Sure this post is two days late, but I've been reeling, feeling bloody awful in the wake of two high profile closing notices that went up this week.
Although I'll have more to say on the other one shortly, let me discuss my dismay that Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson received the ax on Wednesday. (Almost immediately after the closing notice was posted, the shiny starry revival of That Championship Season -- which on paper stands to be a bigger box office success -- announced it would take BBAJ's Bernard B. Jacobs berth starting in February.)
Yes, my review was among the minority taking a dim view of the show. But I was rather enthusiastic about Michael Friedman's rollicking rock score and the brilliant star-making turn offered by Benjamin Walker as the eponymous 7th President.
My dismay is two-fold.
First, while I can't claim to be among the production's boosters, my hat is off to the enormous effort expended by director Alex Timbers and the Public Theater to make Broadway relevant to a new audience. I fully appreciate that I may be getting a little long in the tooth and may not be the type of audience a show like this was seeking. But I fully support their valiant attempt to infuse fresh new, er, blood into the Great White Way.
Second, I submit that the box office wasn't that bad. Last week, the production grossed $442,113, playing to a capacity of 64.7%. Though those are not the greatest figures, they're far from the worst, which includes shows that are barely attracting 50% and have indicated that they'll be around for a longer haul. Certainly the box office would likely have improved over the upcoming holidays, right? Unfortunately, a lot of talent will be out of work when the show closes January 2.
One silver lining at the box office has been that Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson's average ticket price was at a respectable $82.92 last week -- that's just under the average ticket price for The Phantom Of The Opera, which grossed over $1 million last week.
Perhaps BBAJ's producers should have given considerably more thought to how to attract their target audience, who simply can't afford Broadway prices. My recommendation before the show opened was for them to invest in a $20 ticket promotion -- you know, with that guy on the bill who happens to be the star of the show. My hunch is that they could have earned a major steam of buzz and the type of word-of-mouth that could have kept the show open considerably longer.
Instead, we have a closing notice coming too bloody soon.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
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