previews in La Mirada, California in September before going on to stops all across the country. Jekyll & Hyde will finally make its way to Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre in April 2013.
This production will be a Broadway revival for Jekyll & Hyde, which was originally produced on Broadway — with Robert Cuccioli in the title role(s) — in 1997 and ran until 2001. Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story, the musical has a book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and music by Frank Wildhorn, and features one of modern musical theater’s most well-known songs, “This Is the Moment”.
Get out your pom-poms … Bring It On: The Musical opens at the St. James Theatre tonight. Inspired by the competitive cheerleading movie Bring It On, which has something of a reputation as a campy cult favorite, Bring It On: The Musical is playing a very limited run on Broadway, with an expected closing date of October 7. Technically Broadway is just a stop on the show’s national tour, which began in Los Angeles last autumn.
The main draw of Bring It On is the fact that–unlike your average Broadway musical–it showcases some pretty impressive gymnastics. Real-life competitive cheerleaders are featured in the cast, showing off the kind of high-flying moves that are rarely seen outside of a cheerleading competition.
Bring It On: The Musical has a book by Avenue Q‘s aptly named Jeff Whitty and choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler. Two Tony Award-winning composers, Tom Kitt (Next To Normal) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), supply the music, with Miranda and Amanda Green contributing the lyrics.
Broadway in Bryant Park, the annual summer series that features lunchtime performances from Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, has an exciting schedule this month that will feature current Broadway shows alongside upcoming ones. Held from 12:30pm to 1:30pm each Thursday through August 16, these free midday concerts are ideal for midtown workers and tourists who want to enjoy Bryant Park’s beautiful lawn while watching Broadway singers perform.
On August 2, long-running Broadway musical Mamma Mia! will be showcased, along with Off-Broadway hit Silence the Musical (a hilarious parody of The Silence of the Lambs), the British farce One Man, Two Guvnors, and the forthcoming bio-musical Chaplin.
August 9 will feature another long-running favorite, Chicago, along with the Off-Broadway revival of Rent (which is closing soon, so catch it now!), the new revival of Evita, and the upcoming Broadway musical Rebecca.