Ben Brantley called J.T. Rogers’ drama about the 1993 accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization “crackling theater” when he reviewed it over the summer. Since transferring from Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse to the Vivian Beaumont, it sold a healthy $297,000 in its first four previews, buoyed by LCT members with access to discounted tickets.
One of the season’s most anticipated musical revivals, the Scott Rudin-produced Hello, Dolly!, got off to a fast start in Broadway’s top-selling and best-attended week of the year.
The show grossed $1.4 million in five previews, according to the Broadway League. Both its $750 top seat and $196 average ticket were second only to Hamilton: An American Musical, which has an $849 top ticket and $267 average last week. The numbers confirm that Dolly!, with Midler singing on Broadway for the first time since Bette! Divine Madness in 1979, is on track to be the top-grossing new production of the spring. The classic last appeared on Broadway two decades ago, with Carol Channing reprising a role she played repeatedly on Broadway and on tour.
Starry musicals got off to a strong start in what was the industry’s best seven days since the first week of the year. Sales were $27.7 million, up 16 percent from the week before and up 17 percent from the same week last season, according to data from the Broadway League.
War Paint, with Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone as cosmetics icons Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, grossed $800,000 in seven previews. It’s by the same creative team as 2006’s Grey Gardens. And former Hamilton lead Phillipa Soo apparently proved a draw in Amélie. The adaptation of the 2001 movie did $377,000 in four previews. Average tickets to both exceeded $100.
Sunday in the Park with George, which began a more experimental phase for Stephen Sondheim when the musical debuted off-Broadway in 1983, is doing big business in its latest go-round.
Sales for the revival, with movie star Jake Gyllenhaal as pointillist painter Georges Seurat (and his fictional great-grandson in Act Two), jumped 18 percent to $1.1 million last week. The average ticket, at $140, was topped only by Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen.Continue Reading
Amid the commotion over the New York Times review of the Encores! revival of Big River revolving around context and criticism, the nonprofit Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) presents a free discussion on Monday, March 6, that includes Laura Collins-Hughes, who wrote the review. The following is a press release:Continue Reading
In an unusual reversal caused by the departure of its No. 2 theater critic, the New York Times relinquished its support of Significant Other once it arrived on Broadway.
What Charles Isherwood deemed “an entirely delightful new play” in his 2015 review off Broadway at the Roundabout, Ben Brantley found to be a “bubbly, teary comedy” that is reminiscent of Wendy Wasserstein but “talks too much and too explicitly” and might be more satisfying 20 minutes shorter. The review, which appears on page C3 in the paper rather than the section front, isn’t cited as a “critics’ pick.”
EXCLUSIVE: With a search underway to fill one of the highest-profile jobs in theater criticism, influential playwrights are pressing for diversity.
They’re among more than 800 in and outside of theater who signed a petition requesting the New York Times hire either a woman of color or a transgender person of color to replace Charles Isherwood, the second-string reviewer who was fired earlier this month. “For as long as I’ve been reading the Times, it’s been white men,” Winter Miller, the playwright who started the petition, said about its full-time theater reviewers. “Trump’s cabinet has more diversity.”
“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’s 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.