A “Wicked” Defeat: Hannah Montana and Van Halen’s Tours Trump Top Broadway Musical

By Stacey Willets

Wicked’s dominance in the TicketNews exclusive weekly Top Tens is melting as a precocious new pop star and the return of Eddie and Diamond Dave send the flying monkeys packing.

Ding dong! The Wicked witch is . . . down. Elphaba is thwarted by yet another young girl, Hannah Montana. The teen’s Best of Both Worlds Tour is this week’s number one event, ending Wicked’s nine week run at the top of the chart. Hannah Montana seems to have her own set of magical powers, including the ability to sell out 14,000 seat venues, much to the dismay of empty-handed parents and their heartbroken tweens. The Disney superstar should beware, however. Wicked, which also appeals to the teen girl demographic, is never removed from the top of the chart for long. Elphaba will get you, my pretty, and your blonde wig too. . .
Van Halen also has the distinction of outselling Wicked, a feat that previous to this week had been achieved by four other events this year: Super Bowl XLI, The Police, De La Hoya vs. Mayweather, and the Boston Red Sox. The concert tour that reunites front man David Lee Roth with the band takes the number two spot. Wicked falls to number three. The displaced musical is followed by the New York Yankees at four, Mayweather vs. Hatton at five, Jersey Boys at six, the Boston Red Sox at seven, So You Think You Can Dance? at eight, Stevie Wonder at nine, and the Dallas Cowboys at ten.

The New York Yankees sure know how to rally. They put the days of slumping sales behind them as they ascend to the top of the Sports chart this week. The Bronx Bombers have been a different team since the All Star break. A team that wins games. With the gap between New York and Boston’s AL East standings shrinking to an uncomfortably close margin, the Red Sox are hoping the Angels will prove to be just that. But while Los Angeles was victorious against New York Monday night, putting five games between the Yanks and the Sox, New York may have enough momentum to keep them ahead of Boston in the events rankings.

Mayweather vs. Hatton drops to number two in the sports rankings, beating out the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, and a tough offensive line of football teams. The Dallas Cowboys take number four this week, the Green Bay Packers debut at six, the Denver Broncos remain at seven, the Pittsburgh Steelers drop to nine, and the New York Giants appear at ten. Sandwiched between Denver and Pittsburgh are the Texas Longhorns, debuting college football at the number eight position.

Both sets of Theatre rankings show a typical level of consistency. Even Grease holds its position at number four on the Top Theatre chart and number three on the Top New York City Theatre chart despite a slew of unflattering reviews. While critics are unimpressed with the quality of the production, the leads Max Crumm (“Danny Zuko”) and Laura Osnes (“Sandy Dumbrowski”), who were chosen by television viewers tuned in to NBC’s talent contest You’re the One That I Want, are enjoying rockstar status among young theatergoers. Fortunately for the cast, their rowdy fans are probably not scouring The New York Times theater reviews for insight on the emotional depth of the characters or an exposition on evocative set design, and would likely disregard the assessments anyway.

This has been the year of unlikely comeback tours – first The Police, then Genesis, and now Van Halen. Rumors of a Van Halen reunion seemed to have been circulating forever, helping to reignite the passion of fans and propel the band to number two on the Top Concerts chart as soon as tickets became available. With David Lee Roth back with the band, the only thing keeping Van Halen from the top of the chart is the astronomical popularity of Hannah Montana.

Both Hannah Montana and Van Halen are tough acts to follow, but it’s Stevie Wonder who grabs the number three ranking. His August 31 concert at Chateau Ste. Michelle reportedly sold out in fifteen minutes. Below him Dave Matthews Band takes the number four spot, Céline Dion appears at five, Justin Timberlake slips to six, Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony share number seven, Kenny Chesney moves to eight, Projekt Revolution grabs number nine, and Rascal Flatts maintains position ten.

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Barry Manilow shows that singing about a showgirl is more lucrative than being a showgirl as he climbs the Top Vegas chart. He returns this week to the number four position, edging out Elton John: The Red Piano. Manilow’s reappearance is one of several variations in the Vegas rankings, which are, again, as plentiful as costume changes. Mamma Mia! is back at number six, Bette Midler returns at seven, and Le Rêve takes number nine. Fab Four, Zumanity, V – The Ultimate Variety Show, and Jubilee! fail to make the cut.

To see this week’s rankings, check out the press release in the Daily Buzz section of TicketNews.com.