The Kennedy Center's summer Sondheim Celebration of six in repertory works by composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim sold more than $600,000 in tickets in its first day of single-ticket sales Feb. 11, a spokesperson confirmed.
Sondheim shows prompted $639,000 in sales, making it a single-day box office record at the Kennedy Center. Tiki Davies of the Kennedy Center told Playbill On-Line about $400,000 worth of tickets were sold in its second day, Feb. 12.
"We're delighted with the response," Davies said, adding that the sales were hot in-person, by phone and by web. The way tickets are selling for the May-to-August fest, the nonprofit giant's festival will likely be completely sold out. About half the tickets are gone, Davies said. Subscribers, patrons and groups got first crack at seats to Sunday in the Park With George, Company, Merrily We Roll Along, Sweeney Todd, Passion and A Little Night Music, prior to Feb. 11. Total sales so far, three months before the May 10 start of the fest, exceed $3 million. Sweeney Todd, starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Christine Baranski, is the biggest seller. It begins May 10.
The Associated Press reported that 25 percent of ticket sales so far were from theatregoers who live outside of Washington, DC, with 13 percent of sales from New York area audiences. Tickets were bought by people from 41 states and Australia, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
"They're not just buying one [show]," Davies said. "They're buying two or more." That's exactly the goal of the series, Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser previously said. He wanted the Sondheim Celebration to be a kind of living exhibition that people could drink in, to get a sense of the shape and variety of one artist's career.
Further principal casting was announced Feb. 1. Audiences can expect Broadway's John Barrowman as Bobby, Judy Kuhn as Fosca, Raul Esparza as George, Melissa Errico as Dot and Barbara Bryne as Madame Armfeldt, plus more surprises.
Also announced for the shows are Christy Baron (Susan in Company), Matt Bogart (Paul in company), Natascia Diaz (Petra in A Little Night Music), Raul Esparza (as Charley in Merrily We Roll Along, as well at the title role in Sunday in the Park With George), Danny Gurwin (Henrik in A Little Night Music), Rebecca Luker (Clara in Passion), Michael McGrath (Joe in Merrily We Roll Along), Donna Migliaccio (the Nurse in Sunday in the Park With George), Keira Naughton (Sarah in Company), Alice Ripley (Amy in Company), Miriam Shor (Mary in Merrily We Roll Along), Emily Skinner (Jenny in Company) and Gussie in Merrily We Roll Along).
Eric Schaeffer serves as artistic director for the festival (he'll stage Passion and Sunday in the Park With George), Kay Cameron is musical director, Max Woodward is producer. Mark Brokaw directs A Little Night Music, Sean Mathias directs Company and Christopher Ashley directs Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along.
Single tickets range $20-$79. For information, call (202) 467 4600 or visit kennedy center.org/sondheim.
— By Kenneth Jones