Bright Star Producer Makes Plan to Keep New Musical Afloat

News   Bright Star Producer Makes Plan to Keep New Musical Afloat
The Edie Brickell-Steve Martin musical hopes to get a boost from the Tonys and will take out a priority loan.
Carmen Cusack and Paul Alexander Nolan in <i>Bright Star</i>
Carmen Cusack and Paul Alexander Nolan in Bright Star Nick Stokes

Bright Star, the new Edie Brickell-Steve Martin musical recently nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, continues to struggle at the box office, bringing in $369,470.50 of a potential $912,056 for the week ending May 1.

Lead producer Joey Parnes, however, hopes that the recent nominations, including one for critically acclaimed leading lady Carmen Cusack, will prompt an increase in ticket sales.

Parnes told Crains New York, “It's not a secret that we've been having less-than-robust grosses… To say we're an underdog is an understatement.” The underdog status is particularly notable in a season that includes the Lin-Manuel Miranda juggernaut Hamilton, which received a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations.

In order to stay afloat through the June 12 Tony ceremony, producer Parnes told Crains the production has temporarily reduced expenses (royalties and rent) and will take out a loan from some of its many producers that will partly be used for advertising.

The producer also said there is no precise formula to determine when a struggling show should close its doors. “It has to do with a whole alignment of things that have to work in your favor,” Parnes said, adding, “I'm a Tony believer.”

Bright Star, it should be noted, was named Outstanding New Broadway Musical of the 2015-16 season May 9 by the Outer Critics Circle. The musical, directed by Walter Bobbie, continues at the Cort Theatre.

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