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Theater & Broadway News

Broadway to shutter box office disappointments 'The Miracle Worker' and 'All About Me'

By Allison Reitz

March was a boom month for Broadway, which saw an influx of shows parading onto the Great White Way in time for spring. But for a couple of the season's newest shows, boom quickly turned to bust as lagging ticket sales led to announcements of early shuttering.

Final bows will come April 4 for two productions at opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum -- a revival of the historical drama "The Miracle Worker," and the new musical revue-style comedy "All About Me."

Broadway ticket sales stabilize with over $20 million in box office returns

By Carol-Ann Rudy

This past week saw box office ticket sales drop slightly to $20,739,845 from $20,836,876 the previous reporting period. That puts the gross ticket sales ahead by 0.9 percent this year from the same time in the previous season, $842,058,049 to $834,490,954. Five productions came into the million-dollar category led by Wicked at the Gershwin, The Lion King at the Minskoff, The Addams Family at the Lunt-Fontanne, Billy Elliot at the Imperial and Jersey Boys at the August Wilson, all musicals.

Twyla Tharp swings to Sinatra for new Broadway musical 'Come Fly Away'

By Allison Reitz

The hits of Frank Sinatra are brought to life through dance in Twyla Tharp's latest production, "Come Fly Away," which she also directs. The two-hour production opened on March 25 at Broadway's Marquis Theatre, where it is booked for an open-ended run.

Plot takes a backseat to fancy footwork in Tharp's latest dance musical, which follows the exploits of four couples on the floor of a swanky nightclub. Dialogue is minimally improvised if not nonexistent, as Tharp focuses on storytelling through the movements of her dancers and the live orchestra that brings Old Blue Eyes' songs to life. The lyrics themselves are piped-in from Sinatra's recordings, though vocalist Hilary Gardner occasionally adds her voice to the mix.

Broadway ticket sales climb to more than $20 million this past week

By Carol-Ann Rudy

There was a healthy increase in ticket sales this past week, $20,836.876 compared to the previous reporting period of $18,747,373. The number of productions, 32, did not change from last week and could not account for the increase but a rise in attendance does. Total attendance reached almost 86 percent this past week compared to 83 percent the week ending March 14. The total gross for the season to date of $821,318,204 represents a 0.7 percent increase in dollars compared to the same point in time last season of $815,577,583.

Dame Edna, Michael Feinstein square off in critically panned 'All About Me'

By Carol-Ann Rudy

Written by Christopher Durang, Michael Feinstein and Barry Humphries, the musical revue and comedy mash-up "All About Me" opened March 18 at Henry Miller's Theatre.

Directed by Casey Nicholaw, the production stars acclaimed standards singer-pianist Feinstein alongside Humphries, who appears as his famed character, the brash Aussie comedienne Dame Edna Everage. Both initially appear under the premise that each believed he or she was the featured performer of the evening. The result is an evening of dueling performances and one-ups, with support from Jodi Capeless and on-stage chorus boys Gregory Butler and Jon-Paul Mateo.

Broadway ticket sales skyrocket with the help of four new productions

By Carol-Ann Rudy

Broadway tickets sales heated up this past week, increasing to $18,747,373 compared to $15,227,613 the previous reporting period. The figures for the season to date have hit $800,481,329 compared to $796,430,515 at the same point last year. The number of productions increasing from 28 to 32 this past week is responsible for much of the increase. This week's million-dollar productions were Wicked at the Gershwin, The Addams Family at the Lunt-Fontanne, The Lion King at the Minskoff, Billy Elliot at the Imperial and Jersey Boys at the August Wilson.

Tallulah Bankhead's 'Looped' life brings laughs to Broadway

By Carol-Ann Rudy

"Looped," a comedy by Matthew Lombardo based on the life of actress Tallulah Bankhead, had audiences laughing on March 14, its opening night at the Lyceum Theatre. This was not the first turn in the production for lead actress Valerie Harper; she played Bankhead in the world premiere of the comedy in 2008 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Starring four-time Emmy Award winner Harper as the famously outrageous Bankhead, the special is based on a fabled sound editing session in 1965.

'Spider-Man' musical hits another speed bump with loss of lead actress

By Allison Reitz

The web surrounding oft-delayed Broadway production "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" has become a bit more tangled with the departure of leading lady Evan Rachel Wood.

Producers for the superhero musical, with tunes penned by U2's own Bono and The Edge, released a statement regarding the sudden split on March 9. Wood was cast as Mary Jane Watson, the main love interest for Spider-Man's alter-ego Peter Parker.

After a big drop last week, Broadway ticket sales show signs of life

By Carol-Ann Rudy

Broadway showed improved figures this past week with gross ticket sales hitting $15,227,613 compared to the previous week's total of $14,246,755. The same week last season reached $15,668,555. Looking at the season to date, this season outstrips last year, $781,733,956 compared to $778,686,262.

Of the 28 productions currently playing on Broadway, there are 18 musicals, nine plays and one special. There were three productions in the million-dollar club this week: Wicked at the Gershwin, The Lion King at the Minskoff and Billy Elliot at the Imperial. The play with the highest ticket sales was A View from the Bridge at the Cort. The musical Fela! at the Eugene O'Neill saw the largest drop in sales, down 16 percent from the previous reporting period.

Christopher Walken hand-delivers laughs on Broadway in 'A Behanding in Spokane'

By Carol-Ann Rudy

A new comedy written by Martin McDonagh, "A Behanding in Spokane," opened March 4 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York, NY. Directed by Tony Award nominee John Crowley, this is the world premiere of the play, starring Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan.

The production begins with a bizarre premise: Carmichael, played by Walken, has been searching for a missing body part, his left hand, for 47 years. When a couple, played by Mackie and Kazan, offer a hand for sale that they do not actually possess, they learn Carmichael only needs one hand to use a gun. Rockwell takes the part of a skittish hotel clerk.

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