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Broadway breaks weekly, yearly gross records

"Dear Evan Hansen" helped contribute to a record-breaking year at the Broadway box office. Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

Broadway brought in a record-breaking sum of $1.64 billion in box office grosses in 2017.

Last week alone, Broadway grossed a record-breaking $50.3 million (with “Hamilton” alone earning $3.85 million).

Much of Broadway’s financial success in 2017 had to do with sold-out mega-hits (i.e. “Hamilton,” “Hello, Dolly!”, “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Springsteen on Broadway”) plus long-running, family-friendly hits that still command big grosses such as “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Wicked.”

Premium-priced seats have also become more acceptable among theatergoers.

Uncensored ‘Indecent’ will be streamed online

When Paula Vogel’s historical drama “Indecent” recently aired on PBS, those who had seen the play during its Off-Broadway and Broadway runs noted the irony that some language and sexual content from the stage production (likely considered too “indecent” for television) had been removed. BroadwayHD, the website where videos of theatrical productions are available for streaming, has announced that it will offer an uncensored, director’s cut version of “Indecent” beginning Jan. 25. Other recent Broadway productions that are currently available on BroadwayHD include “Falsettos,” “She Loves Me” and “Holiday Inn.”

Film version of ‘bare’ in the works

In 2004, the late Damon Intrabartolo’s high school pop opera “bare” (starring a then unknown Michael Arden) premiered Off-Off-Broadway. An Off-Broadway transfer was announced but then cancelled. A heavily-revised, inferior version briefly played Off-Broadway in 2012. Word now comes that a film adaptation of “bare” is in the works, which will be directed by Kristin Hanggi (who staged the original production). In a statement at barethemovie.com, the film’s producers called the musical “a significant piece within the history of gay theatre. With a community of both gay and straight people, it shows the ‘bare’ humanity of the issues each individual faces, rather than sexuality being the forefront of their struggles.”

‘Farinelli’ undergoes early cast change

“Farinelli and the King” just opened on Broadway, but English actor Colin Hurley is already leaving the show. Beginning next week, Hurley will be replaced by Simon Jones (“The Real Thing”) in the supporting role of opera producer John Rich. All things considered, the play is dominated by King Philippe V (Mark Rylance), his wife Isabella (Melody Grove) and the castrato singer Farinelli (acting by Sam Crane, singing by countertenor Iestyn Davies).

Spotted …

LL Cool J and Debbie Allen at “A Bronx Tale” … Hillary and Bill Clinton at “The Band’s Visit” … Pitbull at “Latin History for Morons.”

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