Ricky Martin can’t save Evita
| Philip Boroff |
NEW YORK (WP-BLOOM) – Even with eight million Twitter followers, pop star Ricky Martin couldn’t make “Evita” profitable.
Undone by high weekly running costs, Broadway’s top-selling show to open in 2012 closed recently without earning back the $11 million raised from investors.
Ricky Martin stars as Che in ‘Evita’. WP-BLOOM
The failure of “Evita” illustrates the risks of producing large, star-driven musical revivals, which generally have a shorter life than a popular all-new show.
The 1979 original, with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin, ran nearly four years; the revival just 46 weeks. Given its sales, it would have taken at least 63 weeks for the production to break even. (The production cost $9.6 million.)
A budget and early results were obtained from the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman through a Freedom of Information Law request and from a Broadway investor.
The show was capitalised at $11 million, including $1 million held in reserve.
Ticket sales averaged about $1.03 million per week after deducting credit card commissions and other fees that producers don’t keep.
Weekly expenses were about $880,000 including royalties paid to the director, composer and others.
“You’re playing to a very narrow profit margin,” said Jack Viertel, artistic director of the Encores! concert series, referring to large revivals generally. “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.”
New York critics were underwhelmed by Argentinian star Elena Roger in the title role. But Martin proved a huge draw, as evidenced by the dips when he missed performances.
When he didn’t renew his one-year contract, the lead producers, Hal Luftig and Scott Sanders, searched unsuccessfully for replacements to extend the run.
Luftig and Sanders declined to comment for this story, said Leslie Papa, a production spokesman.
With a cast of three dozen, “Evita” was a large-scale undertaking. While Martin’s pay as Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara wasn’t fully detailed, the budget lists a “star percentage” bonus of 10 per cent of weekly box office above $700,000 and “star perqs” (perquisites) of $18,500 a week. The five principals shared about $170,000 a week in pay and perquisites at the outset of the run.
That’s nearly three times the initial weekly pay of the entire 27-actor company of 2011’s monster hit “The Book of Mormon”.