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.

Source: playbill.com

It. Is. Here. The long-awaited first trailer for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast starring Dan Stevens and Emma Watson is available to watch now!

Disney invites us to be their guest in this first tantalizing teaser for Beauty and the Beast, one of the most highly anticipated live-action remakes on their slate:

Anticipation has been high for Disney’s live-action retelling of their animated classic, and by all accounts the trailer suggests that the new Beauty and the Beast, hitting theaters in 2017, won’t disappoint.

The trailer does a lot to up the excitement factor, playing on our existing knowledge of the classic story, and teasing the arrival of Emma Watson’s Belle (damn you Disney, you know what we want!).

It opens with the castle (very Hogwarts-looking, no?), as we see iconic imagery from the Disney movie. We hear the voices of Ian McKellen and Ewan McGregor (Cogsworth and Lumiere), see the portrait of the prince, and finally, the rose — and Belle, barely visible, watching it in nervous anticipation. It looks like it still has all its petals, so we’d guess that this might be the first time she sees it.

We imagine the full reveal of Belle in the dress will be huge — we’ll keep you posted, as we’re sure that bombshell is dropping soon.

Beauty and the Beast opens March 2017 and stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Audra McDonald as the Wardrobe, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, and Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.

What did you think about our first look at the Beauty and the Beast live-action movie? Did it live up to your expectations?! Or was there just not enough Belle? Share your thoughts in the comments!

‘Adventures of Supergirl’ #9: The Facet mystery deepens

And Kara hates mysteries.

2:00 pm EDT, May 22, 2016

Adventures of Supergirl #9 gives us our first look at Facet but inspires more questions than gives answers.

Adventures of Supergirl #9 keeps its creative team and picks up where the previous issue left off, with Kara and Alex underground and facing off against bots from Fort Rozz. While the sisters fight off attacks, Kara muses about hating mysteries. She reflects that Clark likes them because they taught him to reveal the hidden truths about others while Kara doesn’t like them because she wants things — and people — to be straightforward.

The mystery is, of course, who is behind everything that has led Kara to this moment. The mastermind? Facet. While Kara and Alex are fighting, Alex is grabbed to serve as bait, bringing Kara face to face with Facet. Though Facet speaks a language Kara doesn’t understand, she does recognize Facet’s uniform as belonging to a guard on Fort Rozz.

Adventures of Supergirl #9 page 1

Kara attacks Facet but breaks her hand. Uh oh. She tries to use her heat vision, but Facet deflects it. Kara is overwhelmed by Facet’s counterattacks, and Facet has the bots grab Kara. When Facet removes her mask, she reveals a reflective silver face and says she wants to begin Kara’s training to make her Krypton’s finest, like Facet herself. Facet tells Kara to ask her mother about her, but the conversation is interrupted when Alex sets off an explosion.

In the chaos, Kara grabs Alex and flees. They reach the surface, mostly still in tact, and Kara says they should go speak to Alura, so I assume she’s going to speak to the Alura AI at the DEO. The mystery that Kara hates has come around to not only encompass Facet but also her mother, which frustrates Kara to no end.

A good portion of this issue is action, as Kara and Alex fight the Fort Rozz robots and Kara faces off against Facet. Both Kara and Alex are left the worse for wear after the encounter. While we know there won’t be anything too serious happening to our main characters since the comic ties into the television series, the action sequences were still quite engaging, particularly in terms of the art.

Adventures of Supergirl #9 page 2

As with the previous issue, we see a fair amount of Kryptonian as the Fort Rozz robots and Facet speak. However, Facet also speaks a language that Kara didn’t recognize that was represented by squiggly lines. This only enhances Kara’s frustration with the mystery that underlies the entire issue — and the comic as a whole, as we learn that everything ties together after all.

With four issues left, I assume Kara will get some answers from the Alura AI about Facet. This new villain tying into the life of Alura makes a lot of sense considering the television series spent quite a lot of time exploring the consequences of Alura’s actions on Krypton. As her daughter, Kara has had to face many who held grudges against Alura for sentencing them to Fort Rozz so thematically, this issue of Adventures of Supergirl ties in nicely with the series in that way.

Reading Adventures of Supergirl every other week is like catching up with a good friend you only see every now and then — especially now that Supergirl is on break for the summer. I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here and finding out just who Facet is and why she’s taken such an interest in Kara.

Adventures of Supergirl #10 will be released on Monday, May 30.

Fred Armisen hosted the season 41 finale of SNL with musical guest Courtney Barnett. He also brought along a couple of familiar friends as well.

SNL kicked off its season finale with a bang using Kate McKinnon and Larry David as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In what was maybe the best cold open of the season, Hillary and Bernie bickered back and forth about Hillary’s insurmountable delegate lead in the Democratic primary race. The sketch was particularly enjoyable as the two of them danced through the halls of Studio 8H before throwing to the credits with the entire cast.

Fred Armisen’s opening monologue was also one of the best opening monologues of the season. Fred performed a part of his fictional one-man show, and exaggerated just about every single thing you could imagine. The monologue was not only hilarious but one of the most unique monologues ever given on SNL.

The first sketch of the night featured a couple of breaks of character as Cecily Strong, Fred Armisen and Kyle Mooney played Native American explorers who take things a little bit too far.

To the delight of the audience, SNL brought back a Digital Sketch with none other than Andy Samberg himself. Samberg is set to star in the new movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Maya Rudolph, who has an upcoming variety show with Martin Short, stopped by Weekend Update to play the recent ousted President of Brazil. Maya can do no wrong, and this sketch was yet another example of her many hilarious accents.

The funniest sketch of the night had to go to Fred Armisen’s character Regine. Regine and her boyfriend played by SNL alum Jason Sudeikis are outlandish, rude and inconsiderate: the perfect recipe for tons of character breaks. This is a must-see sketch!

SNL will return for its 42nd season this fall. There is no word yet as of which cast members may be leaving the show. Details around casting usually happens throughout the summer months as the show gears up for its fall premiere.

What did you think of Fred Armisen hosting SNL?