The Broadway Graveyard of January

10:15 am EDT, January 6, 2014

Broadway shows historically have a tendency to close in January, once the lucrative holiday season is over, and the box office doldrums set in. But this weekend, only one sixth of the shows on Broadway all ended their runs.

Now plenty of theaters are empty and awaiting their blockbuster spring tenants. This is the body count for Broadway this weekend.

Getting a head start on all the closings last weekend was the musical Big Fish, based on the Tim Burton film of the same name, about a father who tells tall tales and his relationship with his son. The show was a big-budget spectacle, and just did not pull in enough audiences to fill up its large theater. The show played to a theater less than 80% full, on average, and after pulling in only $10.8 million from 147,000 audience members, did not even bother staying open through New Year’s. The audiences who mostly stayed away missed quite a good show in my opinion – Norbert Leo Butz gave a tour de force performance and had the entire theater sobbing. The Neil Simon Theater will next host All the Way, a drama about Lyndon B. Johnson.

Closing a day earlier than everyone else, on Saturday, was the infamous Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. The show would have been a gargantuan success if it had the budget of any other Broadway show in history – over $210 million grossed (and quite a few records smashed), and seen by over two million people, over the course of more than a thousand performances. But with its enormous budget, the show still lost about $60 million after all that. It also never received much Tony recognition, with only nominations for costumes and scenery. But the show went out with a bang, as J. Jonah Jameson read aloud the headline “Super-Hero Musical Defies Doubters: Runs Three Years on Broadway.” The original cast showed up to bid farewell. The show is off to Las Vegas next. The Foxwoods Theater has not yet announced its next tenant (since there is much renovation to be done after Spiderman), but there are rumors King Kong could make its home there.

And then came Sunday, January 5, with the closure of four Broadway shows. Many fans (this writer included) braved the swamps of frozen slush in Manhattan and the stealthily iced-over streets in outer boroughs to see their favorite show one last time. Rush lines still formed despite the frigid rain and sub-zero temperature, proving just how dedicated Broadway fans are.

Billy Crystal had returned with a limited nine-week engagement of 700 Sundays. The play is autobiographical in nature, and was filmed to be broadcast on HBO. The show proved very popular (who doesn’t like Billy Crystal?), and in its short time the play has made over $10 million dollars. The Imperial Theater will next host a revival of Les Miserables in March.

If Billy Crystal is popular, he’s nothing compared to Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, whose play Betrayal is another of the day’s casualties. This play is a revival of an old time-bending play about marital infidelity, and played to 100% capacity through the entirety of its fourteen-week limited engagement. Anecdotally, there was always an enormous line stretching the entirety of the street at the stage door. Seen by over 100,000 people paying $149 a ticket on average, the show made over $17 million. Producers, doubtless, can’t wait to get Craig and Weisz back on Broadway, and the Barrymore Theater will welcome another classic play revival in April: Raisin in the Sun.

The 2012 revival of Annie also closes, after becoming surprisingly successful and playing nearly five hundred performances over fourteen months. The show earned a nomination for Best Revival at the Tonys, but no accompanying nominations. With the phenomenally talented Lilla Crawford in the title role for nine months, and a trio of superb Miss Hannigans (Katie Finneran, Jane Lynch from Glee, and Faith Prince), the show proved surprisingly resilient in the face of direct competition like Matilda and Cinderella. I saw it with both Katie Finneran and Jane Lynch, and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. But since it ties in with the holidays, it makes sense to not push its luck past the holiday season. Two-thirds of a million people saw it, and brought in $58 million (far more than the previous revival in 1997). The Palace Theater has not yet announced its next tenant.

And my choice to see on this day of demises was First Date, the musical comedy about (you guessed it!) a first date, starring Krysta Rodriguez (Smash) and Zachary Levi (Chuck, Flynn Rider in Tangled). The show appears to be a modest success, running for half a year (174 performances) and filling the theater about 70% on average. It was seen by 150,000 people, but as one of the most affordable shows on Broadway ($63 average ticket price), it only made about $10 million. The Longacre Theater will next host James Franco’s adaptation of Of Mice and Men.

The energy at First Date at the closing performance was electric – the cast kept making the audience laugh with extra goofiness thrown in and received thunderous applause after every song. But Zachary Levi also cried an awful lot during an emotional musical number, and the entire cast all burst into tears during the curtain call. The standbys, writers, director, and producers were all called to the stage for a bow. Most of the theater was filled with repeat customers like me, including one girl who was seeing it for the thirty-second time. The cast and writers then performed due diligence at the stage door, signing well over a hundred playbills and taking pictures with anyone who asked.

Zachary Levi patiently waited for everyone to get his autograph and a picture, staying outside in freezing temperatures for two hours to do so. He told the fans that he does want to do Broadway shows in the future, but he wants to originate roles instead of being a replacement. But Krysta Rodriguez burst some fans’ bubbles by saying that Hit List (the fictional musical from Smash) will most likely not make it to Broadway.

The Broadway carnage is not yet over, as next Sunday Peter and the Starcatcher will play its final performance. The “play with music” that served as a prequel to Peter Pan had an eight-month Broadway run before transferring off-Broadway to New World Stages, where it has been playing for a year. Many fans will mist likely try to see it again before it closes, myself included, so the rush lines will get pretty long.

Which of these Broadway shows are you most sad to see go? Did you see any of them? Do you regret not seeing some? Post your eulogies for these Broadway shows in the comments.


Quiz: What is your pet’s Ilvermorny house?

Why should you be the only one who gets a second wizarding house?

1:00 pm EDT, July 29, 2016

Will your pet be sorted into the same Ilvermorny house as you, or will you have to disown them for joining your rival?

Step aside Hogwarts, there’s a new wizarding school in town (or rather, across the sea)! With a new school comes new houses, and a new sorting test. You might’ve gone through an identity crisis after taking the test for yourself, but you’re not the only one who needs sorting. That furry, scaly, or feathery friend needs to know where they belong too, and we’re here to do just that! Last time we helped you find out what Hogwarts house your pet would be sorted into, so now we’ll help you figure out what Ilvermorny house they belong in.

It’s typical for pets to have similar personalities to their owners, so maybe your pet will end up in the same house as you. But to those who have house rivalries, brace yourselves: It’s also possible your pet will end up in a different house than you, maybe even your rival house! Will you be saying ‘bye bye birdie,’ or do you thrive in competition? That probably depends on your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny house.

Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or reptile, all pets are welcome at Hypable’s Ilvermorny sorting ceremony! Take the quiz below and let us know where your pet’s loyalties lie, and be sure to take it for each of your pets (unless they’re a squib. Is there an American name for squib?). Don’t want any of them to feel left out!

Now that you know your pet’s Ilvermorny house, maybe you’ll want to decorate their bed with their house crest (shoutout to the Hufflepuffs)! Or maybe you’ll forbid them from entering your room if they’re in a different house (shoutout to the Slytherins)!

Did your pet get the same Ilvermorny house as you?

Forget seeing Luke Cage and Daisy Johnson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Jeph Loeb, it’s simply too hard to plan.

Although the Marvel movies and TV series ostensibly exist in the same universe, and although Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its best to include Avengers references whenever possible, TV show characters are unlikely to ever show up in the movies.

This despite Chloe Bennet’s continued efforts to remind people that she is, in fact, Marvel’s first on-screen female Asian superhero, and the awesome crossover possibilities the Marvel Netflix series have opened up.

Marvel fans have long been aware of the difficulties of bringing TV characters into the movie ‘verse, but at the 2016 TCAs, Jeph Loeb provided a few more reasons for why it’s practically impossible to coordinate.

“Part of the challenge of doing this sort of thing is that the movies are planned out years in advance of what it is that we are doing,” Loeb says, as quoted by SlashFilm. “Television moves at an incredible speed. The other part of the problem is that when you stop and think about it, if I’m shooting a television series and that’s going to go on over a six-month or eight-month period, how am I going to get Mike [Colter] to be able to go be in a movie? I need Mike to be in a television show.”

In terms of planning out the character arcs, this makes a lot of sense. A Marvel movie might be mapped out years in advance of production, for not to mention release, which means any character scheduled to appear would need to have their stories planned for many seasons in advance. The continuity would certainly be hard to keep track of.

Of course they could still throw in cameos, which fans would probably really appreciate — and crossovers from movies-TV are much more doable, as evidenced by Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander)’s multiple appearances on AoS.

But Marvel is wary of doing that too much, too, because “we never want to be known as an Easter egg farm. It has to work within the story. We never want to do Luke Cage gets into a cab as Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock are getting out of the cab,” Loeb says, referencing The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

However, don’t lose hope yet. “Anything is possible,” says Loeb. “As I often get reported by you folks for saying #ItsAllConnected, our feeling is that the connection isn’t just whether or not somebody is walking into a movie or walking out of a television show. It’s connected in the way that the shows come from the same place, that they are real, that they are grounded.”

Would you like to see Marvel TV and movie characters cross over more?

If Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda weren’t enough to get you excited about Mary Poppins Returns, maybe Meryl Streep’s name on the roster will do the trick.

Mary Poppins Returns is not a remake of the original 1964 classic but rather a sequel to the Julie Andrews-led musical. As such, it stands to reason that we’ll be getting some new characters this time around. One of those characters will be Miranda’s Jack, who will be a street lamplighter.

And, according to Variety, another one of those new characters will also be portrayed by none other than Meryl Streep, who will be taking on the role of Mary Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. And, yes, the legendary actress will be taking on a singing role for the film.

This will also reunite Streep with her Into the Woods co-star Blunt, as well as Director Rob Marshall and Producer Marc Platt. Streep played the Witch in Into the Woods, while Blunt portrayed the Baker’s Wife opposite James Corden.

Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns reads:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018.

Are you on board with ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ now that Meryl Streep has joined the cast?