January and February are the times that try Broadway producers’ souls, as tourists head home, winter twofer sales set in and weak shows are culled from the herd. The box office fell sharply from Week 32, the last of the year, with many shows doing nine performances (or, the case of The Illusionists magic act, nearly double that) with sky-high tariffs tacked on.
It could have been a whole lot worse. With three fewer shows, Week 33 still managed to pull off a $3.2 million improvement over the same period a year ago. Biggest factor? More hits to choose from beyond Hamilton (which continued to lead the Street, with $2.46 million in ticket sales at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers Theatre and an average ticket price of $228.43. Disney’s The Lion King, at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff,was the only other show to break the $2 million mark (just barely).
But there was plenty of competition from shows doing 95 per cent of gross potential or better. Among the newcomers: A Bronx Tale ($917.8K; 96.5 per cent of potential) at the Shubert Organization’s Longacre; Dear Evan Hansen, ($1.06 million; 99.7 per cent) at the Shuberts’ Music Box; Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812 ($1.19 million; 95.8 per cent) at the Shuberts’ Imperial. And the long-runs more than held their own: Aladdin, at Disney’s New Amsterdam ($1.55 million, 108.5 per cent of potential); Jersey Boys, at Jujamcyn’s August Wilson ($1.36 million; 118 per cent); The Book Of Mormon ($1.45 million; 107.5 per cent); and Wicked, at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin ($1.8 million; 103.7 per cent). Great distribution, with landlords as happy as producers.
Four shows closed during the week: Falsettos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Color Purple (with the Clinton clan on hand to bid final farewell) and The Encounter.
Total sales for 29 shows was $29.6 million, according to the trade group Broadway League — about $20 million less than last week’s record-breaker.