Broadway’s musicals — particularly those of the family persuasion — were the big winners during Thanksgiving Week, and producers can thank not only the holiday trade but those miracle workers on 34th Street. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade again proved invaluable in getting the word out to the national audience that Broadway is a family destination (as long as you’re a family with deep pockets, a knack for nosing the hits early, a rich uncle — or the prescience to buy your tickets while the kids are still in utero). Total attendance of 288,018 made it the biggest Thanksgiving Week audience in Broadway history.
Among the shows handed the spotlight during Thursday’s NBC telecast of the balloony march down Manhattan’s West Side were School Of Rock (up $567.5K from the previous week), Something Rotten! (up $272.4K at Jujamcyn Theatres’ St. James), Finding Neverland (up $317K and back into the Broadway $1 million-plus club at the Nederlander Organization’s Lunt-Fontanne) and The King And I (up $306.4K at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont).
“Remember that the parade is not purely Broadway — it’s families, and our show is perfect for that,” Something Rotten! producer Kevin McCollum told Deadline. “Our goal is to get exposure, because the ads I’m buying now are less potent than what I was buying 20 years ago. International tourists still don’t know who we are. So we’re selling the show one parade at a time.” Also previewing and looking strong on the broadcast was the previewing revival of Fiddler On The Roof, at the Shuberts’ Broadway, with $1.2 million and 79% of potential. (At left, Durham Reeves of Olathe, KS, dances during the Something Rotten! segment of the Macy’s parade.)
Producer Harvey Weinstein, whose holdover from last season, Finding Neverland, got a big plug (along with new ads featuring Weinstein Company stars Helen Mirren and Bryan Cranston touting the Peter Pan prequel) told Deadline: “Thanks to NBC and Macy’s, Finding Neverland will be close to, or at, our highest gross ever. The impact, because of these two organizations, makes this one of the most beneficial opportunities. Of course, the Tonys are enormously important as well.”
There was plenty of good news to go around on Week 27 of the 2015-16 season, which saw a 26% jump at the box office from the week before. Disney’s Aladdin scored its ninth house record at the New Amsterdam, claiming $2.05 million or 103% of potential with an average ticket price of $150.25. Disney’s The Lion King continues to roar at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff, where it tallied $2.4 million and an average ticket price of $180.32, second only to The Book Of Mormon, at Jujamcyn’s Eugene O’Neill.
The blockbuster Hamilton busted even more blocks at $1.8 million at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers, up $383K from the week before and hitting an astounding 37.4% above potential with an average ticket price of $170.77. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock, closing in on opening night at the Shubert Organization’s Winter Garden, was up $567.5K, while Matilda, at the Shubert, was up $475K and back in the millionaires’ circle at $1.16 million.
On Your Feet! — the musical from Emilio and Gloria Estefan, which also got great exposure from the parade — actually slipped a bit, down $55.6K to $1.3 million at the Nederlanders’ Marquis. The week was unkind to straight plays, with the lauded revival of A View From The Bridge hitting 58% of potential at the Shuberts’ Lyceum, $523.4K. The Bruce Willis starrer Misery, at the Shuberts’ Broadhurst, dropped another $189K to $711K, an unhealthy 56% of potential. Fool For Love, at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Friedman, took in just $245.4K, 42% of potential. Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games is having a very tough go at the Lyric, taking in $312K or 18.5% of potential at the big barn.
Total receipts for 38 shows were $33.8 million, up from $26.9 million the week before, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League.