Who says Times Square is godless? That hasn’t been the case at least since Disney came back to Broadway, though as usual the deity must co-exist, however uneasily, with Mammon. On the evidence last week, to paraphrase Robert Browning, God’s in his heaven (OK, the Booth and Studio 54), all’s right with the world. At the Shubert-owned Booth (where, we hope, He has a wicked sense of humor and a taste for, well let’s just say the exotic), best-play Tony nominee Hand To God is building: 88% of the seats were filled, grosses were up $26K to $427K (which is great, since I’m told producer Jeffrey Sellers’ weekly running costs are $77.19, which happens to be exactly the same amount as the average ticket price).
Meanwhile at Studio 54, which the Roundabout Theatre Company is renting out for the limited run, Jim Parsons’ first full week of previews in the comedy An Act Of God took in $774K, or 73% of its $1 million gross potential, filling 80% of the seats. Not bad, given the patently godless activities prevalent there a couple of decades back.
Best-musical nominee Something Rotten! continued to build at Jujamcyn’s St. James Theatre, growing $47K to its best week yet at $950K, a healthy 91.7% of potential. Tony looked the other way from Finding Neverland but does God care? That musical continues to sell over $1 million in tickets per week at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne, filling 90% of the seats. Fellow snubbee Fish In The Dark, at the Shuberts’ Cort, took in $1.2 million — an almost unseemly 16% above potential and 2.5% above capacity (they must be sitting on each others’ laps to see Larry David). The average ticket price was $138.57.
Regarding more earthbound shows, the news was mostly good all around for the week that ended Sunday. Nominee Helen Mirren in The Audience, at the Shuberts’ Schoenfeld, continues the show’s streak of topping the previous stand, grossing $1.2 million, an almost unseemly 113% of potential, and filling 101% of the seats. Nearby at the Golden, nominees Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan also continue to draw full houses for the revival of David Hare’s wonderful Skylight, averaging $121.30 per ticket and grossing 90% of its $858K potential.
Best musical nominee Fun Home also went over capacity at Circle In The Square and grossed $588K, up $26K with a $98 average ticket. Fellow nominee An American In Paris was SRO at the Nederlanders’ Palace, just shy of $1.3 million. Among the vying best musicals, the Kander-Ebb-McNally The Visit is having the toughest time, struggling to bring folks into the Shuberts’ Lyceum: The very dark show, starring Chita Rivera and Roger Rees, grossed $211K, 28% of potential, and played to half-filled houses paying an average of $53.11 per ticket.
Total box office was up $1.6 million, or 2.3%, for the season’s penultimate week, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League. That came to $28.1 million for 33 shows (down nearly $2 million from a year ago, when there were 36 shows running). The top-grosser was Disney’s The Lion King, taking in $2M at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff Theatre.