Thursday, May 31, 2007

The risky business of Broadway

Producing and investing in a Broadway show is always a risky proposition. Even when a show does gang-busters there's no guarantee that anyone will profit. After all of the expenses are taken care of, perhaps everyone just breaks even. But as the 2006-2007 touring Broadway seasons wrap up around the county, New York's Broadway shows closed their season this past Sunday with a sunny financial outlook. reports that the 06-07 NYC Broadway season realized a 8.9% revenue increase from last season to $939 million and attendance increased 2.6% to 12.3 million folks.

There are quite a few factors that could have contributed to this pretty substantial increase but it all starts with a fantastic product. Of the 35 shows that opened this season, 25 have received at least one Tony nomination (the Tonys are June 10... make sure you watch). From "Grey Gardens" and "Spring Awakening" to the family-friendly "Mary Poppins" and revival of "A Chorus Line" there is truly something for everyone. Heck there are also 16 dramatic plays in the mix for you non-musical folks.

Adding to the revenue increase were a bunch of block busters including "Jersey Boys", "The Color Purple", "The Lion King", "Wicked" and now "Mary Poppins" whose last week box-office weekly grossing total broke the $1 million mark for the first time!

But as I mention at the beginning of this blog, producing and investing is often a risky situation. Unfortunately a few shows didn't perform to expectations and ultimately cost producers and investors around $60 million. Two of those unfortunately shows were Twyla Tharp/Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A Changin' " and "High Fidelity." I'll be honest, I don't like Bob Dylan but I was really interested in seeing "Times" since I loved "Movin' Out" (Twyla Tharp also did that one). Sadly that opportunity has come and gone.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hot Flash Happy Hour - Wed.'s starting 6/6

Come on down to the Jaeb Theater on Wed. nights at 6:00 to join in the food, drinks and fun prior to performances of Menopause the Musical. It's a Hot Flash Happy Hour! The first event takes place on June 6.

Drink specials include:
  • I'm so Winey Spritzers
  • Rushin' Night Sweats
  • Estro-Gin and Tonics
Food specials include:
  • Assorted Desserts
  • Hot Dogs
  • Cheese and Fruit Tray served with assorted Premium Crackers
  • Peanut Noodles with Beef
  • Coconut Noodles with Steamed Asian Vegetables
  • Caesar Grilled Chicken Wrap with Terra Chips

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Rockettes get their own prime-time special

According to a recent New York Times article, Don Hewitt, former executive producer of "60 Minutes", has teamed up with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and NBC to present an hour special which will show most of the performance (it was originally suppose to be a documentary). It's scheduled to air sometime in December (and of course you can see the show LIVE here at the TBPAC in December too).

A couple additional notes... the TV special will feature the occasional commentary by NBC's "Today" show hosts, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira and it will be shown in HD!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Season tickets: Opera, Play, Broadway and more!

There are a lot of good deals out there on tickets if you're paying attention. The best deal is always season tickets. TBPAC offers a ton of packages, and we'll actually be rolling out a few more in the coming months.

Ticket packages, or season tickets or subscriptions - whatever you like to call them - are completely win-win propositions. Yes, the company sells a bunch of tickets at one time, thereby reducing the work we need to do later - but the patron also gets a great deal and guaranteed seats. These seats are almost always better than what a single-ticket buyer can get just by the sheer virtue that season ticket holders get their tickets first. It's pretty simple when you think of it that way.

Opera Tampa's Homes by Helen Opera Series season tickets are available to the public as of June 1. If you're a current opera subscriber, you can renew your seats through May 31.

Jobsite Theater Play Series season tickets just became available today. Anyone who signs up by June 29 gets the early bird rate of 30% off the price of single tickets. As of June 30 the discount changes to 20% off. I posted an entry to the Jobsite blog earlier today as to why season ticket sales are so important. (Disclosure: I am also producing artistic director for Jobsite).

The wildly popular Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series features the absolute best shows touring right now in the United States. The line-up features juggernauts like Jersey Boys and Avenue Q as well as returns for the The Lion King and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. TBPAC is known nation-wide for our incredible facility and first-rate Broadway series. The only way you can guarantee your seats to these shows is by becoming a season ticket holder.

I'm telling you now so hopefully you're not calling me in February of next year wondering why you can't get good seats to anything ...

As to other ticket packages we're looking to offer: a Club Jaeb package of 6 shows for under $100, an improved "cultural passport" type offer where you can sample a variety of shows at a greatly reduced price, and of course we'll soon be selling season tickets for our very popular Kid Time and Wee Folks series as well. Stay tuned for all that.

Aside from spending the money up front, the biggest knock I hear on season tickets is that people are concerned something will come up that would keep them from their show when it comes around. We all know people get busy, and we know things come up. Every one of our season ticket packages offers exchanges if you're not able to make your scheduled performance. All you need to do is call in to the ticket office and move your tickets to another night. Simple! First exchanges are always free and it's just $1 per ticket to exchange after that. Convenient!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Real Life Adventures of Your Average Opera Diva

As the resident opera fan, I always like to share the “Opera News of the Weird” just to ensure our readers that opera is a wonderfully flawed and human art form. Enjoy!


Confirming that opera is never dull, Sally Silver, singing the eponymous role in Scottish Opera's Lucia di Lammermoor on Saturday at Glasgow's Theatre Royal, sprained her calf muscle in Act 1 and couldn't go on. Now we are not saying anything about the average age of opera-goers, but Sally was able to borrow a wheelchair from an audience member who was safely in her seat, so the show went on with Lucia whirling about the stage in the chair, singing as beautifully as ever.

Since then, Sally has had to endure fellow singers breaking into a version of Wilson Pickett's Mustang Sally changed to Wheelchair Sally, when she hirples past.

The decision on whether Sally can sing tonight has still to be taken. She could, of course, do the role on crutches, but with the surname Silver, it doesn't take a genius to work out what her new nickname would be.

Maybe it’s a Brit thing, but I’m at a loss as to the “new nickname” she will receive. Long John Silver, maybe? He had a crutch, right? Someone please explain the joke. Cheers.

-Kari G.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Drama Desk Awards annouced

The 52nd annual Drama Desk Awards were held yesterday (May 20) and hosted by the always lovely Kristin Chenoweth. The big winners this year were The Coast of Utopia taking home seven awards including Best Play and Spring Awakening taking home four awards including Best Musical. For a complete list of winners, visit the Drama Desk website.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ladies Nights?

TBPAC is seemingly teeming with gynocentric programming over the summer: Menopause the Musical, Woman in Mind, The Sisters Rosensweig. We just had Patty Larkin and Lily Tomlin. I suppose Clay Aiken, though not a woman, fits in line as a very female-friendly artist.

Of course not all of those shows or artists have exclusively female appeal, but at least on the surface they all certainly do. Women account for the largest group of people who buy tickets for shows here at TBPAC, so that's not so bad.

Actually if you really want to get technical, we know our most regular ticket buyer is a woman between the ages of 45 and 55 who has at least some college education and a household income of over $75,000. So I won't act surprised that artists/shows like I listed above do very well here.

Menopause is certainly an event, and is an enormous draw. The show posted the single-best record for a show in the Jaeb Theater last summer. It sold more than a million dollars in tickets - simply amazing. It handily beat out heavyweights like Forever Plaid and Shear Madness in the process.

The show opens officially tonight and is currently on sale through the end of July. Tickets are going extremely fast - people will be hard-pressed to get decent seats unless you want to buy a minimum of two to three weeks in advance.

Get 'em while they're hot-flashing. Ok, ok ... I'll stop.

And you dudes? Depending on your age and sense of humor there's laughs to be had at Menopause, Woman in Mind should easily appeal to anyone with a like of BBC comedies like The Office, Fawlty Towers or old Python - and there's always that icon of male humor, Mel Brooks, who has a little musical coming back this summer that you might have heard of based on some movie.

We're not getting rid of the men's rooms. Promise.

AMP - Carnival of the Arts - June15


Art After Dark happens every third Friday in Downtown Tampa. Take advantage man, take advantage.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

2007 Tony Awards nominations annouced

The 2007 Tony Awards nominations were announced today. Nominees for the two big categories, Best Musical and Best Play, are as follows:

Best Musical
- Curtains
- Grey Gardens
- Mary Poppins
- Spring Awakening

Best Play
- The Coast of Utopia
- Frost/Nixon
- The Little Dog Laughed
- Radio Golf

Spring Awakening leads the pack with 11 nominations. For a complete list, visit The American Theatre Wing's Tony Award website. The Tony Award ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, June 10, at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Tony nominations are in!

Check them out today in the New York Times.

Things for me to be excited about:
  • 10 nominations for Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia
  • 11 nominations for the Duncan Sheik-tuned new adaptation of Spring Awakening
  • Actor nominations for Billy Crudup, Ethan Hawke, Liev Schrieber and Brian O'Byrne
  • Actress nominations for Martha Plimpton, Angela Lansbury and Swoozie Kurtz
I know a lot of people get about as excited over the Tony's as most people frankly get over the Oscars - it seems like a lot of insider stroking - but it really is one of the only times our industry appears somewhat mainstream as all the recognizable faces gather to celebrate the best of any given year.

There's a lot to be excited about in the theater, on Broadway or far-far off (like, you know, Tampa ...), we just need to find more effective ways of turning people on to what we do.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Boston Pops, Ben Folds and a Brawl

Looks like some balcony-dwellers were looking to rock the suburbs by throwing down in the middle of a Boston Symphony Pops performance.

Wowsers. Maybe that's what the American classical music (sorry, Susan Haig, it is what it is) scene needs - more live beatdowns set to exciting scores.

Hrmm ...

Go big, Diego!

GO, DIEGO, GO LIVE! set a new record at Radio City Music Hall’s Box office of $4,292,117. This represents their highest grossing touring family show ever.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The real business of Broadway

A new film documentary called Show Business: The Road to Broadway has finished up the film festival circuit and is hitting the theaters. From casting to rehearsals, opening nights and Tony Awards, the film shows what really goes into making a show a success on Broadway. And for the Wicked and Avenue Q fans out there, both shows are prominently featured. Here's the downside … you're probably going to have to wait for it to come out on DVD since it's not showing Florida. But keep an eye out for it. Definitely looks interesting!

- Angela L.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Photo op with Lily Tomlin

This is a photo sent in to me from the meet and greet with Lily Tomlin after the show on May 5. In my many, many years of working here I have never met a artist of Ms. Tomlin's caliber who was so absolutely generous with her time and so gracious with fans.

I hope we can bring her back again soon!

Misc 017


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

CreLo's covergirl: Lily Tomlin

Check out this week's cover story in Creative Loafing for a good interview on Lily Tomlin. She talks about her career, the Laugh-In Days, Robert Altman, playing in the south - and yes, that YouTube video I brought up yesterday.

For the record - she's right about what it's like working on a project with actors and a director. It's no different from stage to film. I had an acting teacher in my MFA program tell me once that "all artists are just bundles of exposed nerves" - and he was right. Tempers can flare, things can be said and at the end of the day everyone can usually still go out and grab a pint or cocktail and act like nothing happened.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lily Tomlin - YouTubesday

After all the fuss made over the now-infamous Lily Tomlin video from the set of I Heart Huckabees (oh, you know which video I'm talking about ...) I thought I'd offer up some classic Lily Tomlin. Consider it a taste, a tease, for her show coming up this weekend.

A whole mess of her characters on a road trip. And no, that's not Jason Lee of My Name is Earl fame at the pump.

Edith Ann on a classic ep. of Sesame Street

A monologue from her stage show: World's Oldest Beauty Expert

What she says is her favorite monologue: Mrs. Sweeney

52nd Annual Drama Desk nominations announced!

As Michael mentioned in some earlier postings, Broadway has plenty of great shows to pick from. Recently the nominations for the 52nd Annual Drama Desk awards were announced. Topping the list were 12 nominations for "LoveMusik" (the most of any show this year). Closely behind at 10 nominations are "Curtains", "Spring Awakening," "Legally Blonde" and "Coast of Utopia." Nine nominations went to the Off Broadway musical "In the Heights" and "Mary Poppins" received six nominations.

The awards ceremony will be held on May 20 and hosted by Kristin Chenoweth.

So you're probably asking, "Why should I care?" Straight from the Drama Desk website, here's what the organization is all about … "The Drama Desk was founded in 1949 to explore key issues in the theater and to bring critics and writers together in an organization to support the ongoing development of theater in New York. The organization began presenting its awards in 1955, and is the only critics’ organization to honor achievement in the theater with competition between Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions."

-Angela L.