Thursday, May 20, 2010

Local stars mean box-office bonanza?


As part of its Tony coverage, the New York Times included a sidebar on how much big-name stars mean to Broadway's weekly grosses.
Basically, if you have Denzel Washington/Hugh Jackson/Catherine Zeta-Jones/ScarJo in your production and the other guy doesn't, then you will rake in two to four times as much per week.

Which leads to a local application. Kathie Doyle-Lipe has her local following, and for good reason. Some people will go see anything directed by Troy Nickerson — again, for good reason. Perhaps Patrick Treadway, Reed McColm, Ellen Travolta, Jack Bannon, Patrick McHenry-Kroetch and others have similar fan bases? (I don't know, and apologies to anyone I've failed to mention here. You fill in the names.)

Now, Bobo doesn't have access to box-office records hereabouts, and he tends to go to shows on opening night (which has its own buzz, but cannot yet have acquired the shine and increased ticket sales that result from good word-of-mouth). In other words, what does he know?

But here is your chance to praise your fellow artists. Who around here has the marquee name to "open" a show? What examples can you recall of a) poor scripts that sold well because so-in-so was the star, or b) good productions that grossed even better because of a recognizable lead actor?

[ photo: Patrick McHenry-Kroetch as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Spokane Civic Theatre, May-June 2008 ]

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24 Comments:

At May 20, 2010 4:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely agree with those, except perhaps Patrick McHenry-Kroetch? Maybe I just don't get the attraction. I would add Patty Duke (maybe she was too obvious to mention), Damon Abdallah, maybe Jerry Sciarrio, and probably Tom Heppler. Seems like a lot of men on this list...

As a critic, who would you add that to the list of those that should have a public following based on talent, but don't? Or maybe an up-and-comer or two that might have a Spokane fanbase in the future? Also, did you consider the Coeur d'Alene theatre scene when making your initial "list"?

 
At May 20, 2010 5:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate Vita is always a treat!

 
At May 21, 2010 6:01 AM , Blogger Rebecca said...

Jillian Kramer (formerly Ashkinos). I don't know how many people recognize her name in the community, but I know I want to see anything that she's in.

Another one is Caryn Hoaglund. Consistently amazed by her quality performances, ranging from comdedic and broad to dramatic and subtle.

 
At May 21, 2010 1:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are they box office draw or do we just see them so much it feels that way.A few of these I would agree with but the people I would really like to see don't perform enough.

 
At May 21, 2010 2:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caryn Hoagland-Trevett, Kathy Doyal-Lipe, Patrick Treadway, Patty Duke, Ellen Travolta. And imagian the ticket sales if Michael Weaver came back to town.

 
At May 21, 2010 9:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh so many egos to stroke. I would rather see a great overall production than a poor one trying to showcase a minor local celebrity.

 
At May 22, 2010 10:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Kate Vita always delivers, as far as I am concerned. Mary Starkey trumps any actress in town for me. She delivers some of the most thoughtful and believable performances of any. And yes, Troy Nickerson consistently produces the most creative productions. What is different about a Nickerson show, is that every performance is fully realized-not just the leads. Clearly there is an attention to detail that does not always exist in other productions.

 
At May 22, 2010 10:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jean Hardie,Kate Vita,Caryn Hoaglund,David Gigler,Kevin Connel,Marianne McLaughlin,Troy Nickerson,Damon Abdallah,Patrick Treadway....

 
At May 23, 2010 7:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best box office comes from the collaboration led by a strong director,good acting,costuming, effective scenic design and an excellent crew .Certain names may help but ultimately the audience will respond to the quality of the production .I'm not attending to be entertained by just one person, I'm going because the buzz on the overall production is good .The above named individuals are a talented group but none of them can sustain a poor production .A strong director will encourage my attending a show before a so called local celebrity will.Let's all get over our selves.

 
At May 23, 2010 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never been onstage - just love the art form and have volunteered at almost every theatre in the area. You are right on the money with Kathie Doyle-Lipe - people call and ask which productions she will be in. In CDA the top sellers are Ellen Travolta and Jack Bannon. With the paying audience they are the top sellers.

 
At May 23, 2010 1:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm hearing rumors that Andy Greenfield who was in Drawer Boy at ART has a new series on NBC. You jbiow anything about that, Bobo?

 
At May 23, 2010 7:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't even know who Caryn Hoaglund or Kevin Connel are and I'm a director in the area....?

 
At May 23, 2010 8:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

our family will go to anything with Reed McColm in it

 
At May 24, 2010 4:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Hynes, Cary Peironi, Susan Creed. All three of them are good and kind and humble people and incredibly talented actors. I will see anything with these actors. I just wish they would get cast in more shows.

 
At May 24, 2010 6:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would definitely add Tami Knoell if you want a multi-talented draw...

 
At May 25, 2010 7:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know many humble actors.Good people and giving yes but humble not so much.

 
At May 25, 2010 12:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top three female/ male actors: Briane Green,Chastity McDonald Kohlman, and Caryn Hoaglund-Trevett. Damon Abdallah, Tom Heppler, Dan Anderson. Honorable mentions to Tami Knoell and Jhon Goodwin. I agree that Kathie, Troy, Patrick et all definitely have their fan base ( and much deserved!) but these are the names that get me to the box office and in the seats!

 
At May 25, 2010 9:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really fine acting Caryn Hoaglund,Marianne Mclaughlin,Kate Vita,Kathie Doyle,Damon Abdallah,Troy Nickerson,Patrick Treadway

 
At May 26, 2010 4:08 PM , Anonymous Tom Heppler said...

I know it seems silly but it's always very flattering when I'm recogized by theatre goers when I'm out in public. When my nephews were little they thought it was "so cool" that Uncle Tom was "famous". Yes we are all big fish in a little pond but it is nice to know the public appreciates our work.
The best one of these compliments I received recently has also been one of the most embarassing. I was at the doctor's for my first colonoscopy (Yes I am of that age and those of you who haven't had one yet just wait)and the nurse recognized me from doing shows. She kept saying how much she loves seeing me perform and telling the other nurse how she should go to live theatre cause it's so good in this town. Well the doctor comes in and explains what is going to happen and right before he slid the needle in my arm to knock me out he says, "Just wanted you to know I'm a big fan". Well I started laughing the drugs went in the arm and I was out.
So now that I am blusing and laughing all over again, just thought I'd share this story with all of you!!!

 
At May 27, 2010 9:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: May 24th's post.... it's usually not a matter of casting or not casting. Each show takes such a time commitment that many people can only do one show a year or they wouldn't have a job and family to return to after closing night. So any director lucky enough to have them show up at auditions is grateful and casts them if at all possible! I just wish they all didn't have to "work for a living" so they could just be in shows! What a wonderful world THAT would be!

 
At May 27, 2010 3:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lovr Tom's story. I think it's important to reginise that what this discussion is about is NOT egos, but ticket sales. Who sells tickets to people who don't personally know them. Tom is a great example, and no I have never met him personally, but always buy a ticket when he is in a show.

 
At May 31, 2010 9:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am looking over the comments and surprised that I am the first one to mention Bill Marlowe and Melody Deatherage. I am always in awe of Melody's range and talent. And Bill, in both the directing and acting capacity, is a huge asset to local theatre.

I must also praise Tami Knoell, and am glad to see her getting more recognition!! Watching her blossom from the ingenue to star-power leading lady has been a pleasure, and I have no doubt that in a few years time ( if she doesn't abandon the city for brighter lights elsewhere, that is) she'll be held in the same tier as Troy Nickerson, Kathie Doyle-Lipe, and Patrick Treadway.
And, although I am not the first to say it, Damon Abdallah is, in my opinion, the best local actor around these days.

 
At June 04, 2010 10:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tami Knoell is definitely growing as a Musical Theatre actress but I would like to see her do a play to get a better idea of her range.Patrick Treadway is an accomplished actor but I sometimes feel I get allot of the same .Bill Marlowe is excellent I just haven’t seen him do anything in a long time .I will always watch for shows with Kroetch,Anderson,Mclaughlin,Abdallah,Nickerson,Lipe,Hardie,Hoaglund

 
At June 21, 2010 3:35 PM , Anonymous Maria c said...

Tom, what a hilarious story! One New Years Eve Tony and I were out at dinner and a group passed our table and a woman leaned over Tony and told me " You are my favorite actress! I see all your shows! " I told Tony, " have the chopped liver, dear."

 

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