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That’s Gross! Balls on Broadway

Welcome to That’s Gross!, a weekly analysis of one aspect of the Broadway Grosses. As always, the numbers below are provided by the The Broadway League. This week, we looked at…

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our pathetic dating life, it’s that it’s pretty rare to find a dude who likes both sports and theater. For some reason, those ESPN-watching bros hate going to see Broadway shows.

That’s not to say that pro-theater/pro-sports guys aren’t out there. Take Eric Simonson, for example. Here’s a theater dude who likes sports so much, he’s written not one but two Broadway plays about it; last season’s Lombardi and this season’s Magic/Bird. And producers obviously feel there’s an audience out there who, like Simonson, will support both genres. Either that, or they hope that all the ladies out there have an easier time dragging their men to these shows over Mamma Mia!

So are the producers right? Well, during the week ending April 22, Magic/Bird grossed $163,223 – just 18.84% of its potential gross–making it the lowest grossing show open on Broadway. That week Magic/Bird only filled 55.41% of its capacity at an average ticket price of $34.19. Not a good sign.

Things were a little different back when Lombardi opened. Looking at the grosses the week ending October 31, 2010 (Linda’s birthday, heeeeey), Lombardi filled 81.1% of its seats and took in $290,188 (at an average ticket price of $56.59) – substantially more than Magic/Bird. And though that was only 39.93% of Lombardi’s potential, it was at least an increase from the week before during previews. Magic/Bird saw a drop from previews.

So what can we make of all this? Do theater fans just prefer football to basketball? Are Packers fans more supportive than Lakers and Celtics fans combined? Is the NFL a better producing partner than the NBA? Probably not. Reviews may have mattered. Lombardi’s reviews were certainly more positive than Magic/Bird’s. Casting may also have an impact. Judith Light and Dan Lauria, who starred in Lombardi, are better known than Tug Coker and Kevin Daniels, the virtually unknown leads of Magic/Bird.

But what probably had the biggest impact was timing. Lombardi opened in the fall – a quieter time of year. The spring is a crowded time of year for shows in general – and this year, especially for plays. With shows like Pulitzer Prize-winner Clybourne Park and critical hit Other Desert Cities, it’s unlikely that Magic/Bird will get much love come award season. Though we hate to predict the demise of any show, if Magic/Bird is on your list, you might want to go sooner rather than later.

Curious about how the rest of Broadway fared this week? Take a gander at the rest of this week’s grosses.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Caroline April 30, 2012, 10:46 pm

    I have to say, as a lady who loves both sports and theatre, I have NO interest in seeing either of these shows. I love them both, but I just don’t want to love them together. It just holds no interest for me.

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