The Playgoer: Tony Bump or Tony Hiccup?

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tony Bump or Tony Hiccup?

Looks like the Tonys are not yet totally irrelevant and can still help ticket sales:

The two most important award-winners, Memphis—which won best musical—and La Cage aux Folles—best musical revival—had big boosts in ticket sales. 
A spokeswoman for Memphis said ticket sales for the show have increased a whopping 300% since Sunday night, though she wouldn't release a dollar amount. La Cage sold more than $250,000 worth of tickets the day after winning the Tony, more than twice the usual daily figure.
(Gosh, I wish an editor on that story queried the use of the word "important" in that first line, don't you?)

On the other hand, the winning nonmusical plays did not get such a bounce--but that's because they were sold out already!  Quoth Riedel:
"Fences," [is] still the hottest ticket on Broadway. Since it won the Tony for Best Revival, premium seats shot up to $400. But scalpers are getting $750 to $1,000 for good seats at most performances. "Red" also raised prices to capitalize on its win for Best Play. The show closes on June 27, and there are very few seats left.
Riedel's more skeptical of the picture being painted by the musicals' pr machines:
Hawkers wearing "Memphis" sandwich boards are all over Times Square offering steep discounts. There are plenty of "Fela" boards, as well. They're advertising the show's win for Best Dancing because, as one insider says, "The tourists don't know what 'choreography' is, and it's not a word that fits on a sandwich board."
The biggest bump may actually be going to the critically dismissed Promises, Promises, which Riedel claims surged in both current and advance sales.  I'm not surprised; between Sean Hayes hosting, multiple Kristen Chenoweth appearances, and a lengthy dance number it might have been the most plugged show the whole night.  And it barely even won any Tonys!


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