The Playgoer: New Musicals follow-up

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Musicals follow-up

A while ago I predicted that three shows would serve as a bellweather for how inhabitable today's Broadway really is to adult musicals: Spring Awakening, Grey Gardens, and the Company revival. I also predicted--super pessimistically, perhaps--that none of them would last past Valentine's Day.

Well based on Box Office receipts for the past week, I may be wrong about Spring Awakening. But not necessarily about the other two. According to the stats at Playbill, here's the capacity figures (i.e. average percentage of seats sold per performance) and change since the previous week.

Spring Awakening: playing to 81% houses, up from 60% (an impressive 20% increase)
Grey Gardens: 63% down from 70.5% (a 7.5% decrease)
Company: 59.7% down from 84.8% (Yes, a falling off of 25%!)

Keep in mind this is among the busiest times of the season, traditionally. If you can't fill 3/4 of your house with a big musical at Christmas time, you're in trouble.

For Spring Awakening, though, the buzz is definitely paying off. My hunch is the holidays are helping since parents don't know what to take their kids to, especially their more jaded older kids. The show's prospects just may depend, though, on whether those parents are liking it, too.

2 comments:

Tom said...

Since I'm in Chicago I haven't seen any of them, but I think Company has been cheapened by a parlor trick,despite what would seem to be good performances. A full-blown revival of that show would be a true bellwether indeed.

Buddha Bless said...

Contrary to popular belief, the week before Christmas/week of Hannakah is not traditionally a strong week for Broadway. If you look at the statistics for the same week last year or the year before that, you'll see that many shows dropped drastically from the week before. That explains some of Grey Gardens and Company's sagging numbers, and it makes Spring Awakening's huge jump even more impressive.