By anyone’s standards, Easter week was a huge one for Broadway. The most recent Broadway gross figures are out and shows across the board saw eye popping gains. Mainstay productions like Mamma Mia! and Once saw 20% plus hikes from playing 80% capacity houses to can’t pack them in any tighter. New musicals like Violet, Rocky and If/Then all saw healthy bumps from last week’s totals.
So with enough optimism to pop a champagne cork, I thought it would be a good time to see which shows were still floundering even in the wake of the holiday/spring break week combo. We certainly don’t wish any of these shows ill will or are looking to close their curtains before its time, but unfortunately sales numbers don’t lie. When its time, its time. Here are our picks for the shows most likely to close within the next month or two if they’re lucky.
Mothers and Sons (52.3% last week / 53.2% prior week) – Mothers and Sons was one of the very few shows not to make a gain this week, and when you are already running at half of capacity that’s not good. The Tyne Daly vehicle has been struggling at the box office since it initially debuted in late-February, only once peeking above 76% capacity. Producer Tom Kirdahy told the Wall Street Journal that they were paying their bills late last month, but that was when they were running close to 75% capacity. Staring down the barrel of these numbers, expect the trigger to get pulled any day now.
The Bridges of Madison County (64.3% lw / 54.3% pw) – Just completing its third month on the Great White Way, The Bridges of Madison County seems to be losing its footing quickly. The Hollywood adaptation has been slipping in sales consistently over the past month and is routinely running between 50 and 60% capacity. Genuinely well received by critics, its hard to pinpoint why Bridges isn’t finding an audience amongst this crowded spring crop of shows. Maybe people have already read the book or remember seeing the movie. Talented Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale may be looking for new jobs by month’s end.
After Midnight (85.5% lw / 67.2% pw) – How many washed up musicians can one show take? After Midnight has cycled through guest stars K.D. Lang, Fantasia and Babyface/Toni Braxton before saving the best for last with current star Vanessa Williams. At the moment, there isn’t another starlet in wait to take over the Cotton Club mic once Williams departs May 11. Patti LaBelle was briefly rumored to be the next woman up a couple weeks ago, yet there was no follow up announcement to confirm it. Are the producers looking to put Midnight on ice instead after underwhelming weeks hovering around 65% capacity?
The Velocity of Autumn (75.5% lw / 50.6%) – It may be too soon to call The Velocity of Autumn; after all it only opened three weeks ago. Then again, some shows don’t even make it out of their first week. Velocity had a very soft opening (62.2%) and fell down to that 50% threshold by week two. It had a nice bounce this week, but its hard to see it sustaining that fledgling momentum. Don’t be surprised if the powers that be are already booking the Booth for a new production come summer.
Author: Mark Runyon