Friday, January 04, 2008

The Hyperbole of House Records

Every time a Broadway show breaks a house record -- meaning the production in that theatre "wraps," or grosses, more in one week than any other production in that theatre before it, I get a press release about it. I totally understand it's the job of the publicist to publicize such things, but I've never been convinced that anyone particularly cares. Here's what I received today:


Producers of the new Broadway production of GREASE(TM) announced today that during the performance week of December 26 - December 31, 2007, the production set a new box office record at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre by grossing $1,140,813.46. GREASE(TM) broke the record ($962,662.00) previously set by The Odd Couple, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
A few things on this. First, does anyone on earth spellcheck? Is it Atkinson Theater or Theatre? ("What is 'Theatre,' Alex?") Second, why remind everyone that Grease is trademarked? Who, exactly, is going to steal it, and for what purpose? Mostly it's there to make journalists ignore it, or to be obnoxious, which Grease most assuredly is in any event. Third, who, other than box-office personnel, fannish dweebs, the producers of the current Broadway revival, and the good folks at the Shuberts/Nederlanders/Jujamcyns, are keeping track of these figures? And what does it all mean? Does it mean Grandma Kleinbaum is going to rush right out and buy tickets for it because they've bought into the idea that it must be the hottest ticket in town and therefore they've got to see it? Well, sure, that's the point of such PR, but does anyone -- and can anyone -- measure the effect of such PR? I'm just saying.

I also find hilarious the plot synopsis attached to the release, just to clue those born under rocks or living, say, in Idaho or Middle Earth:

After spending a hopelessly devoted summer with Sandy Dumbrowski (Osnes), the new girl in town, Danny Zuko's (Max Crumm) world is thrown upside down when Sandy appears at Rydell High on the first day of school. What follows is a rock 'n' roll celebration of growin' up, cruisin' with friends and goin' steady.

The new production of GREASE(tm) features songs from the smash hit 1978 motion picture for the first time ever on Broadway including "Sandy," the Academy Award nominated song "Hopelessly Devoted to You," "Grease" and "You're the One That I Want" both of which were #1 hits on the Billboard Top 100 list.

These songs will be heard in addition to the Jacobs/Casey songs made famous by the original stage production including "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightnin'" and "We Go Together."

You gotta just love all those dropped g's. At least that what I'm thinkin.'

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