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.
As new contenders open ahead of the April 27 deadline for Tony Award eligibility, some 270,000 people took in a show, spending $30 million. Among the new musical contenders, Amelie inched up to $557,000 in seven previews and Groundhog Day did a respectable $213,000 in two previews. War Paint sold an impressive $776,000 over seven previews.
Come from Away, the musical about air passengers marooned in Newfoundland, Canada, following 9/11, grossed $877,000 in its first week after receiving an endorsement from Ben Brantley in the New York Times. With an average ticket of $105, it had its best showing since previews began in February.
In contrast, the Rudin revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, which was directed by Sam Gold and stars Sally Field, didn’t get the Brantley nod. It was up 2 percent from the previous week to $441,000, but still less than half its potential gross.
With nine weeks to go, 2016-17 may be similar to last season: buoyant musical sales and so-so receipts among plays. And as in most years, prices are higher. The average seat in the first 43 weeks was $108.27, vs. $103.11 for all of 2015-16.