Once again, Broadway is banking on hot stars to build revenue this season, bringing in what it hopes are tried and true “big draws” for a variety of productions in the spring of 2012.
The revival of the 1961 hit musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” has been a star vehicle since its opening in March 2011. “Harry Potter” movie star Daniel Radcliffe first took on the role of J. Pierrepont Finch, and after ten months was replaced by “Glee”‘s Darren Criss in a limited three week run this January 2012. On January 24, 2012 teen pop star Nick Jonas took over the title role at the Hirschfeld Theatre, but the low revenue for his first week suggests that this was not the star move to make.
For the week ending January 29, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” filled only 80 percent of capacity and earned a bit over $682,000. These numbers are anemic when compared to the weekly revenue that hovered around $1 million during Radcliffe’s tenure and an average $1.3 million when the wildly popular Criss starred.
Nevertheless, Broadway producers continue to place their hopes in popular names this coming season.
In January 2012, it was revealed that actress Raven-Symoné is joining the musical “Sister Act,” starring in the lead role of lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier. The star known for her 1990s role in Disney’s television show “That’s so Raven,” is scheduled to begin performances at the Broadway Theatre at the end of March 2012. She is replacing Tony nominee Patina Miller, who has played the title character since “Sister Act” opened in the West End in June 2009. Raven-Symoné’s most recent project, the ABC Family comedy “State of Georgia,” was cancelled by the network in late 2011 after only one season.
In the spring of 2013, former “American Idol” contestant Constantine Maroulis will star in a revival of the 1997 musical “Jekyll and Hyde.” The show will be preceded by a 25 week national tour starting in October 2012. Maroulis is no stranger to the Broadway stage, having received a Tony nomination for the role of Drew Boley in the 2008 musical “Rock of Ages.” The actor-singer appeared on the fourth season of “American Idol” in 2005, ultimately becoming a finalist.
Latin pop icon Ricky Martin takes on the role of Che in the spring 2012 revival of “Evita” at the Marquis Theatre. Martin began his ascent to superstardom in the 1980’s as a member of the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. After leaving the group in 1989, he built a successful solo career in Spanish music, and by the late 1990’s, Martin was a Latin-English crossover giant in the music industry. In 1999, Martin made his Broadway debut as Marius in “Les Miserables.
The influx of movie and television stars to Broadway is creating fans who might otherwise be strangers to the Great White Way.