Thursday, January 22, 2009

Taking Advantage

Joshua has been on break since his exam period ended a week ago yesterday. Josh’s classes start up again on Monday.

Josh and I have been trying to take advantage of his break by doing a few interesting things.

Last weekend, my brother visited us from late Friday afternoon until very early Wednesday morning. We enjoyed his visit very much, and he enjoyed his long weekend in Boston very much. Josh and I took him to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the USS Constitution, the New England Aquarium and the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem. We also took him to the theater three times. All of our excursions were as new for Josh and me as they were for my brother. We had a great time.

Josh wrote about last weekend, in detail, on his blog.

Early tomorrow afternoon, Josh and I will drive down to New York for the weekend. We elected to make the New York trip once we learned how extraordinarily inexpensive truly excellent New York hotels have recently become on weekends. We decided we should take advantage of the situation while we may, and we booked two nights at a hotel we normally would not even contemplate visiting because of the outrageous cost, and we booked at rates two-thirds below what they were one year ago.

The hospitality industry must be hurting, and hurting badly.

Our weekend will be built around George Balanchine. We will see Balanchine danced by New York City Ballet, and we will see Balanchine danced by Miami City Ballet. We will also hear the New York Philharmonic under Muti and attend a performance of “Equus” as it nears the end of its Broadway run.

Broadway, too, must be hurting in the current economic climate. A raft of long-running shows has closed since Christmas.

“Equus” may provide a prototypical example of declining ticket sales on Broadway at present. From what I have read, box-office receipts for “Equus” have declined, weekly, from the very beginning of the run, despite strong advance sales, good notices, a good cast and the presence of a popular film actor making his American stage debut. “Equus”, in only a very limited engagement, was expected to sell out its run, or come very close to doing so. By the third week of the engagement, “Equus” sales had declined from 100% capacity to 78% capacity, at which point the deterioration REALLY set in, coincident with the deterioration in the financial markets. Current figures for “Equus”: the show is selling at 50% capacity.

For many, things are going to get worse before they get better—and not just on Broadway.

Josh took advantage of his time off this week to read “Equus”. Once done with “Equus”, he embarked on “David Copperfield”, which he is enjoying enormously.

I have always believed that “David Copperfield” was Dickens’s richest novel, and Josh is forming that same opinion.


  1. That same production of "Equus" did well here. How much was due to the "Harry Potter" star, naked, I cannot say. We skipped it.

    It's not been a good theater year, at the National or on the West End. Hytner has lost his magic touch at the National, and none of the commercial plays on the West End are sticking.

  2. My guess is that the economic downturn was responsible for the production's lack of commercial success in New York.