Ben Brantley called J.T. Rogers’ drama about the 1993 accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization “crackling theater” when he reviewed it over the summer. Since transferring from Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi Newhouse to the Vivian Beaumont, it sold a healthy $297,000 in its first four previews, buoyed by LCT members with access to discounted tickets.
One of the season’s most anticipated musical revivals, the Scott Rudin-produced Hello, Dolly!, got off to a fast start in Broadway’s top-selling and best-attended week of the year.
The show grossed $1.4 million in five previews, according to the Broadway League. Both its $750 top seat and $196 average ticket were second only to Hamilton: An American Musical, which has an $849 top ticket and $267 average last week. The numbers confirm that Dolly!, with Midler singing on Broadway for the first time since Bette! Divine Madness in 1979, is on track to be the top-grossing new production of the spring. The classic last appeared on Broadway two decades ago, with Carol Channing reprising a role she played repeatedly on Broadway and on tour.
Sunday in the Park with George, which began a more experimental phase for Stephen Sondheim when the musical debuted off-Broadway in 1983, is doing big business in its latest go-round.
Sales for the revival, with movie star Jake Gyllenhaal as pointillist painter Georges Seurat (and his fictional great-grandson in Act Two), jumped 18 percent to $1.1 million last week. The average ticket, at $140, was topped only by Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen.Continue Reading
In an unusual reversal caused by the departure of its No. 2 theater critic, the New York Times relinquished its support of Significant Other once it arrived on Broadway.
What Charles Isherwood deemed “an entirely delightful new play” in his 2015 review off Broadway at the Roundabout, Ben Brantley found to be a “bubbly, teary comedy” that is reminiscent of Wendy Wasserstein but “talks too much and too explicitly” and might be more satisfying 20 minutes shorter. The review, which appears on page C3 in the paper rather than the section front, isn’t cited as a “critics’ pick.”
Broadway audiences can’t get enough of Glenn Close or Andrew Lloyd Webber.
A new revival of Sunset Boulevard grossed an impressive $834,000 in its first five previews last week at the Palace Theatre, according to figures from the trade association the Broadway League. It is Close’s 13th role on Broadway since 1974. And along with Cats, School of Rock and The Phantom of the Opera, the adaptation of the Billy Wilder classic film noir is the fourth Lloyd Webber musical running on Broadway.
UPDATE WITH DRAMA SALES DECLINE: The Broadway season ended on Sunday with record attendance and sales, thanks to Hamilton. But grosses for plays in 2015-16 retreated 27 percent as star vehicles fell short.
Overall, Broadway sales rose a record 0.6 percent from a year earlier to $1.37 billion, according to the Broadway League. Attendance was up 1.6 percent, another record. Musicals carried the day, led by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wildly popular cultural phenomenon that’s on track to run for years.
Plays without music were another story. Sales for dramas this past season declined by $66 million to $182 million, according to League statistics. It was the lowest play tally since 2010-11. As in 2014-15, 20 new plays and revivals opened in 2015-16 but they didn’t run as long or command as much. Play attendance fell 14 percent as average admission dropped from $104.46 to $89.59.
Prices for musicals increased slightly, but not enough to compensate for dramas. Broadway’s overall average ticket price fell by $1.07, or 1 percent, to $103.11. It was Broadway’s first price drop since the League introduced its grosses database in 1984-85. The decline doesn’t take into account the four-figure sums Hamilton commands in the secondary market.