A Successful Run Praised by Critics Far and Wide
On July 10, 2016, She Loves Me played its final performance at Studio 54 in a Roundabout Theatre Company production. It had been playing since its first preview on February 19, 2016, and officially opened on March 17, 2016. Upon opening, it received a unanimous round of rave reviews. Ben Brantley of The New York Times began his review by comparing the taste of vanilla, a reference to one of the show’s songs, to sweet deliverance. Time Out New York called the book “witty,” the score “swoonworthy,” and the production “perfectly crafted.” Deadline also loved the show, remarking how its astonishing pedigree has surprisingly not brought it to the forefront of the most celebrated of American musical theatre, which this production might very well change. The Hollywood Reporter praised Scott Ellis’ effortless and buoyant direction, the silvery soprano voice of lead actress Laura Benanti, and the confident charms of lead actor Zachary Levi. When a show is all about romance, which She Loves Me certainly is, then the chemistry of the two stars is invaluable – and this production hit the nail on the head. As evidence to the success of this show, it earned eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical. While it only won one – that for Best Scenic Design for David Rockwell, this was due to Hamilton’s overwhelming sweep of the awards this year, and She Loves Me was nevertheless a force to be reckoned with throughout its run.
Amongst the historic achievements of this revival, beyond putting the show back on the map, She Loves Me also became the first ever Broadway show to live stream to audiences. Through the streaming service BroadwayHD, the June 30, 2016 production was broadcast live online. The success of the event led the producers to extend the live stream availability until the date of the final performance on July 10, 2016. The show was available on BroadwayHD.com for $9.99, which is significantly less expensive than the price of a Broadway ticket. With beloved television stars such as Jane Krakowski, who played Ilona Ritter in She Loves Me, it was a great choice for audiences around the country to tune in and see at least one familiar face. Furthermore, in the fall, the show will make its big screen debut, Screenvision Media filmed multiple captures of the event, which they will cut together into a releasable version in movie theatres, similar to the National Theatre in London’s National Theatre Live series. To add to the multimedia nature of the event, She Loves Me also recorded a cast album, which has been available since June 10, 2016 from Ghostlight Records. The album has been available in stores since July 8, 2016.
Moderate Performance at the Box Office
Despite the multiple accolades and achievements of the production, it never became a megahit on the level of Hamilton, The Lion King, or Wicked. This is for many reasons: that it is a revival, that the subject matter tends towards the old-fashioned with a modern kick, which is difficult for marketing purposes, and that it was part of the Roundabout Theatre Company season, never intending to extend beyond a finite engagement. In its last week of box office figures, the week ending July 10, 2016, She Loves Me brought in $712,072, which was the highest gross of the run. That represented 79.14% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $252.00, the average paid admission was $90.71. Therefore, although the show has not likely recouped its initial investment during the Broadway run, it will have multiple continued revenue streams between the cast album, BroadwayHD live stream version, and Screenvision Media cinema release.