Broadway’s portfolio of 31 shows — up a handful of titles over the same week one year ago — showed a 7 percent boost on ticket sales over 2015. That presents a far prettier picture than comparing Week 40 of the 2015-16 season, which ended Sunday, with a week earlier, when school vacations brought plenty of families to Times Square. The week-to-week drop was precipitous, down to $20 million from Week 39’s $24 million. Week to week, every show was down except for two: The blockbuster Hamilton and The Humans, the Stephen Karam transfer from off-Broadway that just opened to excellent reviews and jumped $94K to $334K at the Second Stage’s Helen Hayes Theatre — about two-thirds of its $545.7K gross potential.
Several shows saw drops of $250K or more: Wicked, at the Nederlander Organization’s Gershwin (down $451K to $1.3 million); Disney’s The Lion King, at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff (down $383.6K to $1.46 million); Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock, at the Shubert Organization’s Winter Garden (down $431.4K to $720.5K); Matilda, at the Shubert (down $282K to $528.4K); Finding Neverland, at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne (down $301K to $455.7K); and Aladdin, at Disney’s New Amsterdam (down $335K to$1.15 million.)
Forest Whitaker opened in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie to unusually mixed reviews for both the actor and the slim two-hander. Five shows are in previews, with more to come as we approach the end-of-season crush.
Total box office was $20 million for 31 shows, according to numbers released by the trade group Broadway League. That was down $3.94 million, or 16 percent, from the week before, but up $1.4 million, or 7 percent, from the same week a year ago. Hamilton was back on top with the highest average ticket price of $163.17 and the highest gross of $1.75 million. New stars on the block: Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o in Danai Gurira’s Liberian war drama Eclipsed, a move from the Public Theater, in previews at the Shuberts’ Golden and opening on Sunday.