The conventional wisdom says that Broadway relies on the Tony Awards broadcast to boost national exposure and ticket sales (though I’ve long argued that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade does a demonstrably better job on both counts). Presenting a musical number on the broadcast costs producers a fortune. Is it worth it? Maybe not, according to the numbers released today for the first week following the CBS show.
Fun Home, which won the award for Best Musical (as well as for direction and a history-making double win for book writer and lyricist Lisa Kron and composer Jeanine Tesori — the first all-female team to win for book and score) did see a bump at the Circle in the Square box office of $63,701. That’s a 10% jump over the week before, to $713,631 or 94% of its gross potential. Fun Home had one of the most affecting performances on the telecast, and bragging rights for the wins undoubtedly will carry over into advance sales: A spokesperson for the show says Fun Home‘s advance got a $1 million bounce in the days after the show.
The numbers were similarly middling for the best play winner, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, at the Shubert-owned Barrymore Theatre. Curious Incident was up $84,850, to $885,114 or 90.4% of its $979,264 gross potential. That’s an 11% bump, leaving seats to be had for this knockout of a show. Among the winners for revivals, The King And I actually was down a shade but essentially stayed flat at 91% of its $1.2 million gross potential at the Vivian Beaumont. Skylight, at the Shuberts’ Golden Theatre, was up 4% to $865,346 — 100% of potential and with every seat filled.
Perhaps the best boost was enjoyed by the show that won the lottery for the Tony opening number. Something Rotten!, a best musical contender, saw a spike of $145K to $1.18 million at Jujamcyn’s St. James Theatre. That was up to just shy of 93% of its gross potential and the show’s best week yet — but still not exactly evidence of a run on the box office in the immediate aftermath of the TV exposure. Another Best Musical contender, An American In Paris, also had its best week yet, taking in $1.4 million at the Nederlanders’ Palace Theatre, a more modest hike of $31K.
Gigi got a $107K boost, perhaps with the help of the Tony telecast, lifting that struggling show’s receipts to $509K — still not enough to put off the closing notice that went up last week. At $1.17 million, Finding Neverland remained solidly in the $1 million-plus club with its best week at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne.
The most dramatic punch landed after one of the liveliest bits on the Tony broadcast. It had come near the end, when Larry David and Jason Alexander did a funny exchange to promote Fish In The Dark, a runaway hit despite being ignored by the Tony nominators. Alexander replaced David in his show beginning this week and proved to be nowhere near as big a draw. Fish was off $404K at the Shuberts’ Cort Theatre, and its average ticket price slumped to $108 from $143. Other losers for the week included Hand To God, a major contender in the best play category; the ferocious comedy was off by $60K at the Shuberts’ Booth Theatre but remained well in the black at $389K — $100K above its $275K break-even. The brilliant Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2 was off $53K at the Shuberts’ Winter Garden, playing to half-filled houses.
Across the board, the box office for the week that ended Sunday was up just 2% over the week before, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League, to $28.4 million for 31 shows. It was a typically bright week for Disney, with Aladdin taking in $1.6 million at the New Amsterdam and The Lion King up an amazing $143K to $2.1 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff — with an average ticket price of $155.76.