“Beautiful” Recoups Its Capitalization

The First New Musical of The Season to Recoup

Beautiful Broadway ShowBeautiful: The Carole King Musical has made back its entire $13 million capitalization in less than 10 months.  Since it began previews on November 21, 2013, the show has been selling very well at the box office, and its laudatory reviews after its opening on January 12, 2014 solidified its place at the top of the box office charts.  The musical recounts the life and career of singer songwriter Carole King, using her own songs as well as a book by Douglas McGrath to tell the tale.  The role of Carole King is played by Jessie Mueller (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nice Work If You Can Get It), who has recently taken her place among the top performing Broadway stars of the present day.  The musical was nominated for seven 2014 Tony Awards, winning two: Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Jessie Mueller, and Best Sound Design of a Musical by Brian Ronan.  The other nominations were for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Jarrod Spector, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Anika Larsen, and Best Orchestrations for Steve Sidwell.

Increasingly Impressive Box Office

The show has down even better as the months have gone on.  Once the Tony Award nominations were announced, and Beautiful wasBeautiful — The Carole King Musical Stephen Sondheim Theatre  Cast List: Jessie Mueller Jake Epstein Anika Larsen Jarrod Spector Jeb Brown Liz Larsen Ashley Blanchet E. Clayton Cornelious Joshua Davis Alysha Deslorieux Kevin Duda Carly Hughes Sara King Rebecca LaChance Douglas Lyons Chris Peluso Gabrielle Reid Arbender Robinson Rashidra Scott Sara Shepard Antoine L. Smith Melvin Tunstall  Production Credits: Marc Bruni (Direction) Josh Prince (Choreography) Derek McLane (Scenic Design) Alejo Vietti (Costume Design)  Peter Kaczorowski (Lighting Design)  Brian Ronan (Sound Design)  Steve Sidwell (Orchestrations and Music Arrangements)  Jason Howland (Music Supervision)  John Miller (Music Coordination)  Other Credits: Lyrics by: Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil Music by: Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil Book by: Douglas McGrath in the running for Best Musical, the audience seemed to have perked up.  Whereas the first few months showed grosses in in the $800,000 to $900,000 zone, the show crossed the million dollar mark in the week ending April 20, 2014, and it has never gone back.  The highest gross it has achieved thus far wad during the week ending August 10, 2014, when it grossed an impressive $1,325,505, which represented 103.20% of its gross potential.  In this most recent week ending September 14, 2014, the show grossed almost as much – $1,300,961 – which is 101.29% of its gross potential.  Playing in the Stephen Sondheim Theatre with 8,208 seats, the show has consistently managed to fill up almost them all, with relatively few discounts.  This is testament to the brilliant performance of Jessie Mueller, the successful spread of word of mouth, but perhaps most importantly the incredible career and still beloved status of Carole King in the mindset of Americans.

A London Run and a U.S. Tour

In early 2015, Beautiful will begin performances in London’s West End at the Aldwych Theatre.  Performances will begin on February 10, 2015, and the official opening night will be February 25, 2015.  After that, the U.S. Tour will launch in Providence, Rhode Island at the Providence Performing Arts Center beginning September 15, 2015.  Other cities already announced include Chicago, Los Angeles, Durham, and Charlotte.  It is not yet determined whether Jessie Mueller will follow the production to either London or on tour or both, but chances are that she will definitely go with one if not both of the opportunities.  She was quoted as saying she’d happily hop over the pond for a little while, if given the chance.  Similarly, the word has spread that she may also headline the tour.

The Winners Are In For The 68th Annual Tony Awards!

Hugh Jackman Hosts, Many Tune In

On Sunday, June 8, 2014, the Tony Awards were held at Radio City Music Hall.  As anticipated, they were a gigantic success, and Hugh Jackman received enormous praise for his hosting prowess.  Much discussion was had about Jackman’s very bouncy opening number, which was as aerobic as it was silly, but still it was a very fun way to start the show.  This is the fourth time that Jackman has hosted the event, while another frequent host Neil Patrick Harris took home the award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his role as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  Though that category was pretty much considered to be a shoe-in, many other winners took the audience and theatre fans worldwide by surprise.  The ceremony was also full of spectacular performances by nominated shows.  7.02 million viewers tuned in to watch the live telecast on CBS, which was a dip from last year’s ratings of 7.24 million viewers.  Unlike other awards shows, there was no official online live stream of the event, but still many people have been watching online clips since the event’s original airing.

a gentleman's guide to love and murder a new musical comedyTied for the Most Wins: A Gentleman’s Guide and Hedwig and the Angry Inch

As many predicted, the Tony Award for Best Musical went home with A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, a sleeper hit that beat strong odds to win this coveted award.  This show also earned the award for Best Direction of a Musical for Darko Tresnjak, the artistic director of Hartford Stage where the show first premiered.  He is the first Connecticut artistic director ever to win a Tony Award, and the first Broadway transfer for that theatre since 2003’s Enchanted AprilA Gentleman’s Guide also took home the awards for Best Book of a Mhedwig and the angry inch neil patrick harris titleusical (Robert L. Freedman) and Best Costume Design of a Musical (Linda Cho), which tied it for the most wins: four.  The other show to win four awards was Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which took home the award for Best Revival of a Musical, as well as Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for Neil Patrick Harris.  Furthermore, Hedwig earned the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for Lena Hall, who played a female to male drag character Yitzhak, as well as Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Kevin Adams).

A Raisin in the Sun, Twelfth Night, Lady Day, All the Way, and all the rest

The most awards for a straight play went to A Raisin in the Sun, which earned three: Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Sophie Okonedo), and Best Direction of a Play (Kenny Leon).  This is Leon’s first Tony win; he was also nominated for 2010’s Fences, which like Raisin starred Denzel Washington.  In his acceptance speech, Leon made it clear that he believes Washington was snubbed in not receiving a nomination for his role.  Another winning play was Twelfth Night, which took home two awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Mark Rylance as Olivia), and Best Costume Design of a Play (Jenny Tiramani).  This is Mark Rylance’s third Tony win, and the first time his acceptance speech did not consist of a poem by Louis Jenkins.  In addition, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill took home two awards: Best Performance by anTwelfth Night Shakespeare play poster Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Audra McDonald), and Best Sound Design of a Play (Steve Canyon Kennedy).  At the age of only 43, this is Audra McDonald’s record-setting sixth Tony win, and she is also now the only person to have earned a Tony Award in all four acting categories.  Finally, Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way took home the award for Best Play, and Bryan Cranston earned the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for portraying Lyndon B. Johnson in that play.

Beautiful Broadway ShowThe award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical went to Jessie Mueller for portraying Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, which also took home the award for Best Sound Design of a Musical (Brian Ronan).  The Bridges of Madison County was the only nominated musical not to perform at the event, and yet it earned two awards for Jason Robert Brown: Best Original Score (he wrote the music and lyrics), and also Best Orchestrations.  Rocky won the award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Christopher Barreca), and After Midnight won the award for Best Choreography (Warren Carlyle).  Act One took home the award for Best Scenic Design of a Play (Beowulf Boritt), and Aladdin earned the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical (James Monroe Iglehart).  The Glass Menagerie took home the award for Best Lighting Design of a Play (Natasha Katz), which is the first time this play has ever earned a Tony Award of the course of its seven productions across history.

The shows that were nominated but failed to win any awards were Bullets over Broadway, Cabaret, Casa Valentina, The Cripple of Inishmaan, If/Then, Les Misérables, Machinal, Mothers and Sons, A Night with Janis Joplin, Of Mice and Men, Outside Mullingar, Richard III, The Velocity of Autumn, and Violet.  Still, this was a year in which no show earned more than four awards, with the winners being fairly well dispersed.  In any case, the winners will surely see a box office boost from their Tony Awards, most notably A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which will most certainly attract many more theatregoers now that it has taken home the honor of Best Musical.

2014 Tony Award Winners:

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER - 4 Tony Awards
Best Musical
Best Book of a Musical (Robert L. Freedman)
Best Direction of a Musical (Darko Tresnjak)
Best Costume Design of a Musical (Linda Cho)

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH - 4 Tony Awards
Best Revival of a Musical
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Neil Patrick Harris)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Lena Hall)
Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Kevin Adams)

A RAISIN IN THE SUN - 3 Tony Awards
Best Revival of a Play
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Sophie Okonedo)
Best Direction of a Play (Kenny Leon)

ALL THE WAY - 2 Tony Awards
Best Play (Author: Robert Schenkkan)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Bryan Cranston)

BEAUTIFUL-THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL - 2 Tony Awards
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical (Jessie Mueller)
Best Sound Design of a Musical (Brian Ronan)

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY - 2 Tony Awards
Best Original Score Written for the Theatre (Music & Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown)
Best Orchestrations (Jason Robert Brown)

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL - 2 Tony Awards
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Audra McDonald)
Best Sound Design of a Play (Steve Canyon Kennedy)

TWELFTH NIGHT – 2 Tony Awards
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play (Mark Rylance)
Best Costume Design of a Play (Jenny Tiramani)

ACT ONE – 1 Tony Award
Best Scenic Design of a Play (Beowulf Boritt)

AFTER MIDNIGHT – 1 Tony Award
Best Choreography (Warren Carlyle)

ALADDIN - 1 Tony Award
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (James Monroe Iglehart)

THE GLASS MENAGERIE - 1 Tony Award
Best Lighting of a Play (Natasha Katz)

ROCKY – 1 Tony Award
Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Christopher Barreca)