“It Shoulda Been You” Closes on Broadway

Final Performance Sunday, August 9th at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre

it shoulda been youOn March 17, 2015, It Shoulda Been You began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The official opening night took place on April 14, 2015, in time for consideration for the 2015 Tony Awards. However, the show received no Tony Awards nominations. Although they did receive the chance to perform a number from the musical at the awards ceremony, word of mouth never picked up to an adequate degree following this exposure, and ticket sales remained mediocre throughout the run. Therefore, at the end of June, it was announced that the final performance for this wedding musical with a twist would be Sunday, August 9, 2015. The show is conceived by Barbara Anselmi, with a book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, and a musical score by Barbara Anselmi. Furthermore, the show was directed by David Hyde Pierce, who happens to be the husband of Brian Hargrove. Though he did not appear onstage, David Hyde Pierce was by far the biggest name involved with the production, as he is renowned for his acting roles in such television shows as Frasier, such films as Wet Hot American Summer and The Fisher King, and such Broadway productions as Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Curtains, and La Bête. Nevertheless, having this name behind the scenes did not boost ticket sales for the show as much as if he had been onstage.

Mixed Reviews for a Fun-Loving Wedding Comedyit shoulda been you

When It Shoulda Been You opened on April 14, 2015, it received mixed reviews. Ben Brantley of The New York Times commenced his review with the single word, “Oy.” This musical comedy set at a Jewish wedding did not win over this prestigious critic, who concluded his review by stating that the latter day twist (of the gay element) did not make this cocktail of clichés any less flat. The New York Post likewise stated that the show “lacks laughs” in the headline, finding the songs disposable and the plot twist improbable. The New York Daily News gave the show two stars out of five, calling it a harmless diversion that “shoulda” been better. Marilyn Stasio in Variety found it awfully funny, but admitted that nothing was particularly clever about the show. Vulture found the show not quite dead of laughs, but rather on life support. Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-, admitting that the grande dames of this show – Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris – deserve some applause. In any case, the overwhelming sentiment of these reviews is one of disappointment, and that did not allow this show to stick around for long enough to make its money back.

Mediocre Box Office Throughout the Run

In the final week of ticket sales, the week ending August 9, 2015, It Shoulda Been You made its highest weekly gross of the run. With a gross of $494,033, the show brought in 49.85% of its gross potential, and filled up an average of 84.9% of the audience. With a top ticket price of $197.00, the average paid admission was $71.85. However, at the low point of the run, the show only brought in $272,693, which represents 27.51% of its gross potential. All in all, the show never appeared to have the makings of a box office hit. However, the show’s capitalization was fairly low compared to most shows, and though the Broadway run will not make profits, the future market for licensing this show is optimistic. With a low cost to run and a fun-loving family sentiment, It Shoulda Been You may be a top pick for regional and amateur theatre licensing, allowing the investors to make back a bit more of their money.

“It Shoulda Been You” Box Office Unmoved By Reviews

Tyne Daly Stars In This Untraditional Wedding Comedy

it shoulda been youThis past week, the week ending May 24, 2015, It Shoulda Been You brought in $378,180 at the box office. This is a decrease from the first full week following the show’s opening on April 14, 2015. In the week ending April 26, 2015, which is the first week of eight performances after the post opening reviews hit the press, the gross was $447,362. However, a month later, the grosses are dragging, and this isn’t looking good for a musical that received no Tony nominations in an exciting period of Broadway theatergoing, when many other shows are buzzing from the awards season. It Shoulda Been You has a book by Brian Hargrove and a score by Barbara Anselmi, both of whom are making their Broadway debuts with this musical. The show had a pre-Broadway trial run at the George Street Playhouse in 2011, and then transferred to Broadway this season. The biggest name involved is the director, David Hyde Pierce, who is well known for his acting roles both on screen (“Frasier,” Nixon), as well as stage (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, La Bete, Curtains). This, however, is his Broadway directorial debut. As it happens, Brian Hargrove, the book writer, is his life partner. Nevertheless, Pierce and team have constructed an entertaining, unconventional, if still not utterly exhilarating, piece of musical theatre.

Difficulty at the Box Officeit shoulda been you

For this past week’s gross of $378,180, the show brought in only 38.16% of its gross potential. The greatest percentage reached of this potential thus far was the week ending April 26, 2015, when the show brought in $447,362, representing 45.14% of its gross potential. Still, the following week saw a decrease in ticket sales of $97,081, bringing the weekly box office down to $350,281. In the week following, it increased slightly, and then increased even more slightly the week after that, but this past week saw a decrease again of $40,236 from the week before. Therefore, this show is demonstrating no level of increased interest from the reviews, which were decidedly mixed. It did not help that It Shoulda Been You received no Tony nominations, and is a relatively small scale musical with few big names attached. The biggest star in the show is Tyne Daly, who plays the mother of the bride, and whose other Broadway credits include Mothers and Sons, Master Class, and Rabbit Hole. Though she is a fairly important name on Broadway, that isn’t generally enough to sway ticket sales when many other shows feature big Hollywood stars. The other main actors are Sierra Boggess (Master Class, The Little Mermaid), Harriet Harris (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Thoroughly Modern Millie), and David Burtka (Gypsy, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?). None of these names are large enough to have much impact on the box office, and with poor reviews and no Tony Awards recognition, this show may have difficulty maintaining even the low box office it has been achieving thus far.

Mixed Reviews from Critics

Ben Brantley of The New York Times did not like It Shoulda Been You, found the show aggressively bubbly. Meanwhile, Adam Feldman of Time Out New York felt that the only way to enjoy this musical was to deceive oneself that one is watching a lost TV show from the 1970s, denoting that the show feels dated. Steven Suskin from the Huffington Post proclaimed that the show was only laudable for its load of Jewish related humor. Robert Kahn from NBC New York enjoyed the campy nature of the show, and also found the cast to be a dream team for a musical about a wedding. Only Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter was fully in favor of this show, relishing in the modern twist presented by this otherwise traditional proceedings. However, these reviews were overall not very positive, and are certainly not a major incentive for ticket buyers in this otherwise very enticing Broadway season.

“It Shoulda Been You” Begins Previews

David Hyde Pierce Directs, Tyne Daly Stars

it shoulda been youOn March 17, 2015, It Shoulda Been You began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The musical comes to Broadway after a critically acclaimed run at the George Street Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. The show marks David Hyde Pierce’s Broadway directorial debut. As an actor Pierce has appeared on Broadway in many shows including Spamalot, La Bête, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. This is in addition to his numerous screen credits, most notably TV’s “Frasier.” The musical has book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove (who happens to be David Hyde Pierce’s husband) and a score by Barbara Anselmi. This marks the Broadway debuts of both Hargrove and Anselmi. This wedding musical comedy stars Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons, Master Class, Gypsy) as the mother of the bride, Sierra Boggess (Master Class, The Little Mermaid) as the bride, Harriet Harris (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Present Laughter) as the mother of the groom, and David Burtka (Gypsy, husband of Neil Patrick Harris) as the groom.

Further Cast and Creative Teamit shoulda been you

Additional roles are played by Montego Glover (Memphis, The Color Purple) as the bride’s maid of honor, Lisa Howard (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, 9 to 5) as the sister of the bride, and Edward Hibbert (Mrs. Warren’s Profession, The Drowsy Chaperone) as the wedding planner. The show is choreographed by Josh Rhodes (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, First Date), and the musical director is Lawrence Yurman (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Grey Gardens). In addition, the scenic design is by Anna Louizos (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella), the costume design is by William Ivey Long (On the Twentieth Century), the lighting design is by Ken Billington (Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway), and sound design is by Nevin Steinberg (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella), who happens to share the same last name as the bride’s family in this musical comedy.

A Wedding Comedy Gone Awry

In It Shoulda Been You, two families of different backgrounds come together for the wedding of their son and daughter. Rebecca Steinberg, the bride, comes from a very Jewish family, whereas Brian Howard, the groom, comes from a WASPier clan. The groom’s mother loves to drink, and the bridge’s mother loves to kvetch. Not only do the parents clash immediately, but there are other tensions brewing beneath the surface. Ultimately, the bride’s sister needs to come to the rescue, as she realizes her sister has gone too far and the secrets need to be revealed. The show is scheduled to open on April 14, 2015, and it is presently set for an open-ended run.

“Mothers and Sons” To Close on June 22

Terrence McNally’s New Play Stars Tyne Daly

Mothers and Sons, a new play by Terrence McNally, has been running at Broadway’s Golden Theatre since February 23, 2014.  Starring Tyne Daly, a frequent McNally collaborator, this play opened on March 24, 2014 to fairly positive reviews.  The production was directed by Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall), produced by Tom Kirdahy and Roy Furman, and the cast also featured Bobby Steggert, Grayson Taylor, and Frederick Weller.  The play received two Tony Award nominations: Best Play, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Tyne Daly.  However, soon after the Tony Awards played out and Mothers and Sons did not win any honors, the announcement was made that the show will close on June 22, 2013, having played 104 performances and 33 previews.

Mothers and Sons Broadway Show tyne daly

Mothers and Sons Broadway Show

Next Season, McNally Returns with “It’s Only a Play”

McNally is one of the few living playwrights whose work has proved the test of time, with his new plays still consistently being produced on Broadway, irrespective of their star power or recognizable brand titles.  Mothers and Sons is McNally’s 20th Broadway show, marking the 50 year anniversary of his work being shown on Broadway.  This is by no means the end of his streak, however, as next season his play It’s Only a Play will be revived starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Megan Mullally, and Micah Stock.  Directed by Jack O’Brien, that new production will begin previews in the fall at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with an opening night set for October 9, 2014.  That is sure to be an exciting production, as it will reunite Lane and Broderick who co-starred in the celebrated 2001 Broadway hit The Producers, not to mention the rest of its stupendous cast and creative team.

Financial Woes

Mothers and Sons has been struggling financially for some time, never earning much more than 30% of its gross potential since it began performances.  With an average ticket price around $65, the production has been offering heavy discounts throughout its run.  In the week ending June 8, 2014, the show only grossed $197,920, which is only 25.79% of its gross potential, and it filled up to only 43.9% of its audience capacity.  It must have been holding out for the Tony Awards, and when it did not win any, it cut its losses and announced closing.

Critical Performance

Like many of McNally’s plays, Mothers and Sons deals with concepts of homosexuality and AIDS.  It is the story of Katharine Gerard (played by Tyne Daly), who lost her son to AIDS 20 years ago, and now decides to visit her son’s partner Cal (Frederick Weller), who has since married a man named Will (Bobby Steggert).  Ben Brantley of The New York Times was lukewarm in his review, opining that the play’s intellectual debate overshadowed its emotional effects.  Still, he commended Tyne Daly’s performance and the production for the unstated sorrow beneath the words.  Other reviewers, such as NBC New York, Time Out New York, and the Associated Press, all gave more positive reviews.  Still, the play was unable to compete in this difficult marketplace against much more crowd-pleasing titles.  Perhaps the next McNally show will fare better.

‘Mothers and Sons’ starring Tyne Daly opens on Broadway.

A Moving Tribute – Manhattan style

In Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, Tyne Daly masterfully plays the lead as Katharine Gerard, a recently widowed woman who lost her only son Andre to AIDS 20 years ago.  In the opening scene, Katharine unexpectedly turns up at the Central Park West apartment of Andre’s former life partner, Cal Porter (played by Frederick Weller) .  Now alone in the world and still very much in denial about her son’s lifestyle choices, Katharine seeks solace from the one person closest to Andre prior to his untimely death.

Mothers and Sons Broadway Show tyne daly

It’s been nearly two decades since Katharine and Cal have last seen each other – at Andre’s funeral  – and the tension between them is palpable.  Katharine is resentful at Cal for taking her son away and living a lifestyle that she disapproves.  Cal is resentful at Katharine for shunning him at the funeral and refusing to acknowledge the pain he was suffering from losing Andre.

Secretly hoping that Cal has not moved on, Katharine instead finds that this once poor bohemian has become a successful money manager with a new husband (Bobby Steggert) and young son (Grayson Taylor).  Katharine cannot fathom why Cal’s life has improved so much since Andre’s death and hers has been in a steady decline.  She is angry and jealous.  They exchange bitter words.

And just when it appears these two couldn’t be further apart, secrets are revealed that not only highlight their similarities, but also brings them closer together.

The play pays tribute to the legions of gay men that were lost to the AIDS crisis in the late 20th century and shines a light on the pain of those who lived through this horrible epidemic.  When Katharine asks “When is someone going to write the next great American novel?”, Cal’s response is “It could have been Andre.”  It leaves you wondering what the world might have been like had this generation of bright and talented individuals survived.  This show is an obvious draw for gay couples from Chelsea, but should really seen by everyone because it’s a remembrance of a period in modern American history that has been largely overlooked.

Tyne Daly is believable in the role, at times you simultaneously want to hug her, shake some sense into her, and tell her she is not alone.  The subtle references to current New York City life and locations is a real treat and makes the story line even that much more enjoyable and believable.

Mothers and Sons is now playing at the Golden Theatre, located at 252 W. 45th Street in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district.

Tyne Daly To Star in Mothers and Sons on Broadway

Tyne DalyThe new Terrence McNally play, which recently had its premiere at Bucks County Playhouse, will come to Broadway in the spring of 2014. The production of the play, titled Mothers and Sons and scheduled to be directed by Sheryl Kaller, will star Tyne Daly (Rabbit Hole, Gypsy).

Mothers and Sons is about a woman who, 20 years after her son’s death, turns up on the doorstep of his former lover, now married with a son.

Tony Award winning playwright Terrence McNally has had many of his plays on Broadway over the years, including Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class. He has also written the books for many Broadway musicals, Ragtime and The Full Monty among them.