Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tony Awards aftershocks: Ticket sales and higher ratings

Broadway's annual love fest Sunday night gathered higher ratings than last year and also boosted the sales of tickets to the featured shows, according to today's New York Times.

"The Drowsy Chaperone," which won five awards, sold four times as many single tickets as on a normal Monday -- $700,000.

"The Color Purple," strongly plugged by producer Oprah Winfrey, appeared to double its average Monday sales -- up to $600,000.

And "Jersey Boys," the big winner as "Best Musical," also was doubling its average Monday sales -- again up to $600,000. Perhaps more impressively, the show sold a million dollars in tickets the weekend before the show as ticket buyers currently predicted its success and didn't want to be left out.

The telecast itself also increased viewership by around 20 percent, from 6.6 million last year to 7.8 million this year.

The two biggest increases were in Atlanta, where "The Color Purple" started (83 percent over last year) and Tampa! (80 percent).

The Times seemed a bit bemused by the Tampa bump. They understood Chicago and Atlanta, "but Tampa?"

Perhaps it's not so surprising.

The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, one of the 10 largest in the country, has the highest grosses of any single-week touring Broadway market.

Our knowledgeable audiences know that this year's Tony winners will be playing our Carol Morsani Hall in Tampa as soon as there's a national tour. For example, our coming Broadway season includes "Spamalot," "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "Light in the Piazza," as well as "Doubt" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

Additionally, as a member of the League of American Theatres and Producers, we made a concentrated effort this year to help promote and market the Tony telecast via e-mail blasts, our web site and this very Culture Shock blog.

- Michael K.

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