It’s not often that a new show comes along which forces you to re-think everything you thought a musical was and IS supposed to be. On Saturday February 18, “Come from Away” the new musical by Irene Sankoff and David Hein began previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. This Canadian borne gem is re-defining everything we know about the genre. A cast of 12 playing over 28 different characters comprise this almost completely ensemble sung folk musical (the music style being another surprising break from what you’d expect to be traditional musical theatre fare). The set, designed by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt, proves without a doubt that story is key; modestly consisting of a center stage turn table, a rustic back wall with functioning entrances/exits, and a series of barren tree trunks that extend far into the grid flanking each side of the stage providing subtle masking for the on stage band. What proves to be most memorable is the delicate handling of the American tragedy, the 911 NYC World Trade Center attack. “Come from Away” is the gentle reminder that what we need most right now is humanity and love. Don’t miss one of the most memorable evenings on Broadway while you still have the chance.
My colleague Joshua and I are headed east to brave the winter as we advance many new projects. It’s an exciting time at Elite Theatricals as we prepare for a Broadway revival, two productions in Toronto, and the development of two new musicals.
I am also looking forward to taking in a few shows as this is proving to be a robust season of diversity on Broadway. The trip wouldn’t be complete without seeing the legendary Glenn Close as she takes the stage to reprise her iconic portrayal of Norma Desmond in the much anticipated revival of Sunset Boulevard. This is sure to be a night of theatre magic.
Yesterday one of the saddest announcements came from a family entertainment giant we have all loved for the last 146 years. In May, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will pack up the tent for good and this treasure will become a distant memory.
Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld made the announcement on the circus‘ website, saying it was a “difficult business decision.” He wrote, “Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”
What does this mean for variety entertainment? Have we become too technologically advanced to enjoy the classics? Can the circus be saved? SHOULD it be saved?
Nevertheless, catch this gem one final time before it’s too late.
In November I hit the road with the exciting new holiday show, Hip Hop Nutcracker, a reimagining of the holiday classic told through hip hop dance featuring an onstage DJ and opened by none other than Hip Hop legend Kurtis Blow. We traversed the country from one side to the other passing through 23 cities in 6 weeks playing to sold out houses, quite a feat for a modest production. I was thrilled to see that the holiday season touring market is thriving. Each year more shows are being added to the roster providing a diverse selection of much needed family entertainment. I can’t think of a better way to spend the evening than at the theatre, can you?
Without a doubt, my favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving. Nothing warms my heart more than sharing delicious home cooked food with the ones I love. This year I am especially thankful for the many opportunities that surround me every day and the incredibly talented people I am fortunate to work with that make what I do possible, I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. As 2016 comes to a close I look forward to the exciting new year ahead.
What are you grateful for?
Although grosses are marginally up from this time last year, sadly attendance and the number of running weeks are down. However much like everything else in life, Broadway is a constant ebb and flow. With the success of mega hits like Hamilton and newer shows like Waitress holding their own, I’m confident we will see a rise in numbers across the board over the next two quarters and into the spring.
Here’s the breakdown:
At the end of three-quarters, Broadway has grossed a total of $1,029,852,538.
Last season at the end of Q3 we had grossed $1,028,580,194.
That’s up .1% from last year.
9,522,036 people have seen Broadway shows so far this season.
9,799,882 people had seen Broadway shows at the same time last year.
That’s down 2.8% from last season.
There were 1,128 playing weeks so far this season.
There were 1,197 playing weeks last season.
That’s a decrease of 5.8% over last year.