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 Show Ticket Sales Analysis w/e 4/20/2014

This week’s notable movements on Broadway are:

THE TWO MILLION DOLLAR CLUB
Two heavy hitting shows, Wicked and The Lion King, both managed to cross the threshold into the two million dollar gross mark this past week.  Whereas grossing over one million dollars is already a significant achievement for any show, even a musical, these two crowd-pleasing musicals continue to show incredible success at the box office.  The reason is that each show played nine performances this past week, which is one higher than the usual 8.  The producers of both shows must have been aiming to capitalize on the higher tourist traffic due to spring break, as well as the finally balmy weather.  Wicked, which has now been running for over 10 years, holds the record for the highest weekly gross of all time, which was $3.2 million over nine performances in the last week of 2013. The Lion King, which has been running since fall 1997, was the highest grossing show of 2013, pulling in $97 million throughout the year.
This past week, Wicked grossed a whomping $2,769,554, which was an increase of $839,192 from the previous week.  With a top ticket price of $300, this show has not resorted to price gauging for premium tickets as much as, say, The Book of Mormon, which charges as much as $477 for premium seats, granted in a smaller theatre.  Filling its 17,352 seats to 100% capacity, Wicked earned 146.44% of its gross potential due to premium ticket pricing.  The Lion King, on the other hand, also made it into the two million dollar club, grossing $2,543,377 this past week over its nine performances, which was an increase of $628,440 from the previous week.  The Lion King had a top ticket price of only $197.50, which demonstrates restraint of the part of the show’s producers, and with an average ticket price of $166.19, the show grossed $102.54% of its gross potential.

OVERALL AN EXCELLENT WEEK
With few exceptions, every show experienced an increase in gross ticket sales in the week ending April 20, 2014.  The four shows that went down did so only slightly, all losing under $100,000 from the previous week. Hedwig and the Angry Inch grossed $68,797 less than last week, presumably due to complimentary press tickets given out in anticipation of its wildly successful opening.  Mothers and Sons, Of Mice and Men, and The Velocity of Autumn all went down a relatively small amount as well.  Overall, however, this was a hugely successful week on Broadway.

The following are the Broadway ticket sales numbers for the week ending April 20, 2014:

Broadway Show Ticket Analysis 4-20-14

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap AvgPdAdm
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $507,224 6,201 85.46% $81.80
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,212,665 8,368 100.00% $144.92
ACT ONE $340,604 6,344 73.15% $53.69
AFTER MIDNIGHT $542,801 7,112 85.81% $76.32
ALADDIN $1,225,128 13,797 100.09% $88.80
ALL THE WAY $1,067,173 9,729 85.52% $109.69
BEAUTIFUL $1,027,244 8,147 99.26% $126.09
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $974,076 11,730 89.95% $83.04
CABARET $692,319 7,094 100.42% $97.59
CASA VALENTINA $212,097 4,796 93.09% $44.22
CHICAGO $845,382 8,275 95.78% $102.16
CINDERELLA $1,412,944 13,529 96.58% $104.44
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $815,295 7,116 100.95% $114.57
IF/THEN $1,104,188 10,372 98.89% $106.46
JERSEY BOYS $854,430 8,556 87.09% $99.86
KINKY BOOTS $1,629,283 11,341 99.55% $143.66
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $459,071 4,640 97.19% $98.94
LES MISÉRABLES $1,396,410 11,258 99.88% $124.04
MAMMA MIA! $950,480 9,472 101.54% $100.35
MATILDA $1,577,093 11,542 100.75% $136.64
MOTHERS AND SONS $187,192 3,355 52.29% $55.79
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,179,643 11,533 95.66% $102.28
NEWSIES $1,069,367 10,756 100.85% $99.42
OF MICE AND MEN $755,158 7,508 99.96% $100.58
ONCE $681,763 7,732 91.27% $88.17
PIPPIN $882,705 7,843 99.03% $112.55
ROCK OF AGES $421,341 4,477 95.99% $94.11
ROCKY $1,022,747 10,654 87.85% $96.00
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,689,905 8,752 102.63% $193.09
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $345,270 5,243 64.32% $65.85
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $463,064 8,212 95.67% $56.39
THE LION KING $2,543,377 15,304 100.03% $166.19
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,517,305 12,759 99.37% $118.92
THE REALISTIC JONESES $613,441 6,532 93.64% $93.91
THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN $94,400 4,011 75.49% $23.54
VIOLET $283,182 5,879 100.12% $48.17
WICKED $2,769,554 17,352 100.00% $159.61
Totals: $35,365,319 327,321 93.11% $100.32

Broadway ticket sales raw data are provided courtesy of The Broadway League All other data, text, opinion, charts and commentary are copyright © 2014 nytix.com

If/Then Begins Previews, With Idina Menzel, But Not With Adele Dazeem

Idina Menzel in if/then on BroadwayIdina Menzel has returned to the Broadway stage for the first time in almost 10 years.  If/Then, a new musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning team behind Next to Normal) began previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.  The musical is directed by Michael Greif, who first cast Idina in the role that became her big break – Maureen in Rent – and it is produced by David Stone, who mounted the production that earned her a 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical – for playing Elphaba in Wicked.  In If/Then, she plays a woman named Elizabeth on the verge of turning 40 who, after a divorce, decides to move to New York City to make a fresh start.  The official opening will be on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

If/Then is the only new musical this spring season that is not based on pre-existing source material.  With the marketplace competition dominated by recognizable titles such as Rocky, Aladdin, Bullets Over Broadway, and The Bridges of Madison County, If/Then might have a tough time standing out.

However, national awareness of this show and its star was unintentionally heightened during this past Sunday’s Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, broadcast, when John Travolta infamously mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name while introducing her performance of the song Let It Go from the Disney animated film Frozen.  Without displaying any sign of recognizing his error, Travolta presented her as “Adele Dazeem.”  Social media has been in an uproar about this flub ever since, and people who had never even heard of Idina Menzel now know that her name is, in fact, Idina Menzel.

Apparently, the producers of If/Then realized the benefits of this tangential publicity, as the show’s official twitter account referred to the Oscars incident by tweeting “You Know Her Name.  Idina Menzel stars in If/Then on Broadway March 5th.”  Furthermore, a less official statement, but one that is still traceable to the production team, made its way across the cybersphere.  In what appeared to be an insert from the Playbill for If/Then, a picture of Idina from the Oscars was accompanied by the text: “At this performance the role of “Elizabeth” will be played by “Adele Dazeem.””  A joke bio then followed which cited her as having played “Moritz” in Nert, followed by “Ephraima” in Wicked-ly, and referred her voice performance in the Disney animated musical Farfignugen.  (Clearly this was a play on “Maureen” in Rent, “Elphaba” in Wicked, and Frozen.)  Though the note has been confirmed not to have truly been inserted into Playbills in the theatre, it fooled many people who thought it was real.  Among others, the image was tweeted by Janet Krupin, an actress in If/Then.  As those inside the theatre’s doors were spreading the prank, it is possible that the producers were the ones behind it, taking advantage of the added exposure from Travolta’s blunder.

taye diggs and idina menzel

In any case, Idina Menzel already has a huge fan base from her vast success in her career thus far, and hopefully the show’s merits will allow it to shine at the box office.  The musical had a pre-Broadway engagement at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. from November 5, 2013 to December 8, 2013, the reviews for which were not wildly positive.  Though critics praised Idina’s performance as well as the score, the storyline was reportedly muddled.  The musical features a “Sliding Doors” – style plot with two “what-if” scenarios played out side-by-side, as Elizabeth becomes both the characters “Liz” and “Beth.”  Audiences found this a bit difficult to follow.  Still, fixing kinks is what out-of-town tryouts are for, and hopefully the creative team has had time to refine the plot structure in the intervening months.

The story is actually not far from Idina’s own experience.  She recently separated from her husband of 10 years and Rent co-star Taye Diggs, and at age 42, she is struggling to be a mother to her four year-old son while revitalizing her Broadway career.  After attempting to develop herself as a singer-songwriter in Los Angeles in the years since Wicked, she is now ready to take on this role which is surprisingly close to her heart.  A naturally raw and vulnerable performer, audiences can expect that her character will pulsate with the truth of her own experience, not to mention the gravity-defying power of her sensational singing voice – no matter what her name is: Idina, Adele, Elizabeth, Liz, or Beth.

Wicked Celebrates 10th Anniversary This Month

Wicked Broadway MusicalThe hit Broadway musical Wicked has been playing on the Great White Way for 10 years now, and the show is celebrating by releasing a deluxe two-disc edition of its original Broadway cast recording (available for digital download on October 29 and in stores on November 19).

The deluxe 10th Anniversary Wicked cast recording will feature bonus tracks, the single “Popular Song” by MIKA, new artwork, and a booklet that includes new essays by songwriter Stephen Schwartz and novelist Gregory Maguire. A vinyl edition of the album will also be available, directly for purchase at the Gershwin Theatre where Wicked plays or on WickedtheMusical.com.

Other Wicked 10th anniversary celebrations taking place this month include a showcase of the musical’s memorabilia and costumes at the NBC Experience Store at Rockefeller Center, as well as Facebook and Twitter promotions that will offer prizes to fans.

Broadway’s Wicked Makes It Into the Smithsonian Museum

Wicked Broadway Musical posterIf there was any doubt that the Broadway musical Wicked has made an indelible mark on American culture, that doubt should disappear with the news that the iconic Elphaba witch costume, hat, and broom from the hit musical have been inducted into the Smithsonian’s popular Washington D.C.-based National Museum of American History.

The induction ceremony took place on December 17, and the costume’s designer, Tony winner Susan Hilferty, was there to sign the deed of gift.  Donna Vivino and Tiffany Haas, current cast members from the Broadway production of Wicked, were there to sing a number from Stephen Schwartz’s popular score to the show.

National Museum of American History acting director Marc Pachter stated that, “This donation is a significant addition to the museum’s entertainment collection and shows the enduring cultural contribution of Broadway hits to American life.”  Current and former musicals The Lion King, Rent, and The King and I are among the other chosen few Broadway musicals to be represented at the Smithsonian museum.