And we’re off to the races, folks, with six new Broadway shows in previews and more to come before the April 23 deadline for 2014-15 season Tony Awards eligibility. Stars rule, with cash flashers flocking to see Larry David dither in his Fish In The Dark and Helen Mirren’s Queen Elizabeth spar with her prime ministers in Peter Morgan’s The Queen before their limited runs send them packing. Both shows were well over capacity in both sales and attendance.
Among the newcomers, producer Harvey Weinstein’s Finding Neverland, the new musical based on the Johnny Depp-Kate Winslet film about Peter Pan creator J.M Barrie, had its first preview at the Nederlander-owned Lunt-Fontanne, with all its 1,479 seats filled at a respectable average ticket price of $105.84. Producers Scott Rudin and Robert Fox’s transfer of David Hare’s Skylight, revived with Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, sold out its first three previews at the Shubert-owned Golden. Also SRO for its first four previews was Lincoln Center Theater’s revival at the Beaumont of The King & I, with Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe, and the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of On The 20th Century, with Peter Gallagher and Kristin Chenoweth, which sold out seven previews before opening Sunday at the American Airlines to mostly rapturous notices.
Hoeing a tougher row is the Elisabeth Moss/Jason Biggs/Bryce Pinkham-lad revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer winner The Heidi Chronicles, at the Shuberts’ Music Box. It played eight previews with an average ticket price of $54.62, filling 74% of the 8,008 available seats. Hand To God, praying that its cranky nastiness will appeal to young theatergoers willing to take a chance on a star-free, music-free, all-but-unknown show, filled the Shuberts’ 782-seat Booth for its first preview at the bargain price of $47.03 per ticket on average.
At the Nederlanders’ 1,600-seat Palace, An American In Paris, marking dance-maker Christopher Wheeldon’s Broadway debut as director-choreographer, played its first two previews following a well-received Paris tryout, ringing up $318K and an average ticket price of $100.57.