EXCLUSIVE: On Broadway, selling out isn’t a prerequisite for cleaning up.
The Band’s Visit, which is considered a lock for best new musical at the Tony Awards tomorrow, has repaid well over half of its $8.75 million capitalization, according to two people familiar with the production. They report that it’s on track to make its investors whole by Labor Day.
Matt Polk, a production spokesman, declined to comment.
Thanks to terrific opening night reviews, on Nov. 9, the show grossed an average $940,000 a week in 2017, excluding holiday weeks. That average dipped to $895,000 so far this year, or 86 percent of its potential box office, according to Broadway League data collated by Broadway World. Its average ticket, $107 last week, was in the middle of the pack for musicals.
An adult and subtle work about isolation, ennui and yearning set in a sleepy Israeli town, Band’s Visit doesn’t have the mass appeal of Hamilton or The Book of Mormon. Yet like those blockbusters, it’s said to have low running costs, which means it can make a weekly operating profit even when the Ethel Barrymore Theatre isn’t standing room only. Its capitalization is a fraction of Mean Girls, its prime Tony competition, which raised more than $17 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Any selection on the Tony telecast of David Yazbek’s beautiful, Middle-Eastern-influenced score should sell tickets. And winning the big award does extend a production’s life. Since 2000, most of the new musical Tony winners have gone far beyond 1,000 performances. Of those, Fun Home, another adult, experimental piece, had the shortest run on Broadway — 583 regular performances. If Band’s Visit just matches that, it would close next April.
Ticket brokers are taking a cautious approach to the show. As of early Saturday afternoon, there were more than 200 seats available from Telecharge for the first performance after the Tonys, on Tuesday. Tickets are harder to come by next weekend — even with a post-Tony price increase. Prime seats from Telecharge for Saturday night, June 16, are $310, including fees,
up from $260 tonight. Rear mezzanine starts at $60, including fees, and rear orchestra starts at $110.
Editor: Alice Scovell