Broadway Hits & Flops:2006

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Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#0
Posted: 6/6/06 at 10:49pm
Variety published their annual statistics on the Broadway season 2005/06 that wrapped up May 28th.

First the good news:

-9 shows that opened this season have paid off and are classified as hits:

PRIMO
THE ODD COUPLE
SWEENEY TODD
JERSEY BOYS
THE COLOR PURPLE
BRIDGE & TUNNEL
THE PAJAMA GAME
THE HISTORY BOYS
FAITH HEALER

-Joining the above are the following holdovers from last season which have moved into the "hit" category:

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (**VARIETY erred here..show was a flop)
DOUBT
GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
THE PILLOWMAN
SPAMALOT
THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE

-The following shows are not yet determined:

THE WEDDING SINGER
THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE
TARZAN

-This next group of shows are classed as nonprofit/miscellaneous and do not get classified:

AFTER THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC
THE CONSTANT WIFE
A NAKED GIRL IN THE APPIAN WAY
SEASCAPE
A TOUCH OF THE POET
RABBIT HOLE
AWAKE AND SING!
THE THREEPENNY OPERA
SHINING CITY
(No mention was made anywhere on the list of THREE DAYS OF RAIN but the show has grossed $8 million since opening on April 19th.)

-And finally the FLOPS....


MARK TWAIN TONIGHT
THE BLONDE IN THE THUNDERBIRD
LENNON
LATINOLOGUES
IN MY LIFE
THE WOMAN IN WHITE
SOUVENIR
CHITA RIVERA: THE DANCE'S LIFE
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK
RING OF FIRE
WELL
FESTEN
LESTAT
THE CAINE MUTINY COURT-MARTIAL
HOT FEET

- and these holdovers from last season that closed in the red:

ALL SHOOK UP
BROOKLYN
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
THE GLASS MENAGERIE
JACKIE MASON: FRESHLY SQUEEZED
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
ON GOLDEN POND
STEEL MAGNOLIAS
SWEET CHARITY
WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?


The top 10 grossing shows of the 2005/06 season were:



1. WICKED ($69 million)
2. LION KING ($60 m.)
3. SPAMALOT ($53 m.)
4. MAMMA MIA! ($49 m.)
5. THE PRODUDERS ($40 m.)
6. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA ($38 m.)
7. DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS ($38 m.)
8. HAIRSPRAY ($34 m.)
9. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ($32 m.)
10.JERSEY BOYS ($28 m.)



Broadway attendance reached 20 year high (12,003,271 tickets sold) and the box office took in nearly $100 million more than last season for a total of $861,576,289. Of course part of this was a due to rising ticket prices. $110 is quickly becoming the new standard, though PRODUCERS is still at $99 top and RENT is at $85 while TARZAN has a $75 top ticket. (That's what Variety reports...is this true???)

While Broadway has had a great year it was pretty dismal on the road. LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, LITTLE WOMEN, , BOMBAY DREASM, DR DOOLITTLE and HAIRSPRAY failed to attract significant crowds, but WICKED, SPAMALOT, MAMMIA MIA and two LION KING COMPANIES kept the road presenters in coin.

On to 2006/07...

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

Updated On: 6/7/09 at 10:49 PM
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alterego
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#1
Posted: 6/6/06 at 10:55pm
I'm surprised that THE COLOUR PURPLE has reached hit status so quickly.
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ShuQ
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#2
Posted: 6/6/06 at 10:57pm
So quickly? It's been over six months...
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#3
Posted: 6/6/06 at 10:59pm
Yes, but with costs as they are these days it usually takes about a year(at least) at capacity.
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#4
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:01pm
But the shows listed were from this season...so none of them have had a year.
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#5
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:06pm
The Color Purple has a huge out-of-town draw. Tour buses literally pull up in front of the theatre and people come pouring in. It's the combination of a popular, familiar story and Oprah's name I think. I know my friends (all non-theatre people) can't name any of the other new musicals that opened up this season but they've all heard of this show and are interested in seeing it.

Updated On: 6/6/06 at 11:06 PM
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#6
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:11pm
Since when did Color Purple become an opera?
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#7
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:13pm
haha! sorry, see edit!
RentBoy86
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#8
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:15pm
Color Purple has done a few weeks in the high $900,000 and even broke the million mark multiple times. I'm sure it will sell well on the road. Why do you think HAIRSPRAY isn't selling well on the road? I was suprised when I saw it here because the theater wasn't full at all. Yet, it's such a big hit on Broadway. Why is that?
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#9
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:18pm
I think by now, everyone has seen Hairspray that wants to see it.
MargoChanning
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#10
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:20pm
Variety changed its formula for categorizing hits and flops this year where shows which haven't actually recouped -- DRS, Color Purple, Jersey Boys, History Boys? -- but are relatively close are put on the "hit" list. I think it's pretty stupid -- DRS has only repaid 75% and with its very weak box office figures in the last few months where it's actually been losing money some weeks, there's a chance it may close in the next few months as a flop if things don't improve considerably (and I don't think Keith Carradine and Brian D'Arcy James, as talented as they are, are going to set the box office on fire).


Also notice they put Pajama Game under the hit list when it belongs on the not-for-profit list since it's produced by Roundabout. That and the omission of Three Days of Rain makes this list VERY suspect and reflects very sloppy journalism.

Variety switched editors for the Legit pages this year and the drop off in quality and accuracy is already being seen. Variety used to be the industry bible, but now its developing a reputation for being unreliable and this is just one example.

PS A show like Color Purple which was capitalized at around $10 million typically takes at least a year to recoup. Wicked for example was a complete sellout for all but a couple of weeks its first year (and of course continues to be) and it still took 14 months for it to recoup.


"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
Updated On: 6/6/06 at 11:20 PM
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#11
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:27pm
and though we assume HOT FEET will be a flop how can they put it in the Flop section already?
Those are sad figures about DRS Margo, Maybe the tour will help.
MargoChanning
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#12
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:30pm
You're absolutely right. Variety used to never classify a show as a flop until it officially closed (hey you never know; cast a megastar or something and maybe the box office will turn around). To put Hot Feet on the flop list -- although we all KNOW it will eventually be one once TransAmerica pulls the plug -- is irresponsible. That's why for decades, Variety has always had categories for shows from previous seasons that later officially became flops and hits. To do otherwise is to engage in a form of crystal ball-gazing best left to Riedel and the tabloids, not to the official source for financial news on the entertainment industry.



"What a story........ everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end." -- Birdie [http://margochanning.broadwayworld.com/] "The Devil Be Hittin' Me" -- Whitney
Updated On: 6/6/06 at 11:30 PM
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#13
Posted: 6/6/06 at 11:57pm
Thanks for the info, Margo.

I did not know Variety had changed its legit editor. But since the price has gone up so much (C$ 11.00 plus tax) I onbly get the one issue each year now.

I was surprised they listed HOT FEET but reasoned they had inside info that it was closing soon.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#14
Posted: 6/7/06 at 9:43pm
Souvenir was hilarious...I am so sorry it died so quickly.
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#15
Posted: 6/7/06 at 9:46pm
This was FABULOUS to read! Thank you for posting! re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006
"TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD"- LES MISERABLES--- "THERE'S A SPECIAL KIND OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS SHOW PEOPLE... WE'RE BORN EVERY NIGHT AT HALF HOUR CALL!"--- CURTAINS
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#16
Posted: 6/7/06 at 11:39pm
Well, I guess we can call History Boys an actual hit now, no?

~Steven
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#17
Posted: 6/8/06 at 2:45am
Yup. (to the History Boys comment)


It's still weird to think of DRS As a flop. When I saw it this past March the theater was packed. It's like Millie, how it ran for a year or two and won a lot of major awards and then closed, but is considered a flop finacially.

I'm still suprised about Hairspray. How does it do good businesso on B'way yet is a flop on tour and in Vegas? Why don't the people who see it in NYC see it on tour?
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#18
Posted: 6/8/06 at 3:00am
Nowadays, shows tend to announce when they've recouped. Neither Jersey Boys nor The Color Purple has made any such announcement. Both seem likely to recoup, but I doubt that either has yet.

And what is The Pajama Game, a show produced by a nonprofit, doing on there? I wouldn't even be sure that The Pajama Game has recouped what it cost the Roundabout to produce, given the size of the house and the large Roundabout subscriber base that reduces the average ticket price, and the consequent grosses. It's a hit in public perception, yes, as are The Color Purple and Jersey Boys, but a hit in the traditional Variety sense of having recouped? I'm doubtful.

It does seem possible that the producers of the commercial transfer have already paid the Roundabout enough for the show to have made a profit for the Roundabout, but that still doesn't explain why Variety would be listing a show produced by a nonprofit theatre as a financial hit.

I wonder if there'll be a followup article to this one, clarifying things. The article strikes me as screwy.

Updated On: 6/8/06 at 03:00 AM
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#19
Posted: 6/8/06 at 4:14am
are all the older shows running on b'way hits now? what is the longest running flop?
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#20
Posted: 6/8/06 at 7:13am
Longest running flops are apparently Jekyll & Hyde (1543 performances) and the 42nd Street revival (1524 performances). Both failed to pay back their capitalization costs, despite lengthy runs, although Jekyll did get fairly close (75%, I believe), and will probably make up the different in stock/amateur rights.
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#21
Posted: 6/8/06 at 10:05am
Wow, I always thought the 42nd Street revival was an enormous sucess. You learn something new every day.
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#22
Posted: 6/8/06 at 2:20pm
It wasn't until the 1960s shows like MILK AND HONEY, WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN, and GOLDEN BOY all achieved long runs (more than 500 performances) yet still closed in the red.

Many people were shocked when FOLLIES closed in 1972 after a run of more than a year yet without recovering much (if any) of its investment.

RAGTIME ran 2 years but was a long way from being in the black when it was closed down. (That was due to the show's very high break-even. If the show had been more reasonably budgeted it could have sustained a much longer run. Sad thing is, we'll probably never know where that extra $150K a week went.)

Now shows run 3 years or more without turning a profit. To paraphrase Cole Porter, No Wonder our ticket prices are high.

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#23
Posted: 6/8/06 at 4:35pm
I just wanted to comment on how I for a long time also thougt that 42nd street had recouped until it was pointed out to me. With how DRS is looking, I suspect that unfortunatly, it might end up with Millie's fate.
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re: Broadway Hits & Flops:2006#24
Posted: 6/8/06 at 4:43pm
How could Jersey Boys not have recouped it's investment yet? That show is sold out at least 2 months in advance.
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