Remember how every producer on Broadway works entirely around the Tony Awards when they schedule and cast their shows? Yeah, well this is why, folks. Producers – and all of Broadway – believe that three minutes of national television exposure translates into dollars that box office. A Tony can keep a struggling show open, and the lack of one can close a floundering show in an instant.
So yeah, for all our passion and fervor for live theater, this entire industry lives and dies by a single, annual TV show. Doesn’t that make you feel awesome? Anyway.
But does a Tony really fill a theater? Faster than, say, just making a good show or casting Ricky Martin? Let’s look at capacities for this week and last in a few of the major show categories. Also, here is the same information for the week after the nominations were announced.
|BEST MUSICAL TONY PERFORMANCES||THIS WEEK
|Leap of Faith (closed)||–||–||–|
|Nice Work If You Can Get It||79.0%||80.4%||-1.4%|
So, Once was the star of the night, taking home eight Tony awards, including The Big One. It was already doing well at the box office, but it was over 100% for the first time. You know what that means: standing room only! And check this out: grosses were $955,362 — the highest yet for the show — and a $110,019 increase from the week before. Could it eventually join the million-dollar club?
Newsies was already going great business at the box office. But the Tony performance probably didn’t hurt, and could have had something to do with the $1,049,581 it took in last week, also its highest gross so far. Nice Work won awards for featured actor and actress in a musical, but still saw a drop in capacity. Grosses, however, were up from the week before at $930,679. That’s not bad, but the show did take in over $1,000,000 four weeks in a row in May.
|BEST PLAY||THIS WEEK (w/e 6/17/12)||LAST WEEK (w/e 6/10/12)||DIFF %|
|Other Desert Cities||87.5%||72.5%||15.0%|
|Peter and the Starcatcher||79.8%||80.2%||-0.4%|
|Venus in Fur||82.7%||70.9%||11.8%|
Like the currently-open best musical nominees, all the best play nominees won at least one award. Clybourne Park was the big winner, and yet had a drop in capacity. But capacity percentage doesn’t tell the whole story. Grosses were up $25,193 to $451,082. Not a huge increase, but it was Clybourne’s best week yet in terms of gross.
Speaking of closing shows, Other Desert Cities and Venus in Fur both closed on Sunday and had the biggest increases of any show in capacity and gross, respectively (Venus In Fur made $635,622, up $213,407 from the week before). Audiences were likely rushing to see Nina Arianda and Judith Light in their Tony-winning turns. Procrastinators.
Though Peter and the Starcatcher didn’t win best play, it did win 5 Tonys. Only Once won more. And though it had an ever-so-slight drop in capacity, it too had its highest grosses to date, taking in $573,367.
|BEST REVIVAL – MUSICAL||THIS WEEK (w/e 6/17/12)||LAST WEEK (w/e 6/10/12)||DIFF %|
|The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess||74.7%||68.9%||5.8%|
|Jesus Christ Superstar||54.9%||55.6%||-0.7%|
It was surprising to many that Porgy beat Follies for best musical, but what’s not shocking is that Audra MacDonald took home another Tony and the show increased its capacity and gross. It made $655,364 — still far off from the $921,404 it took in the week ending January 29, but it’s been open longer than most of the big winners. Evita did not win any awards (but we all won a little when we got to stare at Ricky Martin during the telecast), but it had its lowest capacity and second-lowest gross (still a walloping $1,238,442) to date. Ricky Martin was out of both shows on June 13, so it’s possible that there were some ticket returns. Jesus Christ Superstar also went home empty-handed and its numbers continue to drop. We’re wondering how long it can stay open.
So there you have it. A mixed bag, all together. Did the Tonys make you rush out and get tickets to any shows? Hit up the comments and let us know!