Archive for the ‘Broadway’ Category

Broadway’s Dark Summer

29th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

According to an article on Bloomberg by mid-July 49% of Broadway theatres will be closed to any production despite coming out of a record year for ticket sales. Many shows ended profitably, some were scheduled to close at this point, while there were the usual commercial failures.

It means that during the height of the summer season there will be a limited choice available to the tourists.

“Our costs to carry a dark theater are very low — real estate taxes, insurance, heat and electricity — because we lay everybody off,” Philip J. Smith, chairman of the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 Broadway theaters, told me [Jeremy Gerard].

Smith points out that while the number of dark theaters may be higher than last year, it’s business as usual: His houses are all booked with shows scheduled to open in the fall and winter. Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman and Daniel “Bond, James Bond” Craig are moving into the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with Keith Huff’s “A Steady Rain.” That new police drama will be produced by the husband-and-wife team of Frederick Zollo and Barbara Broccoli (whose late father, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, produced the Bond movies).

And the Barrymore Theatre, which had been home to Rush and his dysfunctional royal court, has been booked by producer Jeffrey Richards and his partners for David Mamet’s new play, “Race.” An acclaimed Los Angeles revival of Mamet’s “Oleanna” is also in the offing for the coming season.

Perhaps it will be an Autumn Awakening this year.

More Women Directors on Broadway

29th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

The New York Times reports that it’s been a good year for women directing Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, a fact that should not be remarkable, but remains noteworthy because it’s been a rarity – thus far:

As it turns out, bias against female playwrights has also received attention recently because of a new study that found there is discrimination against women who are writing for the theater. Last week at a meeting about the research, participants discussed how bias in one part of the business can ripple throughout the industry, affecting directors and others.

Still, Ms. MacKinnon and Ms. Sardelli said they feel fortunate to be directing when the industry is opening up to more women. “I think the generation above me really had it harder,” Ms. MacKinnon said. “That’s when there was the one girl in the room.”

She added, though: “It seems to me that there are number of men who aren’t that much older than me whose names you see over and over again. There are not that many women who have that kind of relationships with producers. How do you break into that tiny Rolodex?”

The Kushner Process

16th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

Playwrights might be interested in the The New York Times article on Tony Kushner’s new play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures, in which Kushner describes his writing process for his current project, and how he is developing it for the stage.

Brodway Remains Buoyant

27th May 2009 by Maura McHugh

New York Times reports on figures released recently by the Broadway League about figures for the grosses for the 2008-9 Broadway theatre season.

Broadway musicals and plays made approximately $943.3 million during that period, which is a slight increase on the previous season, and just enough to set a new record for total grosses — the previous high was set during the 2006-7 theatre season, which had total grosses of $938.5 million.

Last summer and fall, a few producers prepared for the recession by postponing or canceling planned Broadway shows, and a few others shuttered long-running shows such as “Hairspray” and “Spring Awakening.” Some cited a lack of capital from investors; others expressed concern that potential audience members might stay away to save money.

But many other producers responded to the recession by offering steep discounts to plays and musicals, and by staging an unusually high number of appealing shows that drew positive reviews from critics.

Drama Desk Awards

19th May 2009 by Maura McHugh

The 54th Annual Drama Desk Awards have been announced.

The following awards should be of particular interest to our members:

Outstanding Play
Ruined by Lynn Nottage

Outstanding Musical
Billy Elliot The Musical

Outstanding Revival of a Play
The Norman Conquests by Alan Ayckbourn

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Hair

Outstanding Ensemble Performances
The cast of The Norman Conquests and the cast of The Cripple of Inishmaan