It’s starting to shape up as one of the starriest — and priciest — seasons in memory for that eternal invalid, the Broadway play. With the addition of Bradley Cooper headlining The Elephant Man, Hugh Jackman navigating The River and Glenn Close & John Lithgow heading toward opening night in A Delicate Balance, Broadway currently boasts 11 plays — seven revivals and four new shows — running among 35 on offer. Half of them are SRO and ringing up numbers at — and in several cases, well above — their gross potential.
The Elephant Man played its first four previews at the Booth, a Broadway jewel box at 774 seats, taking in $520,087 — 13% above its $458,792 potential and an astounding $163.45 per-ticket average to see the star of American Hustle and the upcoming American Sniper. Just as strong were the eight previews of The River at the even smaller Circle in the Square, where Jez Butterworth’s drama continued to exceed both capacity seating and gross potential, doubtless on the strength of Jackman’s welcome return to the boards.
Meanwhile, It’s Only A Play continues to sell out at the Schoenfeld, as does the still-previewing revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance at the Golden, where Close and Lithgow lead a cast that also includes Lindsay Duncan, Clare Higgins, Bob Balaban and Martha Plimpton. Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy lifted the numbers for Love Letters, where Alan Alda and Candice Bergen have now taken over the rotation. Only This Is Our Youth, the Michael Cera/Kieran Culkin-led revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s drama that earned mostly rave notices, has struggled to catch fire at the Cort, playing to half-filled houses and taking in 44% of its potential.
Overall, Broadway box office was up $4.13 million over the previous week to $27.6 million, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League — a strong increase just shy of 18% heading into the holidays.