Broadway Grosses w/e 12/9/2018: Holiday Shoppers Choose Broadway

Broadway Grosses w/e 12/9/2018: Holiday Shoppers Choose Broadway

Broadway was back to business last week with the hustle and bustle we’ve grown accustomed to for December. Overall grosses jumped 6% this week topping $40M. With 38 productions on the boards, it’s as jam-packed as we’ve seen in several years.

The Cher Show and Network are both SRO* following their opening nights, while To Kill A Mocking Bird continues to pull in equally strong audiences for their previews.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name GrossGross TotalAttn %Capacity AvgPdAdm
ALADDIN $1,452,633.80 13,361 96.71% $108.72
AMERICAN SON $600,986.00 4,919 79.44% $122.18
ANASTASIA $731,978.29 7,433 81.29% $98.48
BEAUTIFUL $822,372.10 7,087 86.34% $116.04
CHICAGO $630,747.20 7,255 83.97% $86.94
COME FROM AWAY $1,198,285.56 8,513 101.73% $140.76
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $1,496,710.20 7,988 101.47% $187.37
FROZEN $1,965,553.00 13,279 98.57% $148.02
HAMILTON $2,945,976.00 10,734 101.57% $274.45
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $2,035,259.00 12,976 100.00% $156.85
HEAD OVER HEELS $208,970.25 3,595 46.66% $58.13
KING KONG $1,063,913.75 11,422 82.15% $93.15
KINKY BOOTS $777,360.15 8,005 70.27% $97.11
MEAN GIRLS $1,349,599.35 9,601 97.97% $140.57
MY FAIR LADY $1,165,341.50 8,220 96.12% $141.77
NETWORK $960,415.00 8,229 101.34% $116.71
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND $413,734.90 4,958 89.04% $83.45
PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL $1,266,873.00 9,165 98.08% $138.23
SCHOOL OF ROCK $811,958.70 8,829 72.46% $91.96
SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY $2,415,700.00 4,740 100.00% $509.64
SUMMER $609,962.50 6,694 56.92% $91.12
THE BAND’S VISIT $825,105.14 7,428 89.36% $111.08
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,241,820.50 8,681 103.64% $143.05
THE CHER SHOW $1,105,175.00 11,072 100.29% $99.82
THE FERRYMAN $1,002,042.80 7,215 88.51% $138.88
THE ILLUSIONISTS – MAGIC OF THE HOLIDAYS $1,047,880.00 11,114 84.81% $94.28
THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT $808,372.50 6,578 81.90% $122.89
THE LION KING $2,329,610.00 13,459 99.20% $173.09
THE NEW ONE $259,721.50 4,449 51.83% $58.38
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $928,941.20 10,227 79.65% $90.83
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG $310,882.32 4,723 69.13% $65.82
THE PROM $588,277.35 6,756 80.81% $87.07
THE WAVERLY GALLERY $458,291.50 5,738 91.14% $79.87
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $1,327,227.72 11,600 101.05% $114.42
TORCH SONG $230,878.00 3,232 69.06% $71.44
WAITRESS $660,027.50 6,603 78.98% $99.96
WICKED $2,000,580.00 14,667 98.23% $136.40
TOTALS $40,149,570.28 314,249 85.80% $124.11
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON +$4,889,319.65      

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, General Manager for DTE Management. Find out more here!

*Standing Room Only

Podcast Episode 170 – Literary Agent, Max Grossman

Agents get a bad rap.  They’re like lawyers and IRS agents.

But they’re nothing like those folks.

I can’t imagine that an IRS agent gets into this business because he or she loves taxes.

But agents, especially those in the theater, are all here for the same reason you and I are here . . . they love the theater.

Max Grossman, an agent for writers and designers at the powerful but still boutique Abrams Artists Agency, is a perfect example.  He grew up going to the theater, flirted with sports, and came back to the good side of the force.

We haven’t had many agents on this podcast (just this one so far – who happens to represent me!), partly because some of the agents I asked couldn’t get permission from their higher-ups (which says a lot, don’t you think?).

But when I asked Max, he was happy to sit down and talk about what an agent does as well as . . .

  • How he finds new writers.
  • That awkward but important moment when he has to tell a client he doesn’t love something the client wrote.
  • The art of negotiating as an agent.
  • Why some theater writers succeed in transitioning to film & TV and others don’t… and a tip or two for you if this is something YOU want to do.
  • What he’d tell all Broadway Producers if he had them in a room at once.

Enjoy this convo with Max and let it remind you that even when we’re on “different sides” in this business, we’re still on the same team.

Click here for my podcast with Max!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

My 5 Friday Finds: Cash isn’t king.

It’s Friday y’all.  Celebrate with these Friday Finds.

  1. Being “Fit” is not just about looking good, it’s about getting ahead.

Two years ago, I made a pretty big lifestyle change and left Coca-cola, McDonald’s and sugary Frappucinos behind.  Add some meditation and other mindfulness practices to that, plus an early morning wake-up call, and I got a crap ton more done.  And I’m not passing out at my desk.

I can’t believe in my search for a more “fit,” lifestyle I hadn’t run across before.  I don’t want you to miss it either.  Check it out here.  And listen to what super smart founder and art-trepreneur, Jane Jourdan, has to say.  She just wants to help you succeed.

  1. Who needs cash anyway?

I did it again.  I’m now 10 out of 10.  During my last TEN trips to international destinations, I have refused to exchange any currency.  And I didn’t need it.  I paid with apple pay, credit cards, and apps.  With no problem.  How long before cash disappears?  (It’s why I invested in a  “cashless currency”  stock – that is the only stock in my portfolio that is currently up, amidst this big pullback this week).

  1. Torch Song Announces A Quicker Than Expect Closing.

That’s four Broadway shows now . . . including my own Once on this Island that are closing in the next 30 days.  And School of Rock follows, and Kinky Boots in the spring and even long Off-Broadway runner Marvelous Wonderettes.  Yes, shows always close this time of year . . . but something feels different.

And I hear rumors that at least a couple more announcements are coming.

  1. Finish your shopping yet?

Need some ideas for the theater lover in your life?  Or do want to send someone a few hints on what to get you?  Click here for some great Broadway gift ideas.  There may be 18 days until Christmas, but you really only have about 14 shopping days left.

  1. Simple solutions make millions.

It was cold this week. So I put these on.  And I thought, “Wow, here’s something that I didn’t have when I was a kid.  And then someone saw a problem, and fixed it with a simple solution, and made a fortune.”  Takeaway?  Keep your eyes open for problems that others or YOU are having . . . and hack a solution.  Then sell it.  Then take the millions you make and produce shows.  🙂

Enjoy the weekend. Go see a show!

3 Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Bruce Springsteen.

On December 15th, Bruce Springsteen will end his historic, record-breaking, $108 million dollar (and counting!) Broadway run.

There have been some negative Nancy’s in our industry buzzing about a rock and roll star taking up residence in one of our only 41 Broadway theaters for over a year, at a time when so many shows are begging for a home (I was told that there 33 shows looking for a theater this Spring alone!  33!).

I’m not one of those Nancy’s, especially given what Bruce is doing up on that stage.  There’s no question that he’s providing a unique theatrical experience to his audience that he couldn’t give anywhere else . . . and if that wasn’t what Broadway was designed for, then I might as well go work for the MTA.

That said, I do worry that his success will lead to a bunch of suits looking to “monetize” an artist on Broadway.  In fact, there have already been rumors of a “concert series” coming to Broadway with LiveNation, CAA and EBG behind the venture (read the article here).

Don’t get me wrong.  This could be cool.

I just hope the executives look for artists who want to be here, not artists who want to make money.  Because believe it or not, trying to make money is usually the worst way to make money.

We need to remember that the reason Bruce did Broadway is that Bruce wanted to do Broadway . . . not because someone said, “Hey, let’s go gross $3mm a week.”

I digress.  This blog is about gratitude, specifically my gratitude for The Boss himself.  Bruce hit the trifecta of what I believe to be the goal of all Broadway shows.  And hitting all three is no small feat.

Here’s what Bruce’s show did:

  1.  He made money.

Returning money to investors and Producers allows those investors and Producers to do other shows, including those where they don’t expect to make money.  It is so, so, so rare to find a Broadway Producer or Broadway Investor who gets up from the table after winning a big hand like a Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia or Hamilton.  Usually, those who are making a ton on one show, have lost more than a ton on a handful of others.  When shows make money it helps other shows.  Not to mention it keeps hundreds of folks from stagehands and ushers and advertising execs employed!

  1. Press Agents Know All The Gossip

Bruce could have just done his concert.  But he knew he was entering a unique performance space . . . a space usually dedicated to storytelling.  So he told his story . . . in a way that he had never told it before.  He even told his audience not to sing along.  It was the anti-concert.  He did the opposite of what everyone expected.  And doing the unexpected is often how art is born.

  1. Press Agents Know All The Gossip

Thousands of people who came to see Springsteen were what our ticketing companies would define as “new to file.”  That means they haven’t seen a Broadway show before.  That means they’ll get marketing messages about Broadway shows in the future.   That means that there’s a much better chance they go to see another Broadway show, all thanks to The Boss.  For those of us in this biz for longer than the run of Moose Murders, we owe people and projects like Springsteen on Broadway enormous debt for attracting new audiences to our art form.  They may help us avoid going into debt in the future.

Thanks, Bruce.  Come back and see us again sometime, will ya?  You’re part of our family now.  And we’re so very lucky to have you at our table.

GUEST BLOG: Tips for Finding the Perfect Venue for Your Project by Britt Lafield

So you have raised all the capital for your production, you have your cast, you have your crew and marketing team. Great! Now you need a theater. In many ways, your theater is as important as the script, the director, and the cast. It is a physical extension of your production, and finding the right one is a major step in producing a success.

Having been a theatrical producer for many years and the General Manager of several theaters in the metropolitan New York area, I have seen shows that looked like their set was meant to be in a space and sets that have been shoe-horned in. I have dealt with shows that started out thinking the theater was totally wrong for their production, only to get creative and change the space to fit their needs, making their productions even more memorable in the process. Finding a theater is like buying a house. It is not something to be done on a whim without careful forethought.

To continue the house simile:  if you were looking to buy a house would you just look at the color of the walls? Likely not.  So here are some things to keep in mind while shopping for a theater.

  • Be realistic about your sales potential. The majority of your weekly running costs will be your theater rental, and a smart choice in venue will allow you to absorb and ride out the lean, tough weeks (like previews), freeing up money to be spent on marketing and advertisement. We all want our shows to sell out their entire run and perform forever – but know your target audience and don’t get a theater larger then you think you can sell. If you realistically think you will sell 75 to 100 seats a night, there is no reason to get a 250-seat theater, even if it’s available and in a good location. Having a two-week run in a prestigious theater is not as impressive as running a year in a lesser known space. If you underestimate your sales and suddenly find yourself not having enough seats to get everyone in every night, well there are a lot worse problems then having a “SOLD OUT” notice on your ticketing site for days on end. And you can always transfer if that need becomes evident.
  • Know your needs and prioritize them. Like so many things in life, you will probably not find a venue that satisfies all your needs. Go into your search with a list of what is important, and put them in order of priority. Is the number of seats your greatest priority? Or is having an intimate space so the audience feels like they are in the room with your actors what you are looking for? Do you need wing space or is a stage that is fixed-wall to fixed-wall okay? What about grid height? Do you want your set to be a house with two stories or does the action take place in a trailer? Think of every aspect of your production and take them all into account when looking for a theater. Solving set or lighting problems before you even load into the theater will help your budget and your frame of mind.
  • Realize that different theaters will provide you with different amenities. Some spaces come with a lighting package in-house. Some have an amazing sound system. Some come with nothing and you have to rent it all (a “four wall” deal). Are you producing a musical with a lot of lighting effects or a kitchen sink drama that wants more practical light? Does your sound design want effects to be coming from every corner of the theater or is it an acapella musical? Theaters charge you for what they give you. So why get a space that charges you more for lighting or sound when you don’t need it (see Item 2)?
  • Think of the experience you want your audience to have. I am a firm believer that the show doesn’t start when the lights go down, but as soon as the audience member enters the space (even before that, if you can pull it off). Make the common spaces like the lobby reflect your production. If the set is a Victorian manor, make the lobby into another room in the house. If the location is a town’s Main Street, make your concessions area into the local bar. The more you make the show an all-around and immersive experience for the audience, the more they will remember it. It is perfectly fine to simply have your production in a beautiful theater, but in this age of massive digital influx, theatre (and your production) must find ways to make any theatrical experience a unique one.

As in every aspect of producing theatre there will be surprises when dealing with your venue, so anticipate them as best you can. The more prepared you are before you enter into your search, the more questions you already have an answer to, the better it will be for your overall production.


Britt Lafield is the General Manager of the Davenport Theatre and an independent theatrical producer with 20 years experience in New York and Regional Theater, having produced on every level in New York, short of Broadway. He was also the Festival Administrator for the New York International Fringe Festival from 2009- 2013, and is the creator and producer of the Fringe Encore Series that just celebrated is 11th Anniversary.