Broadway is having a tough, tough summer.
Shows are closing left and right, or announcing their finales are coming. The mask mandate has been lifted, so everyone can come in and cough up a storm. Theaters are no longer checking vaccination cards.
If all that wasn’t bad, New York in the news looks like 1975 again. There are random shootings and stabbings. Times Square between 44th and 47th Streets, in the godawful pedestrian mall, is a sewer. No one in their right mind would hang out there, so everyone not in their right mind is making it their headquarters.
Plus, it’s really hot.
So last week, of 29 shows, only three played to 100% capacity crowds. None of them was “Strange Loop,” which just won the Tony for Best Musical and played at 91% last week. And they’re in a decline.
The three hit shows were “The Music Man,” “MJ,” and “Hamilton.” Even standard bearers like “The Lion King” and “Wicked” weren’t sold out. The only good news is that the Tony winning revival of “Company” is packing in crowds before it closes at the end of the month.
“Funny Girl” is a disaster waiting for fresh troops to arrive and save the day. Currently at 73%, “Funny Girl” is bringing in less than $800,000 a week. Star Beanie Feldstein, who’s leaving early on July 31st, comes and goes. August will be a write off with understudies — really good ones — in the main roles. Then right after Labor Day comes Lea Michele and Tovah Feldshuh. The show will be re-re-reviewed. If all goes well, ticket sales will pick up. If not, the parade will be rained on.
Broadway soldiers on. Lots of potential hits are in the wings. A short-run “Into the Woods” revival is sold out. Maybe one day, “To Kill a Mockingbird” will return, not likely with Greg Kinnear, but with some big name actor if producers can lure one. “Mockingbird” was supposed to have returned already, on June 1st, but that obviously hasn’t happened. Richard Thomas is starring in the national tour, and I’ll bet he’s good.
What I would do with “Mockingbird” is hire Matthew Modine right now. He’s had a huge comeback with “Stranger Things.” He’s played Atticus Finch at Hartford Stage and done a beautiful job, rave reviews. Get Millie Bobby Brown to play Scout. Maybe get Finn Wolfhard to play Scout’s brother, Jem. And that would sell some tickets!