“Once” to Close on January 4, 2015

The Little Irish Musical That Could

poster Once Broadway Musical white black guitarThe 2012 Tony Award winning Best Musical Once has scheduled its closing date: January 4, 2015. This marks the culmination of a true success story for this simple show dealing with complex emotions. The journey began with the 2007 musical film of the same name that was written, composed, and performed by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The stage adaptation with book by Enda Walsh, music and lyrics by Hansard and Irglova, direction by John Tiffany, and movement by Steven Hoggett began its New York life Off-Broadway at the East Village’s New York Theatre Workshop. Ecstatic reviews allowed the show to transfer to Broadway’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, where it began performances on February 28, 2012 and opened on March 18, 2012. It entered a competitive season filled with large-scale musicals with brand recognition such as Evita, Porgy and Bess, Newsies, and Nice Work If You Can Get It. Nevertheless, Once stood out from the pack due to its relatable story, brilliant score, beautifully subtle performances, and magical orchestral staging, and it took home eight Tony Awards, including the coveted honor of Best Musical.

The Future for “Once”

Cristin Milioti and Steve Kazee in Once the Broadway Show

Cristin Milioti and Steve Kazee in “Once”

In addition to its New York productions, Once began its run in London’s West End in March 2013, and it is scheduled to run there until March 2015. That followed a pre-West End run in Dublin, Ireland in February 2013 where it received much acclaim. Furthermore, the United States national tour began in October 2013, and it is scheduled to continue until August 2015. Recently, on September 26, 2014, a production of Once opened in Melbourne, Australia, where it is scheduled to run until November 16, 2014. Also in late November of this year, the cast from the U.S. tour will fly to Japan for an engagement of several weeks. Though this will be in English, there are future plans for a Japanese language version as well. The first foreign language production of Once will commence in Seoul, South Korea in December. Furthermore, a production is scheduled to begin in February 2015 in Toronto, Canada. Other countries on the horizon for Once include Holland, Greece, Thailand, Brazil, Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Ireland – the last two of which directly relate to the cultural exploration in the show itself.

With Decreasing Grosses, Closing Was Only a Matter of Time

After cleaning up at the Tony Awards, Once regularly brought in over one million dollars each week in the middle and end of 2012. In 2013, the show’s grosses began in the $900,000 range, soon decreased to $800,000 and then $700,000, and then fluctuated between the $500,000 and $700,000 range through to the beginning of 2014. Over the course of this year, however, grosses have been more in the $400,000 to $500,000 range per week, and the show even reached the low of $355,062 in the week ending September 28, 2014. On October 7, 2014, the show’s closing date was announced. Though the musical has already recouped its capitalization and has been earning profits, with such low weekly grosses it has become difficult for Once to meet its weekly running costs and justify remaining open. However, with many other profitable productions in the pipeline, the producers and creators are sure to continue to profit from their fantastic achievement. And it is also very likely that grosses will rise in the last few months of the run, as ticketbuyers realize this may be their last chance to see Once on Broadway anytime soon.

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.

“Once Week” on Broadway Starts August 20

Once Broadway MusicalThe Broadway musical Once is dubbing this coming week “Once Week”. From August 20-23, the show will offer special prizes and free events. But most importantly, Once will be giving away 20 free tickets through its lottery for its evening performances on those dates.

To enter the Once lottery, arrive at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre two and half hours before the performance to put your name into the drawing for tickets. The names will be drawn two hours prior to the performance.

Once tells the romantic story of two people who connect through music. It won eight Tony awards last year, most notably the Best Musical prize. The popular show also has a production running in London, and a national tour is preparing to launch. Visit oncemusical.com for more information.

Broadway Hit Once Wins a Grammy Award

Once Broadway MusicalThe winners of the 55th Annual Grammy Awards have been announced, and the Best Musical Tony Award-winning Once came out on top with the Best Musical Theater Album honor. Produced by Steven Epstein and Martin Lowe (also the show’s music supervisor and Tony winning orchestrator), the original cast recording was released on the Masterworks label and features the talents of singers Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, among others. The show’s songs were written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Once‘s competition in the Grammy’s Musical Theater Album category were four other Broadway show recordings. Among them were the albums for last season’s acclaimed revivals of Follies and Porgy and Bess, both on the PS Classics label. The other nominated Broadway show recordings were the current hit Broadway musicals, Newsies and Nice Work If You Can Get It.

Cast of Broadway’s Once Will Play Concert at 54 Below

poster Once Broadway Musical white black guitarFans of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Once now have a chance to see its cast play off of the Broadway stage. On February 17 at 7pm, the cast of Once will perform in a concert at the new club 54 Below, which has quickly become a hotspot for Broadway singers and musicians looking for an opportunity to perform in a more intimate venue.

Once‘s cast — which includes actors Steve Kazee, Cristin Milioti, Elizabeth A. Davis, Anne L. Nathan, and David Patrick Kelly — is made up of talented singers and actors who are also excellent musicians. The show requires its cast to play instruments onstage, providing their own accompaniment, which gives the musical a special energy. At the 54 Below concert, they will play a mix of original music and cover songs, as well as a few numbers that were cut from Once.

To see the cast of the Broadway musical Once at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street), there is a $20-$30 cover charge, plus a $25 food/beverage minimum. Find out more at 54Below.com.

Nearly 4 Million Raised for Broadway Cares

The 24th Annual Gypsy of the Year Competition took place on December 4 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, and during the event it was announced that $3,902,608 was raised for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.  Each autumn, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, as well as national Broadway tours, participate in six weeks of fundraising for the charity, which culminates in the Gypsy of the Year Competition, an event that gives the companies of many shows the opportunity to perform songs, dance pieces, and original comedy sketches.

Ricky Martin, Katie Holmes, and Chita Rivera were on hand to announce the top fundraisers.  The show that raised the most money for BC/EFA was the national touring company of The Book of Mormon, which brought in $478,130.  The top fundraiser on Broadway was the Tony Award-winning musical Once ($232,770), while Avenue Q ($24,940) raised the most among Off-Broadway shows.

The Lion King company was recognized as having the best onstage presentation at the event for a piece that was choreographed by Ray Mercer.  Bring It On: The Musical was the runner-up for its high-flying hip-hop number.

 

Once Takes Top Honors at the 2012 Tony Awards

Many Broadway shows were honored at the 2012 Tony Awards this past Sunday evening, but it was the musical Once, based on the Irish indie film of the same name, that received the most recognition, nabbing eight Tonys (including Best Musical and Best Leading Actor for Steve Kazee).

Little-show-that-could Peter and the Starcatcher won the second largest number of Tony Awards, taking a total of five Tonys, including Best Featured Actor in a Play for Christian Borle (now well-known to TV audiences for his role as a Broadway songwriter in the NBC series Smash).

Beloved Broadway actress Audra McDonald received her fifth Tony Award, this time for her acclaimed performance in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which took the Best Musical Revival award.

The Best Play award went to the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park, while the Best Revival of a Play award went to the sell-out production of Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman (co-starring Andrew Garfield, star of the new Spider-man movie).

Newsies, the Disney film flop that has now become a popular Broadway show, won Best Score (for lyricist Jack Feldman and composer Alan Menken), as well as Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli’s energetic dance moves.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, this year’s Tony Awards ceremony not only featured the presentation of the awards to this season’s winners, but also several musical performances (including a special performance by the cruise ship cast of Hairspray on the high seas) and special awards like one given to Hugh Jackman in recognition of the money he raised for charity while performing his solo show.