Broadway in Bryant Park Concert Series to Launch July 10

106.7 LITE FM Partners with New York Theatre

For fourteen consecutive years, the radio station 106.7 LITE FM has held an annual lunchtime summer concert series in Manhattan’s Bryant Park featuring the casts of Broadway shows.  The series will begin on Thursday, July 10, 2014, and will continue for six consecutive Thursday until its final event on August 14, 2014.  The Bryant Park stage is located at 6th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets in midtown Manhattan.  The performances will begin at 12:30pm, arranged to be convenient for lunchtime entertainment, as many full-time workers in the area take their lunch break in the park on the many green tables and chairs set up around the field.  In addition, the shows are broadcast live on the radio, 106.7 LITE FM.

Bryant Park people on grass big stage with 106.7 lite fm Broadway in Bryant Park

Rocky, Wicked, If/Then, Pippin, Chicago, Les Misérables

The first three events are co-hosted by an Off-Broadway show, and all are hosted by a LITE FM personality.  On July 10, the host will be Delilah, and the show will be co-hosted by Off-Broadway’s Buyer and Cellar, running in the West Village at the Barrow Street Theatre.  The four musicals featured on that first show will be Rocky, Wicked, If/Then, and Stomp.  The last of these is an Off-Broadway show, but still a long running musical hit.  Interestingly, this show features both Wicked, which launched Idina Menzel to undeniable fame, and If/Then, in which she currently stars.  On July 17, the 106.7 LITE FM host will be Helen Little, and the show will be co-hosted by the show Perfect Crime.  This show will feature the Broadway shows Pippin, Chicago, and Les Misérables, as well as the Off-Broadway shows Atomic and iLuminate.

Phantom of the Opera, Cinderella, Bullets over Broadway, Rock of Ages, Once, Holler if Ya Hear Me, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

106.7 lite fm new york skylineaFor the third week in the series, on July 24, the 106.7 LITE FM host will be Christine Nagy, and the show will be co-hosted by the Off-Broadway show Sistas the Musical.  The event will feature the Broadway shows Phantom of the Opera, Cinderella, and Bullets over Broadway as well as the Off-Broadway shows Avenue Q (once a Broadway hit, now running at New World Stages), and Piece of my Heart (not to be confused with the recent Broadway show A Night With Janis Joplin, this is a musical about the life of Bert Berns).  On July 31, the event continues led by 106.7 LITE FM host Bob Bronson, and featuring the four Broadway shows Rock of Ages, Once, Holler if Ya Hear Me (the new Tupac Shakur musical), and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which just won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Jersey Boys, After Midnight, Matilda, Mamma Mia!, Motown the Musical, On the Town

The penultimate event in the series will take place on August 7, hosted by Rich Kaminski.  The event will feature two Broadway shows – Jersey Boys and After Midnight – as well as the Off-Broadway shows Heathers and 50 Shades! The Musical.  Finally, on August 14, the series will come to a close hosted by Delilah, and featuring four Broadway shows: Matilda, Mamma Mia!, Motown the Musical, and On the Town, which will soon be running at the newly named Lyric Theatre (the former Foxwoods Theatre, where Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark was most recently running).  In general, this series is a marketing event aiming to lure more radio listeners to become theatregoers, while also offering a treat to New Yorkers in the bliss of summertime.

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 3/16/2014

This weeks notable movements on Broadway are:

MILLIONAIRES CLUB
With total Broadway ticket sales revenue up to $24.4 million from last weeks $21.2 million, this week sees that seven Broadway shows are now in the millionaires club. This includes Kinky Boots, Les Miserables, Matilda, Motown, Book Of Mormon, Lion King and Wicked. Les Miserables shines as the seventh top grossing show overall and it has only just opened in previews.

THE WICKEDLY TALENTED INDINA MENZEL IN IF/THEN
If/Then begins its run in previews with strong sales.  With almost a million ($) dollars in gross Broadway ticket sales, If/Then has made it to the top ten in our Broadway Show Ticket Analysis Chart (see below). The ‘wickedly talented’ Idina Menzel (not Adele Dazeem) seems to be the drive of this new Broadway show which is directly reflected from the average ticket price of $105.65 and a 98.55% capacity.

AFTER MIDNIGHT
With a rotating list of celebrity singers as the big draw for this show, the critically acclaimed After Midnight suffered greatly last week by being stuck in the no-mans-land between the end of KD Lang and start of Toni Braxton stints on the show. It’s unclear who actually sang in that role last week, but the numbers show that how the lack of celebrity draw can impact the sales numbers massively. The average paid admission sale crashed from $96.44 to $68.39, demonstrating that the celeb headliner can make a huge difference in sales. Ironically, the capacity for After Midnight remained the same indicating that the show discounted heavily and may have papered the theatre to get the audience in. It will be interesting to see how the show recovers this week when Toni Braxton makes her debut and whether or not the gap-drop in sales can mess with overall shows ticket sales momentum or if its just a passing phase. The show plans to rotate in Toni Braxton, KD Lang, Fantasia Barrino, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Dule Hill and Adriane Lenox. All of which will provide some fascinating takes on sales data as it may just end up being a popularity contest with all things equal.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending March 16, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Sales Analysis 03-16-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $432,707 5,557 76.58% $77.87
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $981,488 7,322 100.00% $134.05
AFTER MIDNIGHT $381,020 5,571 67.22% $68.39
ALADDIN $893,595 12,035 99.96% $74.25
ALL THE WAY $887,748 9,118 80.15% $97.36
BEAUTIFUL $891,835 7,658 93.30% $116.46
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $655,710 9,050 92.54% $72.45
CHICAGO $523,155 6,756 78.19% $77.44
CINDERELLA $910,028 11,127 79.43% $81.79
IF/THEN $929,267 8,796 98.55% $105.65
JERSEY BOYS $684,421 7,200 73.29% $95.06
KINKY BOOTS $1,330,377 10,267 90.12% $129.58
LES MISÉRABLES $1,043,262 9,397 95.41% $111.02
MAMMA MIA! $538,966 6,500 69.68% $82.92
MATILDA $1,105,243 11,451 99.96% $96.52
MOTHERS AND SONS $222,265 4,278 66.68% $51.96
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,084,613 10,745 89.13% $100.94
NEWSIES $792,166 9,114 96.14% $86.92
NO MAN’S LAND/WAITING FOR GODOT $589,820 7,030 81.90% $83.90
ONCE $556,921 6,297 74.33% $88.44
OUTSIDE MULLINGAR $423,934 5,079 97.67% $83.47
PIPPIN $699,835 7,087 89.48% $98.75
ROCK OF AGES $353,712 4,310 92.41% $82.07
ROCKY $639,757 10,182 83.08% $62.83
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,659,020 8,752 102.63% $189.56
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $476,374 6,418 78.73% $74.22
THE LION KING $1,733,679 13,598 99.99% $127.50
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $929,682 11,214 87.34% $82.90
THE REALISTIC JONESES $253,222 2,841 81.45% $89.13
WICKED $1,861,649 14,686 97.49% $126.76
Totals: $24,465,468 249,436 87.09% $95.00

If/Then Begins Previews, With Idina Menzel, But Not With Adele Dazeem

Idina Menzel in if/then on BroadwayIdina Menzel has returned to the Broadway stage for the first time in almost 10 years.  If/Then, a new musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning team behind Next to Normal) began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.  The musical is directed by Michael Greif, who first cast Idina in the role that became her big break – Maureen in Rent – and it is produced by David Stone, who mounted the production that earned her a 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical – for playing Elphaba in Wicked.  In If/Then, she plays a woman named Elizabeth on the verge of turning 40 who, after a divorce, decides to move to New York City to make a fresh start.  The official opening will be on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

If/Then is the only new musical this spring season that is not based on pre-existing source material.  With the marketplace competition dominated by recognizable titles such as Rocky, Aladdin, Bullets Over Broadway, and The Bridges of Madison County, If/Then might have a tough time standing out.

However, national awareness of this show and its star was unintentionally heightened during this past Sunday’s Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, broadcast, when John Travolta infamously mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name while introducing her performance of the song Let It Go from the Disney animated film Frozen.  Without displaying any sign of recognizing his error, Travolta presented her as “Adele Dazeem.”  Social media has been in an uproar about this flub ever since, and people who had never even heard of Idina Menzel now know that her name is, in fact, Idina Menzel.

Apparently, the producers of If/Then realized the benefits of this tangential publicity, as the show’s official twitter account referred to the Oscars incident by tweeting “You Know Her Name.  Idina Menzel stars in If/Then on Broadway March 5th.”  Furthermore, a less official statement, but one that is still traceable to the production team, made its way across the cybersphere.  In what appeared to be an insert from the Playbill for If/Then, a picture of Idina from the Oscars was accompanied by the text: “At this performance the role of “Elizabeth” will be played by “Adele Dazeem.””  A joke bio then followed which cited her as having played “Moritz” in Nert, followed by “Ephraima” in Wicked-ly, and referred her voice performance in the Disney animated musical Farfignugen.  (Clearly this was a play on “Maureen” in Rent, “Elphaba” in Wicked, and Frozen.)  Though the note has been confirmed not to have truly been inserted into Playbills in the theatre, it fooled many people who thought it was real.  Among others, the image was tweeted by Janet Krupin, an actress in If/Then.  As those inside the theatre’s doors were spreading the prank, it is possible that the producers were the ones behind it, taking advantage of the added exposure from Travolta’s blunder.

taye diggs and idina menzel

In any case, Idina Menzel already has a huge fan base from her vast success in her career thus far, and hopefully the show’s merits will allow it to shine at the box office.  The musical had a pre-Broadway engagement at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. from November 5, 2013 to December 8, 2013, the reviews for which were not wildly positive.  Though critics praised Idina’s performance as well as the score, the storyline was reportedly muddled.  The musical features a “Sliding Doors” – style plot with two “what-if” scenarios played out side-by-side, as Elizabeth becomes both the characters “Liz” and “Beth.”  Audiences found this a bit difficult to follow.  Still, fixing kinks is what out-of-town tryouts are for, and hopefully the creative team has had time to refine the plot structure in the intervening months.

The story is actually not far from Idina’s own experience.  She recently separated from her husband of 10 years and Rent co-star Taye Diggs, and at age 42, she is struggling to be a mother to her four year-old son while revitalizing her Broadway career.  After attempting to develop herself as a singer-songwriter in Los Angeles in the years since Wicked, she is now ready to take on this role which is surprisingly close to her heart.  A naturally raw and vulnerable performer, audiences can expect that her character will pulsate with the truth of her own experience, not to mention the gravity-defying power of her sensational singing voice – no matter what her name is: Idina, Adele, Elizabeth, Liz, or Beth.

Idina Menzel To Star in If/Then on Broadway in 2014

Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel

If/Then, a new musical by the Next to Normal team of Brian Yorkey (book/lyrics) and Tom Kitt (music), is coming to Broadway early next year. The show is scheduled to start preview performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 4, with an opening set for March 27.

Tony Award winning actress Idina Menzel, the original Elphaba in Wicked, will star in If/Then, which will be directed by Michael Greif. Before coming to Broadway, the musical will get its world premiere in Washington D.C. at the National Theatre this coming November.

If/Then is a romantic new musical about Elizabeth, a woman who moves to New York City to get a fresh start in her life and career and discovers that the smallest decisions and occurrences have greater impact that she could have ever imagined.

Find out more about the show at www.IfThenTheMusical.com.