Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In The Company Of Underperforming Shows

In The Company Of Underperforming Shows

Take a look at this past week's box office totals for Broadway, and you'll see familiar names in the top two slots in terms of both capacity and total dollars earned. Wicked remains Rialto's top grossing show with $1,380,917 and 100% capacity. Jersey Boys continues its reign as the top capacity show at 100.7% while earning $1,166,505, enough to make it the second top-grossing production of the week yet again.

But look down the list, and you'll see largely well-reviewed shows in the bottom five, both in terms of capacity and earnings for the week:

Lowest Grossing Shows:

Journey's End ($157,884)
Prelude To A Kiss ($198,534)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee ($251,860)
Talk Radio ($305,723)
Company ($314,585)

Lowest Capacity Shows:

Journey's End (41.2%)
The Producers (53.9%)
Company (56.5%)
Talk Radio (61.4%)
Grey Gardens (71.4%)

Look below those numbers, and you'll find that the limited run of Prelude To A Kiss has the distinction of having the lowest average ticket price of just $42.88, followed by Journey's End at $47.10. That tells me that Prelude To A Kiss has been very successfully selling cheap seats through TKTS -- enough that the Roundabout Theatre production has been boosted to 78.2% of capacity. Journey's End, on the other hand, appears to be flat out suffering from America's battle fatigue from all things warlike. Indeed, The Playgoer reports that the end of this limited run show may be expedited.

No surprise on the other end of the spectrum as Jersey Boys and Wicked provide the one-two punch in terms of highest average ticket price, coming in at $118.51 and $95.42, respectively.

Granted, a couple of the shows that turn up on the bottom end have run their course: The Producers and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee -- the former is already set to close, while the latter's Chicago sitdown incarnation closed Sunday. Grey Gardens' 70%+ capacity is probably not sounding alarm bells at the Walter Kerr just yet.

But Talk Radio's placement on both charts demonstrates that not even a critically-acclaimed performance by Liev Schreiber, who was dubbed "the finest American theater actor of his generation" by Ben Brantley, is enough to attract theatregoers.

Much to my personal chagrin, Company appears to be losing steam. In a week where the majority of shows enjoyed an upward bump at the box office, Company lost 5.8% of its capacity week over week, although if there's a silver lining, its average ticket price increased from $63.50 to $66.49.

After finally getting around to seeing this production last month, I was struck by how good it actually is, and I couldn't help but think how deserving it was of a larger audience. But judging from its box office, it could very soon be placed in the company of other closing shows. That would be a shame.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for Company tickets.
Click here for Grey Gardens ticket information.
Click here for Jersey Boys ticket information.
Click here for Journey's End ticket information.
Click here for Prelude To A Kiss tickets.
Click here for Talk Radio tickets.
Click here for The Producers ticket information.
Click here for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee tickets.
Click here for Wicked tickets.

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At 27 March, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

After I posted my original story, I learned late this afternoon that the Chicago production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will live again, from April 18 through September 2 at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place.


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