Ticket sales on the Great White Way have dipped dramatically, as is often the case when summer break comes to end. Luckily for producers, business almost always picks back up when the new season comes to a start, and this season looks as though it’s going to be a crowd pleaser with a balanced lineup of plays and musicals, long-awaited revivals and brand-new productions taking a chance on Broadway.
According to Newsday.com, the first half of the new Broadway season, which ends December 31, includes 20 productions — more than the amount at this time last year and the previous year. The lineup that includes “Bring It On” and “Harvey,” which both opened over the summer, features five plays, five musicals, seven revivals, and three shows that are making their Broadway return.
One of the most talked about openings is the latest revival of “Annie,” making its first return to Broadway since 1997 in what was the show’s 20th anniversary at the Palace Theatre. Directed by James Lapine, the show is expected to attract a younger generation of theatergoers who have not had the chance to experience the popular production on Broadway and parents who are more than happy to see the show again, or even experience it for the first time along with their children.
J. William Bruce, sales representative for Applause-Tickets.com, told TicketNews, “The only show that has really attracted an audience with that [younger] age range has been ‘Wicked,'” Bruce said on the possibility of “Annie” bringing a new generation to Broadway. “Plus you will have the parents of those kids who saw the show when they were younger and will now want to share it with [their kids].”
The upcoming Broadway lineup is filled with famous faces and Bruce told TicketNews that it definitely makes a difference. “Of course having a big name stars always helps,” Bruce told TicketNews via email. “Last year’s revival of ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’ would never have happened without Daniel Radcliffe,” he added.
There’s one show in the fall lineup that’s counting their lucky stars as the “Godfather” of Hollywood will star in the revival. “Glengarry Glen Ross” will play at the Schoenfeld Theatre in celebration of the play’s 30th anniversary and Al Pacino, who starred in the 1992 movie adaptation as salesman Ricky Roma, will now star in the latest Broadway revival of David Mamet’s production, this time as Shelley Levene. Broadway veteran Bobby Cannavale will star as Roma.
Newly single mom, Katie Holmes, who had a small role in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in 2008, will make her Broadway return as the star of the new play “Dead Accounts.” The comedy from Theresa Rebeck, creator of the NBC series Smash will also feature other recognizable faces. Judy Greer played opposite George Clooney in The Descendants and has appeared in Two and a Half Men and Arrested Development. Jayne Houdyshell is no stranger to Broadway success, having received Tony Award nominations for last year’s revival of “Follies” and for her Broadway debut in “Well.”
The celebrity name game doesn’t stop there. According to Newsday.com, Paul Rudd, Ed Asner, and Michael Shannon will star in the Broadway premiere of Craig Wright’s “Grace.” Known for his role as “The Fonz” on Happy Days, Henry Winkler will star in David West Read’s comedy “The Performers,” a show about the porn industry, alongside Clueless star Alicia Silverstone, and Cheyenne Jackson. Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain, known for her role in The Help will star in “The Heiress,” and Kathie Lee Gifford is the composer and lyricist for “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson.”
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Broadway investors will commit about $75 million to the upcoming fall season. Bruce told TicketNews that he predicts that shows like “Annie” will be successful this season, because they allow the whole family to experience what Broadway has to offer.