“There are still many shows doing exceptionally well, but it seems there are more shows falling off the vine really quickly,” said Carl Moellenberg, who has had 40 Broadway producing credits since 2006. “If people are only seeing two or three shows a year, they want to see the shows everyone is talking about.”
Broadway audiences can’t get enough of Glenn Close or Andrew Lloyd Webber.
A new revival of Sunset Boulevard grossed an impressive $834,000 in its first five previews last week at the Palace Theatre, according to figures from the trade association the Broadway League. It is Close’s 13th role on Broadway since 1974. And along with Cats, School of Rock and The Phantom of the Opera, the adaptation of the Billy Wilder classic film noir is the fourth Lloyd Webber musical running on Broadway.
UPDATED THROUGHOUT: The New York Times is seeking a full-time theater critic to replace Charles Isherwood.
Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy confirmed Isherwood’s departure as the No. 2 theater critic, but said the paper doesn’t discuss personnel matters. Isherwood joined the Times from Variety in 2004. He declined to comment.
The position has been one of the most influential in theater journalism. Its current minimum salary is $2,075 a week, said Grant Glickson, the president of the NewsGuild of New York and a staff assistant and head of the bargaining unit at the Times. That’s just above the Broadway performer minimum of $1,974, according to Actors’ Equity.
In Transit, the low-grossing new musical that Bill and Hillary Clinton saw Wednesday night, is losing less money than you might think.
As Broadway’s first a cappella musical, it doesn’t employ musicians, besides 11 hardworking onstage actor-vocalists, including one who does percussion. (Steven “HeaveN” Cantor and Chesney Snow alternate in the role of “Boxman.”)
According to a budget filed over the summer with the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, to pay expenses the production needs minimum weekly sales of $439,000. (The figure includes credit card commissions and other extras that count toward Broadway League official grosses.) Lead producer Janet Rosen said in an interview that because the show was budgeted conservatively, actual breakeven is below $400,000. Sales last week were $338,000.
Dear Evan Hansen, the new show by the lyricists of La La Land, had a record week on Broadway as their movie musical got 14 Academy Award nominations.
With music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen is about an anxious high school boy (played by Ben Platt) whose life changes after a lie he tells about a troubled classmate goes viral. Steven Levenson wrote the book. Sales for the week ending Jan. 29 increased by 1% to $1.1 million. That’s its best showing for an eight-performance week since it began previews on Nov. 14. The last week of 2016 was higher, when Dear Evan Hansen and most other shows held nine performances to capitalize on the influx of tourists.
EXCLUSIVE: Hamilton, Next to Normal, War Horse and South Pacific have something in common besides acclaim and awards. They share a patron in the federal government.
The National Endowment for the Arts, which may face an existential threat from the new administration in Washington, has subsidized the development of many of the most praised shows on Broadway and off-Broadway. (See below for a list of nonprofits that have received notable NEA grants.)
Last week, The Hill website reported that Trump officials are considering eliminating the agency, which Lyndon Johnson signed into law in 1965 to invest in culture around the country. “Its demise would be tragic and unnecessary,” Andre Bishop, the producing artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, said in an emailed statement.
Nineteen new musicals and revivals have opened or are scheduled to open through April 27, the cut-off for Tony Award eligibility. That’s the biggest tally since 1980-81, according to the Broadway League. If all 19 arrive, 2016-17 will have the most musicals since Ronald Reagan was first sworn in as President.
Without an early Hamilton-scale blockbuster, the competition for theatergoers and Tony Awards should be robust. There are constraints on how much demand can rise to meet supply. In recent seasons, about 15 percent of all seats have gone unsold. The average musical customer sees just four a year, according to the Broadway League’s demographic study, regardless of how many are playing. And of the 13 new musicals this season, five at most will be nominated for best musical and guaranteed a performance slot on the Tony telecast in June.
EXCLUSIVE: A star of the new heyday of television is taking a swing at a golden age musical.
Jeffrey Richards leads a team of producers developing it for 2018. Richards enhanced (or subsidized) an Encores! revival of the show at New York City Center in 2008. Kathleen Marshall is to direct and choreograph Damn Yankees on Broadway.
Introduced after runaway advance sales, it’s the biggest price ever for a musical revival. As of a few weeks ago, Dolly’s costliest ticket on Telecharge or at the box office was $425. But like Hamilton, it’s exploding on the resale market. Prime Dolly tickets on StubHub exceed $2,000, with seventh row center offered for over $5,000, with fees.
Broadway’s unofficial post-election strategy: hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Citing Donald Trump’s campaign statements, commercials and recent appointments, many theater artists — including actors, writers and producers — fear that as president he’ll curtail civil liberties, accelerate climate change and undermine the nation’s moral authority and standing in the world.