The musicals Ain’t Too Proud, Moulin Rouge, Frozen, Jagged Little Pill and The Tina Turner Musical posted their worst sales since opening as tourists increasingly stay home in response to the coronavirus threat.
Overall, Broadway grossed $26.7 million in the week ending Sunday, down 12 percent from a year earlier, according to the Broadway League, the trade association of theater owners and producers. Two heavily promoted new entries in previews were bright spots. Stefano Massini’s The Lehman Trilogy, which deals in part with the 2008 financial crisis and returns to New York after an acclaimed run at the Park Ave. Armory, sold $188,000 for one preview performance. Its average ticket was $163, an unusually robust figure for a straight play.
Company, a gender-switched revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s classic 1970 musical about urban alienation, grossed $780,000 over six previews, with a $124 average seat.
Otherwise, concern about the virus accentuated Broadway’s late winter blahs.
The Temptations bio-musical Ain’t Too Proud grossed $921,000, its first week below $1 million since opening last spring. Two-year-old Frozen posted $799,000, the first week that the Disney movie adaptation fell short of $900,000. Both Ain’t Too Proud and Frozen played to houses that were about 80 percent full, down from 90 percent two weeks earlier.
Another movie adaptation, Moulin Rouge, dipped 4 percent from the previous week to $1.5 million. It continues to play to packed houses at the Al Hirschfeld, but its average ticket declined for three weeks straight, to $148.
Even The Lion King, one of the most successful entertainment brands of all time, fell to $1.2 million, its worst week in four years.
Today, the number of coronavirus infections nationally surpassed 600, doubling since Friday, according to the New York Times. And consumer confidence took a hit as the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 stock market Index tumbled 8 percent. That was its biggest drop since December 2008, during the aforementioned financial crisis and in the wake of investment bank Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy filing.
The League said theaters have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting. It’s also encouraging sick patrons to stay home. As sporting events and festivals are cancelled, will Broadway remain open? “We won’t close unless we’re told to,” an active producer and League member told Broadway Journal, speaking on condition of anonymity.