The first 12 hours of the general-public sale of the Dec. 30-April 4, 2004, run of The Producers saw $3.6 million worth of tickets sold, representing about 39,000 tickets, a spokesman said Nov. 17.
Tickets for the return of original stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick went on sale by phone and in-person noon Nov. 16. The box office at the St. James Theatre was kept open four hours later than expected on Sunday, until 10 PM, to accommodate buyers.
The line of ticketbuyers ran the length of West 44th Street between the theatre and Seventh Avenue, and numbered more than a thousand, according to observers. Others dialed the Telecharge.com phone line to charge by phone at (212) 239-6200.
Lane, who won a Tony Award for the 2001 Mel Brooks musical comedy, and Broderick, who was nominated, return to the St. James Theatre starting Dec. 30 for 112 performances. Their return — at a reported salary of $100,000 per week per actor — comes at a time when the smash show's sales have gone soft two years after the musical made theatre history by winning 12 Tonys. "Soft" is relative: according to box office information provided by the League of American Theatres and Producers, the show was at 75.5 percent of capacity the week of Nov. 3-9, and the show has not been known to be at the TKTS discount booth yet.
American Express Gold Card holders were offered an exclusive first-grab at tickets starting Nov. 9, in an offer through 11:59 PM Nov. 15.
Desiree Fish, a spokesperson for AmEx Gold Card Events, told Playbill On-Line the offer was "by the far the hottest ticket we've ever sold" but wouldn't name figures. The New York Times reported that $2 million in tickets were sold in the first two days of that offer. That indicates that the general sale will be a feeding frenzy.
Earlier this year when The New York Post speculated tickets for Lane and Broderick would go on sale immediately, ticketbuyers desperately lined up after reading the article even though no announcement had been made and no tickets were on sale.
Lane and Broderick play the St. James Theatre only through April 4, 2004. They step into the show 7 PM Dec. 30. Tickets are scaled at $30-$100, and are on sale by phone and online through Telecharge.com at (212) 239 6200, and in-person at The St. James Theatre Box Office, 246 West 44th Street.
The return of Lane and Broderick had been expected; both actors had talked publicly about going back into the show around Jan. 1, 2004, but the first official word of exact dates and length of run came Nov. 4.
Coinciding with the return of Tony Award nominee Broderick (who created the stage role of nebbishy Leo Bloom, would-be producer) and Lane (who won a Tony Award as corrupt impresario Max Bialystock in the Mel Brooks musical) is the return of Roger Bart in the role of Carmen Ghia, the swishy assistant and partner of flamboyant director Roger DeBris (played by Tony winner Gary Beach).
The Producers will continue to star John Treacy Egan (Franz Liebkind) and Angie Schworer (Ulla). Original Broadway cast member Brad Oscar will stand by for the role of Max Bialystock, and Roger Bart will stand by for the role of Leo Bloom.
The cast also includes Jim Borstelmann, Jennifer Paige Chambers, Angie C. Creighton, Madeleine Doherty, Bryn Dowling, Kathy Fitzgerald, Robert H. Fowler, Adrienne Gibbons, Eric Gunhus, Kimberly Hester, Stacey Todd Holt, Naomi Kakuk, Matt Loehr, Peter Marinos, Mike McGowan, Larry Raben, Jason Patrick Sands, Jennifer Smith, Jenny-Lynn Suckling, Wendy Waring and Courtney Young.
Mark Lotito, an understudy Max who has played various roles in the show since spring, leaves the company to play Avram and understudy Alfred Molina as Tevye in the new Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof.
The Producers opened on Broadway April 19, 2001 and went on to win the most Tonys won by one show — 12 awards.
The Producers is produced by Rocco Landesman; Clear Channel Entertainment; The Frankel * Baruch * Viertel * Routh Group; Bob and Harvey Weinstein; Rick Steiner; Robert F.X. Sillerman and Mel Brooks, in association with James D. Stern/Douglas Meyer and by special arrangement with StudioCanal.
The show has a Tony Award-winning book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan (based on the 1968 Mel Brooks movie), Tony Award-winning music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, and is directed and choreographed by five-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman.
The Producers playing schedule is Tuesday evenings at 7 PM, Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2 PM and Sunday matinees at 3 PM.
The New Year's Eve performance of The Producers at 7 PM on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003 will be followed by a gala New Year's Eve celebration. Immediately following the performance, ticket-holders for this special event will enjoy dinner in the spacious, all glass lobby of the Minskoff Theatre, which directly overlooks the heart of Times Square and offers a spectacular view of the New Year's Eve festivities. To inquire about tickets for both the New Year's Eve performance and for the gala celebration, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 beginning Nov. 16.
There are currently four North American companies of The Producers: Broadway, two national tours and the Toronto production (beginning Nov. 21).