Dear Evan Hansen, the new show by the lyricists of La La Land, had a record week on Broadway as their movie musical got 14 Academy Award nominations.
With music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen is about an anxious high school boy (played by Ben Platt) whose life changes after a lie he tells about a troubled classmate goes viral. Steven Levenson wrote the book. Sales for the week ending Jan. 29 increased by 1% to $1.1 million. That’s its best showing for an eight-performance week since it began previews on Nov. 14. The last week of 2016 was higher, when Dear Evan Hansen and most other shows held nine performances to capitalize on the influx of tourists.
The musical’s average ticket at the Music Box Theatre rose by $1.52 last week to $138.08. It was Broadway’s third-highest average, after Hamilton ($229.17) and The Book of Mormon ($150.59).
In a panel discussion at BroadwayCon on Jan. 29 at the Javits Center, composer Paul said the success of La La Land, which stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, may increase interest in theater. “They see that movie and next time they’re in New York maybe they’ll want to see a Broadway show,” he said.
La La Land’s Oscar nominations include best picture, actor, actress, score, and two original songs. Pasek and Paul received nominations for the original songs Audition and City of Stars, along with Justin Hurwitz, who wrote the movie’s music. (Pasek and Paul wrote lyrics only on La La Land.) The Oscars are scheduled for Feb. 26 in Los Angeles. Tony Award nominations are announced on May 2, with the ceremony on June 11 at Radio City Musical Hall.
Hamilton also had its best non-holiday seven days. The Lin-Manuel Miranda smash, which charges a top ticket of $849, grossed $2.5 million, up $14,000 from the previous week. And grosses soared in the first full week after August Wilson’s Jitney opened to terrific reviews at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel Friedman Theatre. Set in a gypsy-cab office in the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1977, its box office rose $110,000, or 41%, to $382,000.
This story originally appeared in Crain’s New York Business.