December 29 2009

Three Broadway Shows Confirmed To Close Jan. 4th, More Possible

broadwayIt appears things are still rough for some of the shows on the Great White Way.

Last Jan. I wrote up how nine Broadway shows were going dark, well come this Jan., at least three more will join them as well as gossip of as many as six more.  The three confirmed shows are:

The rumored others include:

All of this is interesting as other shows are breaking records.  Super popular Wicked set a record for the Rialto Theater last week by grossing $2,092,745, breaking the previous record which was set just this past Thanksgiving by the same show.  The Lion King set a record of $1,714,566 for the Minskoff Theater the same week.

Variety goes on to say:

Big-name tourist-attracting tuners — including old fave “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,248,943) and up-and-down offering “Shrek the Musical” ($1,055,261) — were generally the productions to post major bumps. The recently opened revival of “A Little Night Music” ($985,662), fueled by the star power of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, once again logged excellent biz while “In the Heights” ($895,479) saw receipts leap up by a whopping 53%.

Even with the records, year-vs.-year, the tallies were down:  $24.3 million this year as opposed to $27.2 million last year.

As you look over all these numbers and stats, though, a pattern emerges: Known properties and names are drawing the crowds.  As I stated in the post from last year, ticket prices have surged to north of $200 per ticket on some shows, so people are only willing to shell that out on shows they know will be good, or actors and actresses they love.  No one is experimenting with their Broadway viewings because you simply can’t afford to.  Sure Hair is a known show, but not this production of it, and the same could be said about Ragtime.  Just because a revival of a show is supposed to stick close to the original, it doesn’t mean it will be as good.  Wicked has gone through numerous cast changes, but it is still the same production as the first day, it’s a known quantity.

So, how can Broadway reverse this?  Sadly I think we will see more licensed properties coming in.  More Disney movies getting turned in to stage productions make sense because they are family friendly, but with that happening, how will the next great show ever be discovered?

Broadway has to bring those ticket prices down to cement its future, otherwise it will begin to look like one giant rehashing of licensed properties.

UPDATE 12/29: The press firm for God of Carnage has reached out to me and said:

I just saw your piece on shows closing.  It lists God of Carnage among some other shows that you say may close.  This could not be farther from the truth.  I don’t know where you got this information; perhaps you miss-quoted Perez Hilton who mentioned several shows that were doing WELL after a sentence about other shows closing.  Can you please take God of Carnage off this list?   God of Carnage is one of the top-grossing plays on Broadway.

My source for this information was Showbiz 411, which listed this information as gossip, and as I did also.  I would never use Perez Hilton as a primary source on anything.  The list stands as it was originally printed, but I have no problem including their quote on the status of the show.

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