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How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office

How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office

steve.sometime
#1How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 5:03pm

As a theatre fan, my immediate reaction to 2 Wild Party's, or if it happens, 2 Gatsby's playing in New York at the same time, would be: I need to see both! Kind of like the Barbenheimer situation, regardless of which one is better. If possible, I would even see both on the same day. But I can't help feeling that might not be how it played out. Can someone shed some light on the audience reaction to the 2 Wild Party's playing at the same time? Specifically, did it help both shows, because you want to compare? Or did the word of mouth pick a winner, causing the other one to see a clear decline at the box office? Or did the general public care at all?

At last, if the Broadway Gatsby is still around when the Boston Gatsby comes over, would you see both together again?

rosscoe(au) Profile Photo
rosscoe(au)
#2How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 5:07pm

I think Mandy Patinkin had more impact on the box office with his behavior from memory. 


Well I didn't want to get into it, but he's a Satanist. Every full moon he sacrifices 4 puppies to the Dark Lord and smears their blood on his paino. This should help you understand the score for Wicked a little bit more. Tazber's: Reply to Is Stephen Schwartz a Practicing Christian

jagman106
#3How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 5:47pm

Based on my memory, the Lippa production was better reviewed than the LaChiusa production, but that Broadway version boasted Toni Collette just coming off her starring role in The Sixth Sense and the real star IMO, Eartha Kitt, who along with Patinkin to a lesser extent were the real draws. The show featured many theater regulars. The Off-Broadway production boasted a number of theater regs before they really reached stardom or recognition, although Menzel and Diggs already had a Rent following. I think most of us who regularly attended theater saw both, but for more casual theater-goers, they were more likely to see the Broadway version. As I recall, the overlap was brief with the Lippa production opening before the LaChiusa one, and neither production played for very long. Whether one show cannibalized the sales of another is a good question, but I doubt it, and I think there was less interest in the subject matter than in the performers.

Updated On: 6/8/24 at 05:47 PM

Kad Profile Photo
Kad
#4How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 6:37pm

I would think the two shows were largely playing to different markets, and Lippa’s was at MTC, a nonprofit, so box office wasn’t as much of a factor there. 


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

Alex Kulak2
#5How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 6:48pm

The Lippa Wild Party being non-profit/off-Broadway makes this kind of apples to oranges, since it was always going to have lower grosses/attendance.

JSquared2
#6How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 6:53pm

Alex Kulak2 said: "The Lippa Wild Party being non-profit/off-Broadway makes this kind of apples to oranges, since it was always going to have lower grosses/attendance."


Yes the Lippa version was at MTC off-Broadway and was pretty much sold out with their subscriber base before it even opened. I don’t recall if they extended —but it was a near impossible ticket to get. 

AEA AGMA SM
#7How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 9:57pm

It’s also worth noting that they only overlapped for a month during previews of the Broadway production. The Lippa version ran from February 24 to April 9. LaChiusa's version began previews on March 10 and opened on April 13.

While I’m more partial to LaChiusa's, possibly because I saw it and was enamored with the cast recording well before I listened to the Lippa one, I don’t think the competition, such as it was, was the result of its early closing. It was a show that was always going to be a hard sell and would have needed to pull off a miracle win at the Tonys that year to survive, and even then would have been amongst the list of Best Musical winners that had shockingly short runs.

pmensky
#8How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/8/24 at 11:05pm

Funny enough, it was 24 years ago today that I saw one of the final performances of LaChiusa’s, The Wild Party. I knew that there were two different productions happening, but I never remember there being any kind of competition or comparison, as both productions were so different. Also, as someone mentioned, the MTC production was mostly sold to subscribers, so it didn’t seem very accessible. It was also a time before social media and before everyone was on the internet 24/7 in general, so there weren’t a lot of online reviews or chatter causing competition. For me, it was a no brainer because of Eartha Kitt and Toni Collette with George Wolfe at the helm. I had also seen Marie Christine and was a fan of LaChiusa’s work. It really surprised me that this production didn’t run longer, as it was excellent and so memorable.

DCS
#9How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 11:51am

I am one of those people who saw both productions on the same day (Lippa matinee and La Chiusa evening). It was fascinating to compare the 2 versions back to back like that.  First off, I will say that neither version was satisfying in that I don't think the source material is substantial enough to support a musical in the first place and it makes for a long slog through a show with a group of very unlikable characters doing very unpleasant things with nothing really at stake.  I went to both with a small group of friends and the most fun we had after both shows was mixing & matching performers and songs from both productions to put together what we felt was the best from each...for example, we all picked Collette as our Queenie, but D'Arcy James as our Burr and Taye Diggs as Black, but Tonya Pinkins as Kate, etc and we liked pulling songs from both shows.  Both versions make for better listening experiences as cast recordings, which I think is why they both seem to have developed sort of cult followings, but onstage, neither production worked for me or my friends. Again, due, I think to the nature of the source material.  I think the same thing may ultimately prove true with the current rival versions of The Great Gatsby, which, although it's considered a classic of American literature, it has ultimately failed to be successfully adapted to the screen (and I mean from a critical standpoint) and I think will prove to not work as a stage musical no matter how well intended the creative team behind it.

rattleNwoolypenguin
#10How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 12:21pm

Is part of this discussion ever that by all accounts Lippa's Wild Party is more the flavor of mainstream accessible broadway and that LaChiusa's has all the makings for a more niche off broadway audience and their venues were the opposite?

ljay889 Profile Photo
ljay889
#11How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 12:37pm

rattleNwoolypenguin said: "Is part of this discussion ever that by all accounts Lippa's Wild Party is more the flavor of mainstream accessible broadway and that LaChiusa's has all the makings for a more niche off broadway audience and their venues were the opposite?"

Yeah, probably because Lippa’s score is mostly pop drivel compared to LaChiusa’s complex and period score. 

Kad Profile Photo
Kad
#12How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 12:41pm

I’m always surprised to remember that MTC, of all the nonprofits, produced Lippa’s. It seems very out of place for them, then and now. 


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."

steve.sometime
#13How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 2:41pm

Thanks all for the insight! It was fascinating to read. My intention was to explore if it's a good idea for ART Gatsby to transfer while PMP's Gatsby is still on Broadway. Basically the possibility of 2 Gatsby's on Broadway at the same time. Unfortunately, as people have explained, the dueling Wild Party's don't provide much that's applicable here. My takeaways so far are:

1. Theatre fans' interest: There's a decent amount of interest to see both TWP, some even on the same day to make it an event. If Gatsby happens, it could be beneficial for one of them to have uncommon matinees, which is already the case: PMP Gatsby has a Thu matinee. If both play at the same time, people could see both at least on Wed, Thu, and Sat.

2. Selling point: TWP was much more obscure. The dueling effect may have helped a bit, but ultimately people were only interested because of stars. Gatsby has proven to be different, as PMP Gatsby has been doing fine without mainstream stars. People do care about Gatsby, the material. The dueling effect might be more pronounced. If marketing and social media make it a thing like Barbenheimer, do you see people flocking to New York just to be able to see both? 

3. Box office numbers: As people have explained, there's no way to tell if one TWP boosted or cannibalized the other at the box office, because the Lippa TWP was already sold out to subscribers. Something interesting is that Lippa TWP announced an extension by a week on Mar 9 (Playbill article), the day before LaChiusa TWP started previews on Mar 10. This could be interpreted as there being enough hype to see both, but once both started, it turned out that the demand wasn't enough for a second extension (unless the theatre was booked by another show already).

For Gatsby, the timing is very different. I imagine ART Gatsby would want to transfer in the spring to get that Tony boost. By then, PMP Gatsby will have run for over a year if it’s still around. The word of mouth will be established. People who are more selective or with limited budgets may choose the fresh newcomer, until word of mouth picks a winner. People who see more shows may have already seen the PMP and are interested in the ART version. There are so many ways this could go. But in the first month, ART Gatsby should be fine. The concerns might be:
1) The public doesn't know this is a different Gatsby, so the marketing has to make that LOUD AND CLEAR.
2) Gatsby fatigue: Let's hope there isn't another major Gatsby adaptation in any media before ART gets to New York. Gatz at the Public is small enough to be neglected.
3) Being the darker/artsy one (the Boston logo isn't exactly inviting), it might need awards to help ticket buyers make the decision.

4. Producers' perspective: The same Playbill article also says up front that Lippa TWP was not moving to Broadway, before LaChiusa even started. They definitely had planned to transfer (there are articles and interviews as proof), but decided to avoid it. It could be the mixed reviews that killed their confidence. Whatever the reason, that could affect ART Gatsby to avoid clashing with PMP Gatsby too.

Edit: Fix the playbill link.

Updated On: 6/9/24 at 02:41 PM

jagman106
#14How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 3:10pm

I think your comparison of the two Wild Parties or Gatsbys to Barbenheimer isn't a very valid one, with all due respect. Barbie and Oppenheimer are based on two entirely different subjects, each having different social implications with no similarities. Also, people were/are more likely to see both films based on the much lower cost to see movies or even download them, so you're talking about two different mediums. The Wild Party x 2, as well as Gatsby x 2, are based on the same sources, so it's much easier to compare the two to the original sources and to each other. Given the price of theater tickets these days, the casual theater-goer may have interest in only one of the Gatsbys thinking that if they see one, there is no need to see the other. Economics in 2024 are very different than in 2000 when The Wild Party x 2 were performed. More people may be interested in Gatsby based on familiarity with the title, with many Americans likely having read it in high school. The Wild Party is more obscure (I didn't know it existed until the publicity the shows got in late 1999/early 2000), and many people were likely unfamiliar with the title.

Updated On: 6/10/24 at 03:10 PM

Kad Profile Photo
Kad
#15How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 3:43pm

Barbenheimer became a thing because of the coincidence of their release and the delightful absurdity in combining and contrasting them. The theatrical equivalent would be like, running Legally Blonde and Sweeney Todd in rep (Legally Todd- somebody make it happen).


"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
Updated On: 6/9/24 at 03:43 PM

noahseestheatre Profile Photo
noahseestheatre
#16How did the dueling Wild Party's affect box office
Posted: 6/9/24 at 9:15pm

Can I just say I am loving reading these? So hard to find old message boards for past shows, I love hearing the sentiments that swirled when different shows premiered


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