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Broadway Box Office Drops $2.5M In Week After Tony Nominations

"Hedwig And The Angry Inch" Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals & Curtain CallThey were sweating bullets over Broadway in the week following the peculiar Tony Awards nominations, with many shows dropping further from the previous week’s post-holiday decline. Overall, total take on Broadway for the week ending Sunday fell to $29,244,147, from $31,700,745 the week before, according to figures released by the trade group the Broadway League.

Related: Does Tony Love Oscar? Why Nominations Show The Complicated Affair Between Broadway And Hollywood

Biggest loser in terms of cash was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, a holdover from last season. Cindy was down a whopping $483,689, taking in less than 40% of her potential of $994,068 and filling about 60% of the seats at the Broadway Theatre, at an average ticket price of $75.63. Matilda, also a holdover, was down $328,393, to $924,624; attendance dropped to a smidgen under 89%. Long-running Wicked was off $342,640, at a still-impressive $1,732,110.

Related: Tony Noms’ Many Celebrity Snubs Leaves CBS Mulling What Might Have Been

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Broadway Double Threat Josh Prince Signs With WME

Josh Prince mugDirector-choreographer Josh Prince, currently represented on Broadway with Tony best-musical nominee Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, has signed with WME. Prince previously choreographed the Shrek tuner. He’s worked with Sam Mendes’ Bridge Project and is founder and artistic director of The Broadway Dance Lab, a nonprofit that encourages use of dance in early stages of a musical’s development. He’s also repped by DGRW and Sendroff & Baruch.

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Broadway’s Marquees Will Dim Tonight For `Vanya’ Director Nicky Martin

By | Friday May 2, 2014 @ 2:39pm PDT

The lights on BroadwayNicky Martin will go dark for a minute this evening at 7:45 p.m. to honor the memory of Nicholas Martin, the director whose production of Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike was last year’s Tony Award winner for Best Play.

Martin, who made his Broadway debut as an actor in 1966, died on April 30. He was 75. For Vanya – Christopher Durang‘s wild comedy with Chekhovian overtones, undertones and Sigourney Weaver — Martin was Tony-nominated for his staging, though he lost to Pam MacKinnon. A comedy specialist and beloved figure in the theater community, Martin also had a long-running Broadway hit with The 39 Steps. That one, a slapstick re-enactment of the Hitchcock film, originated at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, where he was artistic director. Previous directing stints on Broadway included Present Laughter, Mauritius, Butley and Hedda Gabler. Known to all as Nicky, Martin also was a regular at the bucolic Williamstown Theatre Festival, in Western Massachusetts.

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‘Green Acres’ Moving From Hooterville To Hollywood: Feature Film, Broadway Play In The Works

By | Friday May 2, 2014 @ 1:15pm PDT

GreenAcres132EXCLUSIVE: Green Acres, the popular 1960s sitcom that starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as displaced New Yorkers who try to make a go of it on a farm in the Midwest, is being made into a feature film and is being developed and shopped as a stage play for Broadway. Rights to the property were acquired by director Richard L. Bare, one of the most prolific helmers on the original series, and by producer Phillip Goldfine through his production company Hollywood Media Bridge. The filmmakers are looking to hire a writer/director for a feature adaptation. Goldfine won an Oscar this year for the documentary short, The Lady In No. 6.

Related: Warners Sets ‘Gilligan’s Island’ As Star Vehicle For Josh Gad

Green Acres, with its memorable sing-a-long theme song (watch the opening credits below), was created and produced by Jay Sommers from the 1950s radio show. The sitcom ran on CBS 1965-71 and was known frecast-photoor its snappy one-liners and a bevy of beloved supporting characters from the town of Hooterville. Among them: Sam Drucker, the smart aleck who owned the general store; Eb Dawson the innocent, bumbling farmhand; Hank Kimball, a not-so-bright county agent; and Mr. Haney, a sleazy salesman with an unsteady, cracking voice. Haney was the one who sold the rundown farm, sight unseen, to the unsuspecting Oliver Douglas (Albert) and his pampered, Manhattan socialite wife (Gabor). With the electricity always blowing and the only phone on top of a telephone pole, Oliver Douglas had his hands full negotiating the zaniness.

Related: Chuck Hogan On The Case For Vince Vaughn, ‘Rockford Files’

Arnold the PigOther memorable characters include the Monroes, ill-suited carpenters who either screw up or never complete any construction at the Douglas house, and the Douglas’ elderly neighbors Fred and Doris Ziffel and their “son” Arnold, a pig. Arnold watches TV and understands English, so the Ziffels and others relentlessly chastise Oliver for neither treating it as human nor understanding the pig’s “English” (snorts). Arnold supposedly was a Rhodes scholar who loved to read books. Read More »

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‘Kinky’s’ Booty & ‘Rocky’s’ Knockout Punch Raise Bar In Broadway Ad Landscape

By | Friday May 2, 2014 @ 11:15am PDT

Column_BroadwayDarth Vader wears a size 16 shoe, which is murder on the cobbler when you add to the mix red patent leather by the yard, three-inch spike heels and some bling. P1010238Kinky boots, indeed.

Ticket buyers leave Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre feeling they got their money’s worth after the musical’s 20-minute balls-to-the-wall fight sequences, complete with spraying blood, clanging bells and the primal thunk of glove pounding flesh. How’d they do that? they wonder. Drew Hodges, the Broadway ad man who shook up the industry in 1996 with his mold-breaking campaigns for Rent featuring rough graphics, grimy looking punk photography and dare-you-to-see-this copy, entered the Tony Awards season this week with more game-changers that are separating the shows he represents from the sea of exclamation points and quotation marks that are the bread-and-butter of theatrical advertising.

ROC-NYT-FP-lowresStart with Rocky, which got middling notices on the whole but acclaim for Rocky’s championship fight with Apollo Creed. The ad for the show — a gritty photo of that climactic match — explains how the sequence was designed for maximum realism. A line from the photo leads to a box telling us, for example, that custom-made gloves were designed to allow the actors to land full punches without hurting each other.

Remember how Penn & Teller would open their act by telling us how magic tricks were done? It didn’t wreck the show. The same logic applies here. “You have to remind everybody how you are not like the others,” Hodges told me this morning at the midtown Manhattan offices of his company, SPOTCO. “Here, it’s not like we’re giving away a secret. The question is, Does the ad make them want to see it? Well, knowing things beforehand heightens the experience.”

Hodges and his group worked with Rocky director Alex Timbers to narrow down which effects to fit into the ad. “Alex gave us 20 ideas, and we may do another. It’s about the reality of the show, and people are loving that scene. The point is to freeze the moment.”

Producer Scott Rudin, who’s not connected with Rocky, sent Hodges a note calling it “the best ad of the season.”

“And no-one does shock and awe like Scott,” Hodges said, relishing the hat-tip. Read More »

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Broadway Loses `Velocity’, Gains Gladys Knight As Tony Awards Hit Silly Season

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 2:14pm PDT

"The Velocity Of Autumn" Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals & Curtain CallEstelle Parsons earned her fifth Tony Award nomination yesterday. Her reward? Unemployment. Parsons, who is 86 and made her Broadway debut in 1957, is the star of The Velocity Of Autumn, in which she plays a youngster of a mere 79 years who has outfitted her Brooklyn brownstone with Molotov cocktails should anyone try to move her into a home. Despite sterling reviews for the indomitable actress, the play got middling reviews. The producers posted a closing notice of this Sunday. It will have played 22 previews and 16 regular performances at the Booth Theatre.

Related: Tony Noms’ Many Celebrity Snubs Leaves CBS Mulling What Might Have Been

The closing, along with several weird Tony nominations in a season ripe with them, has consequences beyond just the Velocity company. Why? Because Velocity is one of six shows that received Tony nominations but closed before, or will close immediately in the wake of, yesterday’s announcement of the nominees. So many of the 800-plus Tony voters, most of them producers scattered around the U.S., will not have seen the nominated shows. That means they’re not supposed to vote in any category that includes a show they haven’t seen. And since those producers are thinking about prospective ticket sales (OK, and quality), they’re also not likely to cast a vote in favor of a show unlikely to make money at their box offices.

Related: Tony Noms Show Complicated Affair Between Broadway And Hollywood

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Does Tony Love Oscar? Why Nominations Show The Complicated Affair Between Broadway And Hollywood

Pete Hammond

Despite numerous “snubs” to the so-called Hollywood contingent that has taken Broadway by storm, this season today’s Tonyaladdin-broadway-musical Award nominations really prove just how reliant the Great White Way has become on movies.  I’m not just talking those big stars such as Denzel Washington or Daniel Radcliffe (chief among today’s snubees), but the actual movies themselves. Nineteen of those nominations went to Broadway-Rocky-musical-to-open-on-Broadway-in-Februaryized musical versions of  Disney’s Aladdin, Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky and Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges Of Madison County. Only Aladdin scored a Best New Musical nom. But Allen was nominated for his book (his first foray into musicals) based on his Oscar-nominated screenplay. Kelli O’Hara was the key nomination of four given to Bridges Of Madison County in the same role that won the original movie’s sole Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep. 1-bridges-of-madison-county_650Eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken is among the five nominations for Aladdin by reprising his Oscar-winning score and adding just enough new tunes to qualify for the Tonys too. Rocky’s leading actor Andy Karl grabbed the Best Actor equivalent of Stallone’s Best Actor Oscar nom in 1976 but is likely, just as Sly did, to lose to much stiffer competition in the category. But the musical version’s scenic design, with its spectacular boxing arena, is certain to be victorious on Tony night.

Related: Tony Noms’ Many Celebrity Snubs Leaves CBS Mulling What Might Have Been
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Disney’s Broadway Trio Combines For $4 Million Week

By | Monday April 28, 2014 @ 3:19pm PDT

lion-king-broadway-theatreDisney’s three Broadway blockbusters, including its latest entry Aladdin, took in more than $4 million at the box office last week, which proved to be a slow one for much of the competition. Aladdin, at the company’s flagship Broadway hangout the New Amsterdam Theatre on West 42nd Street, rang up $1,194,265 in sales, according to figures released this afternoon by the Broadway League, the industry trade group. Newsies, at the Nederlander Theatre, sold $812,665 in tickets. The Lion King, at the Minskoff Theatre, continued to roar as the top-grossing show in the District, selling $2,143,746 in tickets. All three shows were at or over 100% of audience capacity for the week ending Sunday. Read More »

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NY Theater Awards Season Heats Up With Drama Desk Nominations

By | Friday April 25, 2014 @ 2:50pm PDT

DramaDeskAwardsThe Drama Desk announced nominations this morning for the 59th edition of its awards ceremony, which will take place June 1 at The Town Hall in NYC. The group, which includes writers, editors, academics and others, can take credit for its refusal to segregate Broadway from its off- and off-off- siblings, and therefore reflects a wider range of choices (and quality) than the Theater District-only Tonys. (The nominations also guarantee the group a high-profile in display advertisement in the run-up to the Tony Awards.) And so, for example, the competition for Best Musical includes not only Broadway’s Rocky, Aladdin, The Bridges Of Madison County, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder but also the Public Theater’s well-received productions of Fun Home and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Best Play nominees include Broadway’s Outside Mullingar and All The Way as well as five plays presented off-Broadway. Here’s the complete list of nominees:

Related: ‘Violet’ & ‘Hedwig’ Ineligible For Tony Best Musical Category

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Tony Bosses Declare Broadway Debutantes ‘Violet’ & ‘Hedwig’ Ineligible For Best Musical Category

By | Friday April 25, 2014 @ 2:14pm PDT

"Hedwig And The Angry Inch" Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals & Curtain CallBroadway’s two most acclaimed new musicals — the gritty Neil Patrick Harris starrer Hedwig And The Angry Inch and the Sutton Foster bus vehicleViolet – will not be eligible for Tony Award nominations in the all-important Best New Musical category. Instead, they’ll be eligible in the category of Best Revival of a Musical. The decisions were announced today after the final meeting of the Tony Awards Administration Committee, which determines eligibility in all of the Tony categories. Nominations – and, ultimately, wins — in the Best Musical and Best Play categories typically carry the most weight at the box office.

VioletBoth Hedwig and Violet were mounted previously off-Broadway, the reason cited for declaring them no-goes in the top categories. Widely considered the best new musicals in a season short on critical and customer consensus, the result is likely to mean a slew of less popular shows will float to the top of the Best-dressed list when nominations are announced Tuesday.

Related: Broadway Says “Wilkommen” to ‘Cabaret’, Tony Race

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Deadline Names Jeremy Gerard Executive Editor And Chief Theater Columnist

By | Friday April 25, 2014 @ 6:49am PDT

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 24, 2014) — Penske Media Corporation’s Jay Penske and Deadline.com co-editors Mike Fleming Jr and Nellie Andreeva announced today the hiring of veteran New York journalist Jeremy Gerard as Executive Editor and Chief Theater Columnist. He will spearhead the expansion of Deadline’s Gotham coverage of media and the theater and lend his vast experience to the editing team on special projects. He starts immediately and can be reached at jeremy@deadline.com.

portrait“We are thrilled and honored to have Jeremy join our talented team at Deadline.com—and with this significant hire, we extend our coverage of theatre, publishing, and NY media,” commented Jay Penske, Chairman and CEO of PMC.

“After making excuses to Deadline readers in legit, publishing, media and other New York-based media businesses about not having the resources to cover them as aggressively as we do Hollywood, Nellie and I feel we have found the perfect guy to give these businesses their due,” Fleming said. “I’ve worked with Jeremy several times over our careers and have found him as skillful a writer as he is an editor. Teaming Jeremy with our ace business/finance guy David Lieberman gives us an opportunity to give New York the full Deadline treatment the town deserves.”

Gerard brings to Deadline a most respected byline in entertainment journalism. Most recently the chief drama critic and senior editor at Bloomberg News, Gerard has been the Broadway reporter at The New York Times, chief critic and New York Editor … Read More »

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Obamas Attending ‘A Raisin In The Sun’ On Broadway Tomorrow

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 7:20pm PDT

dezel washington barack obamaBroadway has made no secret of casting Hollywood A-listers in the past few years in an effort to fill more seats, and tomorrow the Great White Way will be getting two particularly prestigious patrons. If all goes to plan, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are set to attend the 8 PM performance of the revival of A Raisin In The Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The president will be in NYC earlier in the day on official biz. This latest version of the revered 1959 Lorraine Hansberry play stars Denzel Washington in the Oscar and Tony winner’s first return to Broadway since 2010′s Fences. The Kenny Leon-directed and Scott Rudin-produced play sees A Raisin In The Sun return to the very theater where it first opened more than 50 years ago. Having had previews last month, the play — which is set on Chicago’s South Side, where the Obamas have a home in the upscale Kenwood neighborhood — opened on April 3 to a limited engagement that sees it running just to June 15. I’m assuming the Obamas, who will be heading back to D.C. after taking in the show, didn’t have to pull too many favors to get tickets to the nearly sold-out run. But with a hot commodity like this, it helps that they know people.

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‘Pretty Woman’ Heading To Broadway As Musical

By | Wednesday March 12, 2014 @ 11:56am PDT
Mike Fleming

PrettyWomanThe iconic 1990 pic Pretty Woman, the one that made Julia Roberts a star playing a gold-hearted hooker looking for a fairy-tale ending, is on its way to becoming a Broadway musical, and the movie’s director Garry Marshall and screenwriter JF Lawton are writing the book. According to the NY Post‘s Michael Riedel, who broke the story, Marshall is currently in NY with producer Paula Wagner to meet with composers, lyricists and directors to make the project happen. The original musical was written by Lawton as an edgier tale that ended with the prostitute thrown out of the rich guy’s limo, picking up the $3,000 tossed after her, before the film was Disney-fied and became one of the biggest hits of the 1990s. Still, the subject matter is risque, and I’m imagining the songs that could line the production.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal To Make Broadway Debut In Tom Stoppard Revival ‘The Real Thing’

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 9:36am PST

Maggie Gyllenhaal BroadwayOscar-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is set to make her Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, opposite Ewan McGregor, who is also taking his first trip to the Great White Way. The Tony-winning play is about a playwright (McGregor) who leaves his wife for another woman (Gyllenhaal) and questions whether life is imitating art and if their love is the real deal. Sam Gold is directing the Roundabout Theatre Company production, which opens in limited engagement October 30 with previews starting October 2 at the American Airlines Theatre. The play originally premiered in 1982 in London and won the 1984 Tony for Best Play, but it hasn’t been produced on Broadway in more than a decade. Gyllenhaal’s upcoming screen credits include Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank with Michael Fassbender and the BBC/Sundance original series The Honourable Woman.

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Another ‘Book Of Mormon’ Accolade: Biggest Touring Gross

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 6:28am PST
Mike Fleming

mormonThe movie version of The Book Of Mormon is inevitable, but it’s no wonder Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone and Scott Rudin are in no hurry. The musical just broke the house record at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre with $2.8 million, which breaks Wicked‘s tally for the highest eight performance gross in Broadway touring history. In a recent interview with Deadine, Rudin said that the show is a $250 million annual industry.

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Oprah Winfrey Eyeing Broadway Debut In ‘’Night, Mother’ Revival

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 5:55pm PST

oprah__120522141605Oprah Winfrey — Main Stem star? The multihyphenate might be adding another line to her resume as she’s in talks to make her Broadway acting debut in a revival of ‘Night, Mother, The New York Times reports. The TV legend and OWN founder would star opposite Tony winner Audra McDonald in a new production to be helmed by Broadway veteran George C. Wolfe that’s targeting the 2015-16 season. Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer-winning drama about a woman trying to persuade her daughter not to commit suicide premiered in 1983, earning four Tony noms including best play. It had a brief revival in the mid-2000s. Winfrey, whose only Broadway experience is as a producer of the 2005-08 show The Color Purple, returned to acting after a long layoff in last year’s Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

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Mike Nichols’ ‘Betrayal’ Revival With Daniel Craig And Rachel Weisz Sets Broadway Weekly Gross Record

By | Tuesday December 31, 2013 @ 7:59am PST
Mike Fleming

betrThe star system might be waning in Hollywood, but not when those stars take to the Broadway stage. The Mike Nichols-directed revival of the Harold Pinter play Betrayal, which stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Spall, just set a new Broadway box office record for a play when it grossed $1.44 million for the week ending December 19. That surpassed the mark formerly held by the Tom Hanks-starrer Lucky Guy, which earlier this year took in $1.412 million for the week ending April 21. First performed at London’s National Theatre in 1978, Betrayal ends its limited run this Sunday, January 5. Weisz and Craig play a married couple whose happiness is threatened when her long affair with her publisher husband’s lit agent best friend (Spall) is exposed.

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Hugh Jackman Vanishes From Broadway’s ‘Houdini’, Cites Time Commitment

By | Monday December 23, 2013 @ 5:08pm PST

houd__130618030835-275x145The actor apparently has too much on his agenda to take on a starring role in a stage musical. For starters, Paramount is developing the Harlan Coben novel Six Years as a potential star vehicle for Hugh Jackman, and Fox is eyeing another installment of his X-Men spinoff The Wolverine. “I have greatly Hugh Jackman mughenjoyed the collaborative process on Houdini,” Jackman said in a statement. “Ultimately, though, I wasn’t able to commit to the time this role will require. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the creative team and I wish everyone the best. I know they’re well on their way to making something extraordinary.” It’s the second high-profile departure from Houdini this year. Back in January, Aaron Sorkin pulled an escape act from the upcoming show in which he was to make his debut as a librettist. He also had to pull out because of scheduling difficulties, less than a month after Jackman boarded the project from composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell).

Related: Hugh Jackman Joins Neill Blomkamp’s Sci-Fi ‘Chappie’

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‘Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester Joins James Franco, Chris O’Dowd In ‘Of Mice And Men’

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 1:00am PST
Mike Fleming

meesterGossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester will play Curley’s wife in Of Mice And Men, joining James Franco & Chris O’Dowd in the first Broadway stage production of the John Steinbeck tale in 40 years. This one’s directed by Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro and produced by David Binder.

Meester started her career in regional theatre before getting the Gossip Girl gig. She also starred with Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw in Country Strong. The play officially opens April 16 at the Longacre Theatre, and will run through July 27.

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