“An Act of God” Wraps Up Its Run

Jim Parsons Plays Final Performance on August 2, 2015

an act of godOn May 7, 2015, An Act of God began previews at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54 theatre, although the show is not a Roundabout production. An Act of God is written by David Javerbaum, directed by Joe Mantello, and stars Jim Parsons in the role of God. The producers include Jeffrey Finn and the Shubert Organization. The official opening night then took place on May 28, 2015. The show opened just too late to be considered for Tony Awards nominations this past year, although it will be eligible for the following year’s awards. However, the Tony committee generally has a fairly short term memory, with even shows that ran in the fall season given less notice than those from the spring season. Therefore, with this show opening and closing all within the summer of 2015, it may be difficult for the Tony committee to remember it as a competitive show for the nominations in June of 2016. In any case, An Act of God was a hit, at least from a financial perspective. On July 15, 2015, it was announced that the show had recouped its initial capitalization of $2.9 million, and is now running in profits. In addition, the show received fairly positive reviews after its opening on May 28th. Therefore, from almost all perspectives, the show is a critical and commercial hit.

Excellent Box Office from Day Oneact-of-god-broadway-jim-parsons

In the first partial week of performances for An Act of God, the show brought in 93.01% of its gross potential. Those numbers dipped slightly throughout the following weeks of preview performances, but in the weeks following the show’s opening, the numbers were back up in the range of 85 to 90% of the show’s gross potential. In the last reported week of box office figures, the week ending July 26, 2015, the show finally broke through the 100% mark of its gross potential, and in addition it brought in over $1 million at the box office for the first time. That week, the weekly gross was $1,011,538, which represents 100.37% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $349.00, the average paid admission was $130.47, also the highest average ticket sale in any week yet. In addition, the average audience capacity reached a peak of 96.3% average across the eight performances. With just one week left of box office figures to report, chances are these numbers will continue to creep upwards as ticket buyers realize this is their last chance to see Jim Parsons live on Broadway in the estimable role of God.

Jim Parsons: A Big Box Office Name on Broadway

If An Act of God demonstrated anything about the type of show that sells well on Broadway, it can be gleaned that Jim Parsons is a big box office name. The other factors involved in the production leave nothing particularly remarkable to conclude, such as the small cast led principally by one actor (often a difficult sell on Broadway), the playwright being a well regarded name within TV circles but one whose name doesn’t mean much to most Broadway ticket buyers, and a show that opened after it would be eligible for Tony Awards consideration. Jim Parsons also had a great chance to shine in his last lead performance at Studio 54, that time in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Harvey. His only other performance on Broadway to date was a supporting role in The Normal Heart, where the lead role was played by Joe Mantello, who is also the director of An Act of God. When Parsons played that same role in the HBO film version of The Normal Heart, he was nominated for an Emmy Award. All in all, Parsons has won the hearts of America, and we are sure to see him again on Broadway as soon as he has a break in his busy television and film schedule.

“An Act of God” Opens on Broadway

Jim Parsons as Our Holy Father

an act of godOn May 28, 2015, An Act of God opened at Studio 54, a Roundabout Theatre Company Broadway venue. It had been running in previews since May 7, 2015. Presently, it is scheduled for a limited engagement to close on August 2, 2015. Although much of the excitement in the Broadway community these days regards the Tony Awards, which will happen this upcoming weekend, An Act of God made the unusual choice to open just after the cut off for Awards consideration. Therefore, like God in heaven above, the play is above all the awards hubbub, and it thrives independent of any commendation or lack there of from the Tony nominating committee and voters. The play stars Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory,” Harvey, The Normal Heart) as God, and the cast also includes archangels Michael, played by Christopher Fitzgerald, and Gabriel, played by Tim Kazurinsky. The play is directed by Joe Mantello, who appeared as an actor alongside Jim Parsons in The Normal Heart, and whose directing credits include Airline Highway, Casa Valentina, and 9 to 5. The play is written by David Javerbaum, the producer of “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and previous writer and producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” It is based off his book “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God.”

Generally Positive Reviewsan act of god

Most all critics gave the play a standing ovation. Charles Isherwood at The New York Times found Parsons to be an adorable and funny version of God, and that the play is divinely funny itself. David Cote from Time Out New York found this play to be so good that it went beyond comfort, instead rattling the audience’s complacencies. Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter found Parsons to be surprisingly authoritative as the Great Almighty, and enjoyed the play greatly. Jesse Green from Vulture loved how the play moved with great ease between camp and profundity. Only Marilyn Stasio from Variety was more on the fence, deciding it was a waste of time to review a play by God, but she did praise Parsons’ performance as a source of light.

Box Office Started Well, Now Just Okay

When the show began previews on May 7, 2015, the first week of box office looked divine. Over the course of its first four performances, An Act of God brought in $477,703, which represented 93.01% of its gross potential. However, in the three full weeks since, the show has decreased each week in its weekly grosses. This past week, the week ending May 31, 2015, the show brought in $693,379, which represents only 68.80% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $349.00, the average paid admission was $93.92. This is a decrease from the previous week, when the average paid admission was $109.95. Therefore, the production is offering more discounts that they did the previous week. However, it seems to have worked, as the average audience capacity increased to 91.7%, up from 82.5% the week before. After these post opening reviews, interest should increase, and once the Tony Awards buzz wears down, An Act of God has the potential to have a successful summer.

“An Act of God” Begins Previews

Jim Parsons Stars in this Satirical Play

an act of godOn May 7, 2015, An Act of God began previews at Studio 54, produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company. In choosing to opening after the late April cut-off for Tony consideration, Roundabout was not positioning this show to succeed on the renown achieved by awards. Though it will be eligible for next year’s awards, it is generally the case that shows which have long ago shuttered before Tony consideration are often neglected or slighted. For example, Jez Butterworth’s highly commended play The River, which starred Hugh Jackman, broke box office records, and closed this fall after a limited engagement, did not receive any Tony nominations for this year’s awards. In any case, the show is sure to be an exciting one among audience members, if only for its lead actor, the beloved comedic star Jim Parsons. Parsons first came to fame from his television roles such as on “The Big Bang Theory,” and has since warmed many hearts on Broadway in Harvey and The Normal Heart. Though this play is not exactly a one-man show, as two other actors are billed in the cast, it is principally a showcase for Parsons’ comedic talents, as he plays none other than God. The play is written by David Javerbaum, based on his book The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. Javerbaum is also well known for being head writer and executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and soon to be the same on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

The Mysteries of Existence and Other Laughsan act of god

An Act of God professes to be a means for God to communicate his answers to the great questions such as the mysteries of existence. Satirical in nature, Jim Parsons speaks in a formalized godly voice to shed light on these profundities regarding existence and life on earth. The show is directed by Joe Mantello, who worked with Jim Parson as an actor in The Normal Heart, and who has directed many Broadway shows including Airline Highway, The Last Ship, and Casa Valentina. The two other roles are Michael, played by Christopher Fitzgerald (The Merchant of Venice, Chicago), and Gabriel, played by Tim Kazurinksy (“Saturday Night Live,” Police Academy films). The scenic design is by Scott Pask, the costumes are by David Zinn, the lighting design is by Hugh Vanstone, sound design is by Fitz Patton, and projection design is by Peter Nigrini. When David Javerbaum launched his book, he also coined the twitter handle @TheTweetOfGod. Now on Broadway, this twitter campaign is adapted for the stage show, making comments from the mouth of God in reference to the Broadway play.

A Divine Box Office Launch

In the first partial week of performances, in which An Act of God had four shows, the play brought in $477,703 at the box office, which represents 93.01% of its gross potential. This is an excellent feat for a new play with a small cast, especially amidst all the Tony excitement for other nominated shows. The following week, when the show had a full week of eight performances, it brought in $738,682, which is a slight decrease in percentage reached of gross potential, amounting to 73.3%. Still, the average paid ticket was $113.84, demonstrating that people are interested in paying top dollar for this hilarious and unusual show on Broadway. The show opens on May 28, 2015, and is currently scheduled to close on August 2, 2015.

“Cabaret” Concludes Its Run

Last Performance March 29 at Studio 54

cabaret Roundabout Theatre on BroadwayOn March 29, 2015, the Roundabout revival of Cabaret shuttered its doors at Studio 54, one of Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway venues. The revival has been playing since it began previews on March 21, 2014, ensuring that the show stayed on just past the one year mark. This production of Cabaret was based off an earlier production from 1993, also directed by Sam Mendes and co-directed by Rob Marshall, with choreography by Rob Marshall. Furthermore, Alan Cumming reprised his renowned role as the Emcee from that production, and he stayed with this revival for the entire run. It therefore makes sense that the production would choose to close upon the end of his contract, rather than rehearsing a replacement who would probably not fare as well as the box office. Instead, the focus has been on ensuring that his co-star, the leading lady playing Sally Bowles, would attract enough ticket buying attention. When the show began last year, Michelle Williams played the role of Sally. She received mixed reviews, and was able to attract some but not wildly outstanding box office attention. Michelle played that role until November 9, 2014. Throughout her stint, the highest weekly gross was $839,690, which took place in the week ending August 3, 2014.

Emma Stone as Sally Bowlesemma stone cabaret

Beginning November 11, 2014, Emma Stone stepped into the role of Sally Bowles, which she continued in until February 15, 2015. She ended up extended her run two weeks longer than originally planned. Emma Stone received excellent notices, and furthermore she brought the box office higher than it had been ever before in the run. The weekly gross box office record while she was in the lead was $1,051,850, which took place in the week ending January 4, 2015. That was one of two weeks in which the show made it into the millionaire’s club, the other being the week ending December 28, 2014. The combination of the high tourist Christmas season, along with Emma Stone, was a winning mix. Emma Stone was riding high off of her excellent reviews in the movie Birdman, where she played the daughter of a Broadway actor, with the movie primarily taking place backstage in a Broadway theatre. It was therefore fitting when she stepped into the role of Sally Bowles soon thereafter.

Sienna Miller as Sally Bowles

sienna millerTo complete the rest of Alan Cumming’s run, from February 17, 2015 until the last performance on March 29, 2015, Sienna Miller stepped into the role of Sally. Miller had been on Broadway once before, as the title role in After Miss Julie in 2009. Though she didn’t receive excellent reviews then, she has certainly captivated the attention of America through her screen performances in such recent hits as Foxcatcher and American Sniper. Miller, though not as successful as Stone, also did fairly well at the box office. She reached a high note in the final week, with a weekly gross of $935,989, although the credit is not due entirely to her of course, as a show generally picks up its ticket sales in the final week before closing. All in all, this revival of Cabaret can be considered a success, but the musical is such a classic that it almost supersedes the concept of success and failure. Whether or not the Tony committee chooses to recognize a revival of a revival, there will always be an audience delighted to see Cabaret.

The New Revival of Kander and Ebb’s ‘Cabaret’ Begins Previews

Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome.
These three words – or rather, this one word in these three languages – is deliciously familiar to Broadway fans far and wide.

cabaret Roundabout Theatre on Broadway It is therefore with great anticipation that audiences welcome the new revival of Cabaret to Broadway, which begins performances tonight: March, 21, 2014.  These are the lyrics that begin the opening number of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical masterpiece, sung by the ultimate provocateur, the Master of Ceremonies.  This role, in a turn of events generally unusual for Broadway but not for this show, is revived along with the musical itself.  Alan Cumming, the beloved Scottish actor most recently seen on Broadway in his one-man adaption of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, will reprise the Emcee role, which he also played in 1998 when the musical last appeared on Broadway.

The 2014 revival is produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company at one of their two Broadway houses: Studio 54 on West 54th Street.  This marks the show’s third Broadway revival.  It originally premiered in 1966, when it ran for 1,186 performances (including previews) and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning 8 (including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Featured Actor – Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies, and Best Director – Harold Prince).  Cabaret’s first Broadway revival took place in 1987, with Harold Prince once again directing and with Joel Grey reprising his role as the Emcee.  The second revival played 2,377 performances, becoming the third-longest running Broadway revival in history, and featured Alan Cumming as the Emcee, a role he had debuted in the 1993 London revival.

When Alan Cumming first played the Emcee, he significantly altered the interpretation from that portrayed by Joel Grey.  Grey had embodied the consummate asexual entertainer, but Cumming took on the role in a highly sexualized fashion.  Still, both interpretations were so inimitable that each actor was asked to reprise his role for the following revival.  Furthermore, following in Harold Prince’s tradition of the director reprising his position for this show, Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, who co-directed the last revival, will also direct the 2014 production.

Starring alongside Cumming in this revival is Michelle Williams in her Broadway debut, playing the role of Sally Bowles: the 19 year-old English cabaret performer who falls in love with a young American writer.  Williams rose to fame in the late 90s on the WB’s teen television drama Dawson’s Creek.  She was then nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Brokeback Mountain, and also garnered acclaim for her performances in I’m Not There, Synecdoche New York, Shutter Island, and Blue Valentine.  The musical also features Tony Award nominees Linda Emond (Death of a Salesman, Life x 3) as Fraulein Schneider, and Danny Burstein (Follies, Golden Boy, South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone) as Herr Schultz.

The musical officially opens on April 24, 2014.  Though the last revival ran for 6 years, this is slated to be a 24-week limited engagement, with the closing date scheduled for August 31, 2014.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Closes on Broadway

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Broadway MusicalFor the last time, The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be solved today, as the show’s audience votes whodunnit. The interactive musical, based on the unfinished Charles Dickens novel of the same name, has been delighting Roundabout Theatre Company audiences since October but is finally concluding its limited run at Studio 54.

Written by Rupert Holmes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood was first seen at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1985 before the production transferred to Broadway. The musical’s distinguishing feature has always been the fact that — in the spirit of the original novel’s lack of an ending — the show allows the audience to decide who committed the murder that forms the story’s central mystery.

Headed by Broadway legend Chita Rivera, The Mystery of Edwin Drood‘s cast includes Will Chase, Gregg Edelman, Jim Norton, Peter Benson, and Stephanie J. Block.

Broadway’s Edwin Drood Gives the Vote to Facebook Fans

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Broadway Musical, logoBroadway fans who have seen the Roundabout Theatre Company production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood know that one of its unique and popular features is that, during the 2nd act of the musical, the audience is invited to vote on various aspects of the plot, affecting the way that the show ends on any given night.

Now you don’t have to be at Studio 54, where the production plays, in order to register your vote. For a special Wednesday, January 30th performance, the ending of The Mystery of Edwin Drood will be determined by fans who vote on Facebook. By casting your vote on Facebook, you also make yourself eligible to win one of five pairs of tickets being given away to that performance.

To cast your vote, visit www.facebook.com/RoundaboutTheatreCompany/app_177914495580579. Votes must be in by January 24 at 11:59pm.