Fireworks over the Hudson greeted last week’s opening of Hamilton, along with the kind of excitement that comes when an anticipated hit lives up to expectations and Broadway seems, if ever briefly, like the hippest destination in town. A hard-to-imagine improvement on the earlier rave reviews, a $32 million advance and a ravenous box office offset any doubts that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop biotuner would surpass expectations in the move from downtown’s Public Theater to the Nederlander-owned Richard Rodgers.
Note, too, that with Tony-winner Fun Home continuing to do sell-out business a few blocks away at Circle In The Square, the nonprofit Public has returned at full throttle as a source of Broadway currency both artistic and bankable.
With press and company comps taking up many opening-week seats, the tally at the Rodgers was actually down, to $1.3 million from $1.5 million the week before, with an average ticket price of $117.99. But those numbers won’t stay down for long, with tickets selling through spring 2016 already fading to a trickle and secondary-market ducats being hawked for $1,100-plus:
A look at Ticketmaster’s availability map for the Rodgers also reveals an extraordinary swath of seats designated Premium, which puts a somewhat different spin on the handful of tickets going for $10 in the show’s daily lottery. You might say that Hamilton has quickly become an avatar of the financial system Alexander Hamilton proposed. And you might debate whether that is a good thing for Broadway — but that’s for another time.
In other news, and yes there is some, the big shows were hardly in the mood to yield ground to the brash newcomer. Disney’s Aladdin threw off nine performances and took in $2 million at the company’s 42nd Street flagship, the New Amsterdam. That show, along with sister Lion King ($2.3 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; Street high average ticket price of $171.98) continue to be a money-minting mini-theme park attraction for Mickey, drawing families with more cash than kids.
Among the Street’s newer additions, Finding Neverland, at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne, took in $1 million — 72% of potential — with an average ticket price of $94.93. An American In Paris, at the Nederlanders’ Palace, took in $1.34 million or 92% of potential, with tickets averaging $109.43. Something Rotten! at Jujamcyn’s St. James, held steady $1 million and 70% of potential, with an average ticket going for $91.61.
Tony winner The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, at the Shubert’s Ethel Barrymore, took in $902K, up $60K from the week before and just shy of 90% of potential. Lincoln Center Theater’s Tony winner The King And I also looks great, with Jose Llana succeeding Ken Watanabe opposite Kelli O’Hara and tallying $1.1 million at the Vivian Beaumont, with an average ticket price of $134.78.
Overall, box office was down 8% for week 11 of the season, according to figures released Monday by the trade group Broadway League, to $26.4 million from $28.8 million.