Tag Archives: Steve Martin

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Broadway B.O. Leaps Even As ‘Lion King’ & ‘Wicked’ Feel Winter Chill

Deadline Hollywood Broadway B.O. Leaps Even As ‘Lion King’ & ‘Wicked’ Feel Winter Chill by Jeremy Gerard January 16, 2018 2:06pm With the three-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend as a spur, the Broadway box office defied the January trend, pole-vaulting 27% over the same week in 2017 and even surpassing the previous week by 2%. All that despite some staggering nose-dives among the family-friendly crowd. That includes Disney’s two shows: The Lion King was off $681K from the previous week at the Nederlander Organization’s Minskoff Theatre, while Aladdin, installed at the Mouse’s New Amsterdam flagship, skidded nearly a quarter-million dollars. It wasn’t a great week for Andrew Lloyd Webber, either: The Phantom of the Opera, tagging the 30-year mark at the Shubert Organization’s Majestic Theatre, fell a chandelier-swinging $371K, while School of Rock, at the Shuberts’ Winter Garden, was off $193K. Wicked, at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin, was off $280K from the week before. A sizable chunk of the $7 million increase over the year before can be attributed to Bruce Springsteen, who’d taken the week after New Year’s off; his return to Jujamcyn Theatres’ Walter Kerr added $2.4 million back into the pot. Bette Midler’s farewell week in Hello, Dolly! at the Shubert was up $230K, while the Steve Martin comedy Meteor Shower and star Amy Schumer, at the Shuberts’ Booth, added $246K to its coffers. In addition to Midler making way for Bernadette Peters to step into her red gown beginning this Saturday night, there were two other noteworthy departures: Javier Muñoz, the original replacement for Lin-Manuel Miranda in the title role of Hamilton, bowed out after an acclaimed run, as did Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, whose closing despite continued good business in the $1-million club still left some scratching their heads, ended its run at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne. The five top-grossing musicals were: • Hamilton ($3.1 million at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers; $288.61 average ticket) • Hello, Dolly! ($2.43 million at the Shubert; $236.78) • Springsteen On Broadway ($2.41 million for 5 performances at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr; $508.68) • The Lion King ($1.94 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; $143.17) • Dear Evan Hansen ($1.74 million at the Shuberts’ Music Box; 217.83) The five top-grossing plays were: • Meteor Shower ($935.5K at the Shuberts’ Booth; $148.07 ) • Farinelli and the King ($868K at the Shuberts’ Belasco; $105.42 average ticket) • Latin History For Morons ($525K for 7 performances at the Roundabout’s Studio 54; $91.48) • The Parisian Woman ($462.6K at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson; $71.46) • The Play That Goes Wrong ($418.6 at the Shuberts’ Lyceum; $77.03) Ticket sales for Week 34 of the 2017-2018 Broadway season totaled $32.95 million for 29 shows, according to the trade group Broadway League. That was an increase of 2% or $290K over the week before ($32.2 million) and 27 % or $7 million over the same week in 2017. Average ticket price was $132.30, up from $126.21 last week and $114.77 a year ago.
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Broadway in 2017: box office records broken under the shadow of Trump

The Guardian Broadway in 2017: box office records broken under the shadow of Trump Alexis Soloski Thursday 7 December 2017 07.00 EST In 2017, Broadway broke record after box office record. But inside the theaters the faces were long and so were the running times. Though rich in new American plays and gussied up revivals, Broadway this year often felt like a letdown, taking fewer risks and reaping fewer rewards. The Laura of Sam Gold’s deconstructed The Glass Menagerie wouldn’t blow out her candles, yet elsewhere the lights seemed dimmer, the costumes less spangled, the orchestra mildly depressed. Blame these blues on the presidential election? Tempting. But most projects secured funding before last November. A handful of pieces were explicitly political to begin with and became even more political after the inauguration, like Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, a deeply researched meditation on what happens to factory workers in a swing state small town when the factories shutter. The finale of JT Rogers’s Oslo, about a back channel for negotiations between Israel and Palestine, also struck a melancholy note, as the promise of peace receded out of reach of its characters. If one wanted to escape grim news alerts and social media feeds, other plays offered even less quarter. The London import 1984 provided a violent dystopia that might have resonated more had its leads not been miscast. (Who thinks of Tom Sturridge as humdrum or of Olivia Wilde as drab?) Less violent though often just as frustrating was Michael Moore’s self-congratulatory solo The Terms of My Surrender, notable mostly for baiting the president into a Twitter war. Add “limited run” to the concepts Donald J Trump has failed to grasp. Like Moore’s show, Beau Willimon’s Beltway play, The Parisian Woman, name-checked cabinet members and railed against venality, though the president has yet to tweet a response. Themes of conflict and disenfranchisement extended throughout other works, like August Wilson’s Jitney, superbly acted, in which unlicensed livery drivers struggle in a changing Pittsburgh, and Arthur Miller’s The Price, in which a beat cop must reckon with his sacrifices. And there were uncomfortable echoes of the people and forces that had put Trump in power in everything from the enjoyably vicious and appetitive antiheroine of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes to the less enticing machers of Ayad Akhtar’s Junk, set in the unregulated Wall Street of the 1980s. Disillusionment and dashed hopes stalked the characters of The Present (Andrew Upton’s adaptation of Chekhov’s Ivanov), Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, JB Priestley’s Time and the Conways, Sunset Boulevard, Miss Saigon, M Butterfly, Six Degrees of Separation, even the poignant revival of Sunday in the Park with George. Groundhog Day, despite its clever lyrics and imaginative stagecraft, seemed freighted with more than its share of existentialist dread and even Bruce Springsteen, in his soloish show Springsteen on Broadway, has reportedly tamped down his customary fire. He wouldn’t allow handclaps in the dark, let alone dancing. (Tickets were so rare and so expensive – another sort of a downer – that my knowledge of these stifled claps is admittedly secondhand.) Some shows meant to cheer up an audience didn’t fully succeed, like Present Laughter, which boasted a Kevin Kline soigné perfection from the tips of his moustache to the hem of his dressing gown, yet seemed to struggle for hilarity, though it never struggled quite as hard as The Play That Goes Wrong, which couldn’t seem to go quite nearly enough. The musical adaptation of Amélie couldn’t shake its air of preciosity or the pall of its passive heroine and Steve Martin’s iterative Meteor Shower was its own falling star, a comedy in search of a situation. Several of the more successful shows struck bittersweet notes, like Paula Vogel’s Indecent, an excavation of a forgotten theatrical scandal, and Come From Away, a wispy tearjerker and smile-tugger about a Newfoundland town that housed thousands of travelers in the days after September 11. (Some might add The Band’s Visit and Once on This Island, which I will see in the coming weeks, to this list. The final Broadway shows of that fall, The Children and Farinelli and the King, have yet to open.) But even a downbeat season has its pleasures and compensations, like the joyful and sumptuous revival of Hello, Dolly! starring a dumpling gobbling Bette Midler and a soaring chorus who make the most of heart-lifters like Put on Your Sunday Clothes. Though its story and characters barely register, the gonzo visual pleasure of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical is extreme, particularly a curtain call of confetti cannon excess and full-bore surreality. New plays like Indecent, Oslo, Sweat and Lucas Hnath’s brainy A Doll’s House, Part 2 provided an embarrassment of American riches. Performances to treasure included Laurie Metcalf’s devastating, mercurial Nora in A Doll’s House, Part 2, Andy Karl’s dangerously charming Phil in Groundhog Day, Laura Linney’s blissfully avaricious Regina opposite Cynthia Nixon’s heartbreaking Birdie in The Little Foxes, Jake Gyllenhaal’s poignantly distant George and Annaleigh Ashford’s vibrantly present Dot, as well as the expert, responsive ensembles of Jitney and Indecent. And there were smaller moments, too, like the orgiastic dance party of The Present or the inky black evening gown that Cobie Smulders wore in Present Laughter. Or the brilliant beauty of Sunday in the Park’s Chromolume, a reminder that even in grim times there is color and light.
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bette And Bruce Springsteen Are The King And Queen Of Broadway

New Yoek Times Top-dollar theatre boom on Broadway is born in the USA By James Dean, US Business Editor November 25 2017, 12:01am, The Times Nobody does it better than Bruce Springsteen when it comes to poeticising the life of America’s working class. Fans have to dig deep to see his new Broadway show, though, given that the average ticket costs $500. And that’s if they managed to buy one before Springsteen on Broadway sold out. The show’s short run and the limited seating at the Walter Kerr Theatre meant that tickets went quickly — and the few available through resale websites command as much as $10,000. Tickets to see Springsteen on Broadway can fetch as much as $10,000 Tickets to see Springsteen on Broadway can fetch as much as $10,000 BRUCE GLIKAS/FILMMAAGIC/GETTY IMAGES The commercial success of shows such as Springsteen on Broadway has put New York’s theatre land on course for a bumper season. At the halfway point, gross box office takings stand at $780 million, 18 per cent higher than in 2016-17, which itself was a record year. According to Margot Astrachan, a Tony award-winning Broadway producer: “There’s money flowing around, which means you’re getting some very flashy shows coming in. And it means there’s money to lose, so you’re also getting some great plays. “When the stock market is very high, people are confident about their money, so they go out. They go travelling. And the No 1 reason tourists come to New York is to go see a show on Broadway.” The rise of the premium ticket is helping to boost box-office takings. They are for the seats judged by each theatre to be the best in the house and their prices have risen much faster than for seats in the gods. At Springsteen on Broadway, a premium box office ticket is $850 and the cheapest seat is $65. The commercial success of Springsteen on Broadway has gone hand-in-hand with critical success. “Overwhelming and uncategorisable,” was The New York Times’s breathless verdict of the show, which opened in October. Nonetheless, Hamilton, a hip-hop and soul-infused musical based on the life of the American founding father, remains the critics’ favourite. “The conflict between independence and interdependence is not just the show’s subject but also its method,” New York magazine’s theatre critic wrote. Hamilton remains the most lucrative show on Broadway, with the highest box-office gross of any production this season. The average cost of a seat at Hamilton was $263 last week, compared with $120 at The Band’s Visit, the tenth highest grossing show. Springsteen is not the only American superstar to bring fans flocking to Broadway this season. Bette Midler, the actress and singer who began her career in theatre, has returned to take the lead role in Hello, Dolly!, while Amy Schumer, the actress and comedian, is making her Broadway debut in Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower. With Thanksgiving and Christmas, Broadway has just arrived at its most lucrative period of the season. Next year, two likely blockbusters will open: Frozen, a musical based on the popular Disney film, in March; and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play that has made its way across the Atlantic from London’s West End, in April. “Those two will be smash-hit shows because the characters already have such a massive following,” Ms Astrachan said. “The feeling is very optimistic right now.”
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

At The Broadway B.O., Sales Rocket As Audience Lags In Sellers’ Market

Deadline Hollywood At The Broadway B.O., Sales Rocket As Audience Lags In Sellers’ Market by Jeremy Gerard November 13, 2017 3:40pm For the moment, the pre-holiday season looks swell, especially with Uma Thurman (in Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman) and Amy Schumer (in Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower) joining Bette Midler and Bruce Springsteen on the gold-paved Street where we live. So good, in fact, that this week we’re going to give you twoTop 5 charts, one for musicals and one for non-musicals. The mere fact that there are enough plays on Broadway at the moment to require their own visual aid is remarkable all by itself. Seventeen of the 30 running shows were up $100K or more. Of course that included Midler’s return from a week off, bumping Hello, Dolly! by a cool $1.47 million to $2.35 million at the Shubert Theatre, where the average ticket brought $210.26. It also included a jump of $151.65K for Waitress as pop star Jason Mraz came on board the Sara Bareilles tuner at the Nederlander Organization’s Brooks Atkinson, where it rejoined the $1 million club and tickets were averaging $133.87. Julie Taymor’s revival of M. Butterfly, starring Clive Owen, continues to improve in the face of some middling reviews; it leapt $83.58K to $661.5K at the Shuberts’ Cort, with tickets averaging $97.16. New to the preview club were SpongeBob SquarePants, at the Nederlanders’ Palace, where 85 percent of the seats were filled for seven performances, average ticket price $63.68, and a revival of that musical charmer Once On This Island, at Circle in the Square, where every seat was filled for six previews at $90.63 on average. The five top-grossing shows were:

• Hamilton ($3.14 million at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers; $292.14 average ticket) • Springsteen on Broadway ($2.39 million at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Walter Kerr; five performances; $505.39) • Hello, Dolly! ($2.35 million at the Shubert; $210.26) ...  Read More

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Has Broadway Become Reliant on Celebrity Draw at the Box Office?

Ticket News Has Broadway Become Reliant on Celebrity Draw at the Box Office? November 9, 2017 By Katie Gainer This week in Broadway news is dominated by reports of “splashy debuts” for singer-songwriter Jason Mraz and comedian-actress Amy Schumer in Waitress and Meteor Shower, respectively. The big stage first-timers brought in huge sales; on the other foot, we’ve seen a trend in shows faltering when its a big name exits a cast. This strong correlation in successes begs the question: is Broadway becoming reliant on celebrity? Jason Mraz, who rose to fame with romantic pop hits like “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up” in the late 2000’s, joined Sara Bareilles’ Waitress for a ten-week engagement this week. Consequently, gross sales skyrocketed to $900,167; an over $170,000 increase from the week prior and an all-time high since the show’s opening in June. The producers of Waitress, Fran and Barry Weissler, are the same pair that oversaw the revival of Chicago, notorious for guest starring not just famous actors but singers, sports players, and television personalities abound. Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower opened for previews at the start of the month, and the star-studded cast features Keegan-Michael Key, Jeremy Shamos, and most notably, Amy Schumer. Schumer got her start on NBC’s comedy competition show Last Comic Standing in 2007, and quickly became a household name after writing and starring in two movies- Trainwreck with Bill Hader and Snatched with Goldie Hawn- as well as her own sketch show Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central. Meteor Shower grossed $631,056 for just five shows, with an average ticket price of $162. Forbes points out that for a non-musical production in a small theater like the Booth, this is a staggering success. The celebrity sales boost is no new trend to the Great White Way: Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe hiked sales for How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 2011, as did The Hangover‘s Bradley Cooper for The Elephant Man in 2014 and Panic! at the Disco’s front-man Brendon Urie for Kinky Boots this summer. Bette Midler shattered box office records for her role in Hello, Dolly! this year but consequently, when Ms. Midler takes a vacation, sales plummet. Her first absence in July resulted in a drop of just shy of a million; another vacation last week ranked the show at this week’s highest gross drop of almost $1.5 million. Theater buffs have already begun to speculate the fate of Hello, Dolly! once Bette takes her final bow in mid-January. Producers of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 had big shoes to fill when multiplatinum singer Josh Groban stepped down from his Broadway debut role as Pierre which, unsurprisingly, led to a half-a-million dollar hit. The role was taken over by Hamilton newcomer Okierite “Oak” Onaodowan – but not for long. When they found out they could score a three-week engagement with film and TV star Mandy Patinkin, producers quickly cut off their engagement with Oak. Sales effects aside, this turned out to be disastrous decision for the show. Cue a social media storm of criticism of the the replacement of a young, up-and-coming black actor with an older, white one; Patinkin dropped out and shortly after, The Great Comet closed. And then there’s the Broadway behemoth that is Springsteen on Broadway…where to begin. Bruce “Working Class” Springsteen has managed to profit millions off of his fans with a brilliant marketing tactic that lets fans boasts their attendance at a concert and a Broadway show at once (if you didn’t Instagram your Springsteen on Broadway Playbill, did you even go?) The show’s run has already been extended once – and is rumored to be again – and has raked in over $11 million for its 25 performances thus far. Although not created by and starring the artists themselves like Springsteen, a number of Broadway musicals have been written about the lives of various celebrities over the years. Let It Be, which follows the career and catalog of The Beatles toured the UK and currently plays to London’s West End, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical has enjoyed years of success on the West End, Broadway, and touring the U.S. Jimmy Buffet-based Escape to Margaritaville, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, and The Cher Show are all set to open on Broadway in 2018. The line between stage and film actors has long been blurred – but between sales numbers increasingly dependent on casting debuts and departures, the power of the people to close shows over a casting controversy, and entire shows based around the life and career of stars we know and love – all factors considered, is this the turn of a new celebrity-centric era on Broadway?
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Crystal Awards – Bette Midler – Diane Keaton – Steve Martin

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Friday, May 13, 2016

1977’s Rolling Stone…The 10th Anniversary was an unmitigated disaster (except for Bette!)

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

BetteBack Review February 22, 1991: Wedded bliss pushed to the limit in ‘Scenes from a Mall’

Daily Herald Suburban Chicago February 22, 1991 Scenes-From-a-Mall In “Scenes from a Mall,” Woody Allen becomes irate, hauls off and smacks a mime right in the chops And the poor guy never says a word. It’s a major moment in the Woodman’s acting career. He actually appears to be versatile. This marks the first time in 15 years (since “The Front”) that Allen has acted in a movie directed by someone who wasn’t him Now, thanks to director Paul Mazurksy, Allen’s image as a fumbling, nerdy New York intellectual h.is been expanded into a fumbling, nerdy New York intellectual who can actually get mad and hit people. “Scenes from a Mall” is not a wholly successful movie We get rehashed L A jokes — mostly celluar phone and personal beeper gags — that have been delivered with far greater satirical skill by Steve Martin‘s “L.A. Story ” Although relatively brief for a feature film, it stretches the subject matter far too thin After a while, we begin to think the main characters have been in this mall for most of their 16 years as man and wife. But what an irresistible idea — Woody and Bette Midler as married professionals who go shopping for party goods and wind up buying a comic package of painful self-discovery and rekindled romance. “Scenes from a Mall” isn’t exactly lowest common-denominator material. It addresses mature viewers who’ve racked up a few years of experience in the marriage department The characters played by Woody and Bette, Nick and Deborah, have been married 16 years (plus one year of living together). During the few hours they spend at an L A shopping mall (in reality the Stamford Town Center in Stamford, Conn ), Nick and Deborah delve into the foibles and self-deceptions that come with a too-comfortable middle-class relationship after such a long time. Nick (Woody with a trendy red ponytail !) works as a high powered sports attorney who represents athletes in commercial deals Deborah, a psychologist, has just written a best seller about the secrets to keeping long-term marriages alive. While doing some last-minute shopping for their big party, Nick and Deborah make the rounds of the mall, indulging in rather innocuous self-congratulations about how they’ve remained a happy, faithful couple while all those married people around them have become divorce statistics. Nick, however, exhibits an ever-soslight anxiousness through his words, foretelling the moment when he nonchalantly drops a hand grenade into the conversation. He’s had an affair Actually, two afairs. Three, if you count the hooker in Dallas. The abrupt announcement generates a predictable, slowly simmering explosive response from Deborah And Midler generating an expitbive response on the screen i.s like witnessing a nuclear chain reaction. From thien on, we watch as these two deceptively once-happy people begin to dismantle their relationship, analyze their needs and wants, then vacillate between patching up their rocky boat or allowing it to sink. First it goes one way, then a surprise development sends it spiraling the other direction. A sudden twist of events saves it, only to have it be hurled backward by continuing revelations of impropriety and lies. “Scenes from a Mall,” written by director Paul Maivursky and Roger L Simon, is driven by funny, unsettling truths about love and marriage (As a person married for 1G years, I can attest that many of Nick’s ambivalent observations about this most hallowed of human institutions ring with needling perception.) The filmmakers approach Scenes from a Mall” much like a modern- day Greek tragedy in which the well off protagonists achieve wisdom through great suffering. Watch the New Trailer for Woody Allen’s Latest, ‘Irrational Man’ (Mixed Media) Steve Martin, Pete Seeger, Eddy Davis among 2015 inductees into American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame Hell in a Handbag’s BETTE, LIVE AT THE CONTINENTAL BATHS to Run 7/17-8/21 at Mary’s Attic In Chicago Three Ways Barry Manilow Has Sustained His Great Glass Closet

Lena Hall, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp & Telly Leung and More Set for Provincetown Theater This Summer ...  Read More

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

From the book Comic Genius; Portraits of Funny People by Matt Hoyle

From the book Comic Genius; Portraits of Funny People by Matt Hoyle Bette Midler for Matt Hoyle Pictures’ Comic Genius Portraits of Funny People | Styling by Sasa Jalali | All proceeds donated to Save the Children 63917_355823524551916_1093193375_n
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Billy Crystal talks about getting old, working with Bette Midler and the pressure of Twitter

Metro Billy Crystal: Bette Milder and I are like a pair of old shoes Wednesday 5 Jun 2013 6:00 am tn-500_bettewm10105129 How would you sum up your character in the film Parental Guidance? Artie’s a baseball announcer but in the minor leagues. He’s done it for 35 years and moved his family around to pursue his dream. Then he gets fired. He’s set in his ways but inside is a grandfather waiting to come out. I’d say he’s funny and irascible but willing to change. Have you ever had the same dilemma, finding yourself out of work? Every time they say: ‘That’s a wrap’ on whatever project, you’re out of work – but nothing with the finality of what Artie is facing. At that age, it’s likely he won’t get another chance. As an actor, you get to a certain age and the way the movie business is, they think only kids go to see movies. But then with the success of adult-themed movies, like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, you wonder why they don’t make more of them. You have a great rapport with Bette Midler. How was working with her? It took so long for us to work together but it was well worth the wait. We’ve known each other for thirtysomething years and when the time came to make the movie I looked at [director] Andy Fickman and we both went: ‘What about Bette? She seems perfect.’ And we fell into a rapport. It felt very natural. We were like a pair of old shoes. You also get to sing together… That happened by accident. We were in an old train station in Atlanta, Georgia. There were all these tiles and it had a great echo. It was cold and we were entertaining the little ones, who were getting a little bored, so we started singing old rock’n’roll songs. And I said to her: ‘Why don’t we sing in the movie?’ Are you on Facebook or Twitter? I tweet a little bit but I’m not on Facebook. I have friends like Steve Martin and Albert Brooks who are great tweeters but it’s too much pressure for me. Tweets have to be funny when you’re in the public eye as a funny person. Parental Guidance is out now on DVD and Blu-ray.
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