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Summertime...Took a little vacation! Three reviews coming soon! Amazing Grace, Hand to God and Mamma Mia!

I hope you'll come back for frequent visits, to see new reviews, to share opinions, to take a survey (or two), and to celebrate the shows and show people that have made the TheatreScene!

Jeff

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The "Tony Bump": Is It Real?

Another thing that gets bandied about during Tony season is the"Tony Bump at the B.O."  I really wanted to see if this was a real or imagined result of Tony nominations.  And of course, after the awards are given, I'd like to see if there is actually a "bump" then, too.

So, I gathered the statistics of the four Best Musical nominees as well as two of the new musical non-nominees to what, if anything happened to ticket sales for these shows as a result of being (or not being) Tony nominated.  (I did not pick Sondheim on Sondheim or Everyday Rapture because at least some of their box office is subscription driven, and I don't know enough about that to even try an educated guess.)

What I looked at are the two fairest comparison points, I think: % of seats taken and average ticket price.  I also thought to consider how long a show has been running, keeping in mind that longer running shows might have had larger audiences when they were newer - their is a significant disparity in length of run between Fela! and Memphis, versus American Idiot and Million Dollar Quartet.  The two other shows, The Addams Family and Come Fly Away are relatively close in performances themselves.  The number of performances listed below is as of May 23rd, which is also the last day of the period studied.  And of course, I took into consideration the number of Tony nominations to see if they, in fact caused a change in box office.

BEFORE means the two weeks before the Tony nominations, DURING means the week of the announcement, and AFTER means the two weeks after the announcement.

Here are the numbers for each show:

American Idiot: 40 performances, 3 Tony nominations

BEFORE: Avg. Attendance: 75.5%     Avg. Ticket Price: $75.29
DURING: Avg. Attendance: 68% (down 7.5%)     Avg. Ticket Price: $82.75 (up about $5.50)
AFTER: Avg. Attendance: 75.5% (up 7.5%, but even overall)  Avg. Ticket Price: $80.50 (down, but still more than before)

  • American Idiot  seems to be at a level in the mid 70%s over the whole period, while their average ticket price is moderately up.

BUMP-O-METER:  Barely a change, but trending upward.


Fela!: 207 performances, 11 Tony nominations
BEFORE: Avg. Attendance: 76.5% Avg. Ticket Price: $68.49
DURING: Avg. Attendance: 93% (up 16.5%) Avg. Ticket Price: $71.92 (up about $3.43)
AFTER: Avg. Attendance: 94% (up 27.5%! from before) Avg. Ticket Price: $76.50 (up $8.00 from before)

  • Fela! certainly has benefited from its Tony nominations; it has the most nods and the highest percent increase of any show.  And their average ticket price is moderately up.

BUMP-O-METER: Fela! is really working its Tony mojo!



Memphis: 248 performances, 8 Tony nominations 

BEFORE: Avg. Attendance: 72% Avg. Ticket Price: $66.22
DURING: Avg. Attendance: 69% (down 3%) Avg. Ticket Price: $69.50(up about $3.25)
AFTER: Avg. Attendance: 77.5% (up 8.5%, overall) Avg. Ticket Price: $69.50(trending up, but leveling off)

  • Memphis seems to be at a level in the mid 70%s over the whole period, while their average ticket price is moderately up. Throughout the run, the show is usually in the mid 70% range, peaking occasionally in the low 80% and going as low as mid-60s.

BUMP-O-METER: With 8.5% overall increase and ticket prices creeping upward, Memphis seems to be feeling the Tony bump, especially given that it is the oldest show on the list.




Million Dollar Quartet: 49 performances, 3 Tony nominations

BEFORE: Avg. Attendance: 68.5% Avg. Ticket Price: $72.15
DURING: Avg. Attendance: 58% (down 9.5%, the largest drop of any on the list) Avg. Ticket Price: $76.30 (up about $4.15)
AFTER: Avg. Attendance: 68% (up 10%, but even overall) Avg. Ticket Price: $72.40(down, but even overall)

  • Million Dollar Quartet, just like American Idiot, seems to be at the same level (in the high 60%s over the whole period, but their average ticket price has leveled off.

BUMP-O-METER: Barely a change, and not trend at all.


Of the Best Musical nominees, the biggest winner is also the show with the most nominations, with the second biggest show nominations wise is also a strong second, while the two shows with the lowest number of nominations seem to be pretty level.  Looks like there might be something to this "Tony Bump" thing, after all.

But wait!

The Addams Family: 52 performances, 2 Tony nominations, not Best Musical

BEFORE: Avg. Attendance: 97% Avg. Ticket Price: $115.08
DURING: Avg. Attendance: 95% (down 2%) Avg. Ticket Price: $109.90 (down about $5.10)
AFTER: Avg. Attendance: 97.5% (up 2.5%, but even overall) Avg. Ticket Price: $109.64(up, but leveled out)

  • The Addams Family, critical whipping boy, is the highest grossing, highest attended and highest average ticket price of any new musical this season.  And there don't seem to be any significant ticket discounts, either.  No one seems to care that it didn't win the Tony committee over. 
BUMP-O-METER: Who needs a bump when you are the top of the heap?



Come Fly Away: 40 performances, 2 Tony nominations, not Best Musical

BEFORE: Avg. Attendance: 70.5% Avg. Ticket Price: $90.93
DURING: Avg. Attendance: 66% (down 3.5%) Avg. Ticket Price: $99.55(up about $8.50)
AFTER: Avg. Attendance: 69% (up 2.5%, but even overall) Avg. Ticket Price: 96.57(down, but still more than before)
  • Come Fly Away seems to be at a level in the low 70%s over the whole period, while their average ticket price is leveling but still incredibly high.  The discounts are not huge, and again, it seems to be doing a great job considering the ho-hum critical response, the economy, and lack of Tony recognition.

BUMP-O-METER: Barely a change, but with Frank on board, the future looks like it could be decent.


THE BOTTOM LINE:  While the Tony nominations did help the biggest two nod-getters, when you factor in two shows that by all rights should be closed, but are outselling all four Best Musical nominees, either by attendance and/or ticket averages, one thing is abundantly clear:  Audiences will pay more for what they want to see, critics or Tony nominations be damned.


Comments?  Leave one here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.
Jeff

2 comments:

  1. I think Fela got a bump because being the musical with most noms, it was in all the headlines when the noms were announced. If so, that means the Tonys still have credibility and weight. Historically, you see bumps for the winning show as well. Of course, shows that are critic proof will also be Tony-proof although shows like Addams Family could also benefit from Tony cred. Theybhad a huge advance before opening..the numbers we're seeing right now are people who purchased before the Tony noms. It will be interesting to see their numbers after the summer. That will be the true test of how good their word of mouth is.

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  2. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    You are so right. In a couple of weeks after the Tonys I am going to look at the same thing to see about the award bump, too.

    I won't give away what I thought of The Addams Family, which I saw this weekend until my review, but I will say I don't think word of mouth will be a problem for that show...

    Jeff

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