January 2015 Broadway Show Closings

Wintertime Brings Many Shows to a Close

As the January cold settles in, and it becomes clear that it won’t be sunny anytime soon, many Broadway shows have decided to shutter their doors. This is a common time to close shows that want to get a final push from the holiday season, but know they will not optimize their financial future to remain open through the rest of the winter. Some of these are long-running shows that are closing at a profit; some are new shows that never made it work for them financially. In any case, the decision to close in January is not related to the quality of the shows themselves, some of which never manage to find their audiences despite an amazing production and efforts by all involved.

“Motown” to Close and then Re-Open

Vinyl record poster Motown the Musical Broadway Show One unusual choice was made by the producers of Motown – the Musical. While the show will close on January 18, 2015, this will only be temporary. The musical will return to Broadway 18 months later: in July 2016. In the meantime, the show will tour around the United States and United Kingdom. The U.S. tour is already underway, with the company just having wrapped up in Chicago. The U.K. tour will begin in summer 2015. The show had a medium to high capitalization of $18 million, which the producers claim will be recouped by the time the Broadway run closes this week. These numbers will of course be aided by the multiple tours. Despite the high benchmark, the musical sold very well since it began previews on March 11, 2013, with its opening night on April 14, 2013 solidifying it as a crowd favorite. The brand name of the musical genre, along with the unique qualities of the musical style and demographic, have allowed the show to do very well. For many weeks it had remained in the millionaire’s club, and even this summer with a decline in sales it still hovered around the $1 million mark. In the week ending January 11, 2015, the show brought in $1,086,042.

Straight Plays that Never Made the Numbers Work

Two plays are closing this January: This is Our Youth and The Real Thing. Neither play succeeded in recouping this is our youththe-real-thing-pink-and-blackits capitalization. The is Our Youth is written by Kenneth Lonergan, and stars young Hollywood sensations Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson. The show is also directed by hot helmer Anna D. Shapiro. However, audiences were not quite a match for this play, which deals with themes of reckless youth and drug use, and the show never made back its money. It closed on January 4, 2015. In addition, The Real Thing is a Tom Stoppard revival that failed to meet expectations. With a starry cast including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ewan McGregor, Cynthia Nixon, and Josh Hamilton, the play was directed by young hot director Sam Gold. The play closed as planned on January 4, 2015, but it never did as well as the pedigree of its creative team could have implied.

Last Chance Musicals: “Pippin”, “Rock of Ages”, “Cinderella”, “Side Show”, “Once”

rock of ages small photo 100x70Rock of Ages closes on January 18, 2015, marking the conclusion of a successful run that began on March 17, 2009. The jukebox musical featuring 80s hits and a rock n roll love story was turned into a high-budget feature film, and continued to attract audiences for blue red yellow Pippin Broadway Musical posterover 5 years. Still, the producers must have decided the show was no longer making financial sense. Once is another musical that had an undeniably successful run but has now closed on January 4, 2015. After winning eight 2012 Tony Awards including the coveted honor of Best

side showMusical, Once continued to play for several years. The U.S. tour is scheduled to run until August 2015. Diane Paulus’ rendition of Pippin also closed on January 4, 2015 after a successful run since March 23, 2013, including the Tony win of Best Revival of a Musical. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella also closed that week on January 3, 2015, after running since January 25, 2013. That show also entertained a huge number of Cinderella Broadway Musical Rogers Hammerstein logo audiences, but was not as successful as producers probably had wished. Finally, Side Show closed to the disappointment of its team on January 4, 2015, after runningonce small image for only 56 regular performances and 21 previews. This musical failed to gain traction this fall season and was forced to leave by the theatre landlords.

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 Comes to Barnes & Noble in July

b&nThe 86th Street location of book and music retailer Barnes & Noble in New York City will host two events of interest to Broadway musical fans this month. On July 9 at 4pm, the release of the cast recording for the new Tony-winning revival of Pippin will be celebrated when the show’s cast comes to perform. They will also sign copies of the album for fans.

On July 16 at 6pm, B&N will host a signing for the cast recording of Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson. The musical had a short life on Broadway last season, but its star, Carolee Carmello, is well-loved in the Broadway community and will be performing at the album signing event. The musical’s authors, Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman, will also be on hand.

The 86th Street Barnes & Noble is located at 150 East 86th Street in Manhattan. Visit BN.com for more information.

Pippin Cast Recording Now Available

Pippin Broadway MusicalThe Tony nominated hit Broadway revival of the musical Pippin now has a cast recording available, so that fans can re-live the experience through CD or digital download. The Stephen Schwartz score includes a number of memorable songs, including “Magic To Do,” “Corner of the Sky,” and “No Time At All”.

The cast recording includes the talents of Matthew James Thomas, Patina Miller, Andrea Martin, Terrence Mann, and Charlotte d’Amboise. It also includes a 700-person “fan chorus” singing along with Andrea Martin on “No Time At All”.

Perfect for Broadway karaoke parties, the recording offers four “Sing Along with the Pippin Orchestra” tracks for the songs “Corner of the Sky,” “Kind of Woman,” “Extraordinary,” and “Simple Joys”.

Pippin and Motown Honored with Astaire Awards

Motown the Musical Broadway ShowTwo of Broadway’s hottest tickets this season, the revival of Pippin and Motown the Musical, were given the top honors at the 31st Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards, which were held on June 3. The Astaire Awards recognize the best in dance and choreography, both on film and on Broadway.

Charlotte d’Amboise (Pippin) won Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show, while Eric LaJuan Summers (Motown the Musical) took the Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show award. Chet Walker (Pippin) and Patricia Wilcox & Warren Adams (Motown) shared the Outstanding Choreographer honor for their work on their respective shows.

The Astaire Awards ceremony featured many of Broadway’s best known dancers and choreographers, including Bebe Neuwirth, Susan Stroman, Lee Roy Reams, Cady Huffman, Kathleen Marshall, Karen Ziemba, and Harry Belafonte.

Pippin and Matilda Take Top Drama Desk Awards

Pippin Broadway MusicalThe Drama Desk Award winners were announced yesterday, and a wide variety of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows and performers were honored. While the Tonys, which exclusively honor excellence in Broadway theater, are the best known theater awards, the Drama Desk Awards recognize a broader range of shows, considering excellence in all New York City theater, from Broadway to small Off-Off-Broadway productions.

The well-reviewed British musical Matilda did well, taking Drama Desks for Outstanding Musical, Featured Actor (Bertie Carvel), Set Design (Rob Howell), Book (Dennis Kelly), and Lyrics (Tim Minchin). The Broadway revival of Pippin also scored big, earning Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Director (Diane Paulus), Featured Actress (Andrea Martin), and Choreography (Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider). Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which won Outstanding Play, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which won Outstanding Revival of a Play, also enjoyed plenty of recognition.

Here Lies Love was the biggest winner among the Off-Broadway shows, earning Outstanding Music, Lighting, and Projection Design awards. Michael Urie in Buyer & Cellar won for Outstanding Solo Performance, and Old Hats (starring Bill Irwin and David Shiner) received the Outstanding Revue award.