Many winners at Radio City Music Hall on June 11 had their bestselling weeks to-date after being recognized for achievement and, in the case of musicals, making the most of the international platform to present songs from their shows.
Broadway producers and investors made the brave decision to present several new plays without stars this past season.
Audiences haven’t followed. Grosses for straight plays (non-musicals) tumbled 15 percent in the 12 months ending on Sunday, after plunging 27 percent the previous season, according to statistics out today from the Broadway League. At $154 million, it was the lowest-grossing season for plays in at least six years.
With a week to go, 2016-17 has already surpassed last season’s record grosses.
After 51 weeks, Broadway has sold $1.415 billion of tickets, vs. $1.373 billion for all of 2015-16. Sales are on track to rise 5 percent, according to figures from the Broadway League.
EXCLUSIVE: On Sept. 27, 2012, four days before Rebecca the Musical was to begin rehearsals, it sold 27 tickets.
The day’s “wrap,” or sales, was $2,952.50, according to an internal production document introduced this week in the Rebecca civil trial.
Its advance sale was $1.035 million, the document said. “That would be a weak advance,” testified Aaron Lustbader, a partner at Foresight Theatrical, the general manager of such shows as Phantom of the Opera. Lustbader wasn’t involved in Rebecca, which was postponed for the third and final time a day before rehearsals were to start. Big musicals typically wrap $50,000 each day before previews, he testified yesterday.
Easter week was flush for Broadway’s flashiest star vehicles and dismal for serious new plays, Pulitzer Prize notwithstanding.
Two Scott Rudin productions in previews tell the story: Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler passed $2 million for the first time, its average ticket rose $8 to $201, according to sales figures released by the Broadway League. Meanwhile Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House Part 2 was little changed at $91,000, with an average ticket of $24.
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.