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Broadway revival of 'Evita' with Ricky Martin closes in the red

January 29, 2013|By Deborah Vankin
  • Ricky Martin at the curtain call after his first performance in the Broadway production of "Evita" in New York.
Ricky Martin at the curtain call after his first performance in the Broadway… (Charles Sykes / Associated…)

The Broadway revival of “Evita,” costarring Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin, closed Saturday night -- and it was squarely in the red.  It hadn’t earned back its $11-million investment, according to Bloomberg News.

With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, “Evita” -- which was also a 1996 feature film starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas -- is a high-profile musical brand by now; it might have seemed a sure-fire success,  especially with pop star power behind it.  But the production -- which also starred Argentinian performer Elena Roger as Evita -- may have set its sights too high.

Bloomberg got hold of the show’s budget information from both New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman’s office and one Broadway investor.

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The splashy production, with three-dozen cast members, ran just 46 weeks -- not nearly enough time to make a profit with the box office it was generating.

Average weekly ticket sales were about $1.03 million.  Weekly expenses were about $880,000.

Jack Viertel, artistic director of the Encores! concert series, put it to Bloomberg this way:

“You’re playing to a very narrow profit margin,” he said. “Stars in revivals make sense if you believe you have a business model that can make back its money in a reasonable amount of time.”

Though Martin seemed to have generated traction with audiences – attendance waned whenever he missed shows, Bloomberg reported -- he nevertheless chose not to renew his one-year contract. The show’s lead producers, Scott Sanders and Hal Luftig, weren’t able to find a suitable replacement to extend the show’s run.

The original production of "Evita" debuted on Broadway in 1979 starring Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. It ran at the Broadway Theatre for nearly four years.

The 2006 London revival, however -- at the Adelphi Theatre -- was not nearly as successful. Despite good reviews, ticket sales were sluggish and the show closed less than a year later. 

According to the Broadway League, the most recent weekly gross for the current Broadway revival of “Evita” was $1,104,835. The show’s average ticket price range was $65-$140, with the top ticket price going for $275.

Bloomberg calculated that the show would have needed to run 63 weeks in order to break even.

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Twitter.com/@debvankin

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