This is the time of year when producers and critics alike begin pulling out their hair as the Tony nominations draw near and the pregnant pre-deadline field of hopefuls has everyone on edge. Week 45 of the 2015-16 season saw one opening (Ivo van Hove’s revival of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, at the Walter Kerr, scoring mostly ecstatic notices) and the last seven entries of the spring all in previews. The final show to open in the running for this year’s Tonys is Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, on April 28 at the Music Box.
Coming on the heels of spring break, Week 45 saw a predictable dip even as two shows joined the fray. Among the newcomers, several are off to strong starts including Sarah Bareilles’ Waitress, at the Nederlander Organization’s Brooks Atkinson, toted up $834.3K for seven performances — 93.5 percent of its potential and full houses at an average ticket price of $114.05. That’s more evidence of strong word of mouth on the show. Duncan Sheik’s American Psycho played seven previews at the Shubert Organization’s Gerald Schoenfeld, taking in $506.2K or 55 percent of its gross potential, with an average ticket price of $72.35; not shabby for the Benjamin Walker vehicle, which also played to full houses.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson performed four previews of his solo show, Fully Committed, at the Shuberts’ Lyceum, filling about three-quarters of that beautiful house for $75 per ticket. Shuffle Along played two performances — its schedule was odd because of a planned hiatus and a few days off for star Audra MacDonald to recover from illness — filling the Music Box to capacity with an average ticket price of $122.33. At the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Broadway home base the Samuel Friedman, Frank Langella began his odyssey with The Father (Kenneth Cranham, his counterpart from the Alzheimer’s drama’s London premiere, won the Best Actor prize at Sunday’s Olivier Awards), filling about 72 percent of the 650-seat house. The musical adaptation of Tuck Everlasting played four performances at the Shuberts’ Broadhurst, taking in 51 percent of its $519K gross potential at an average ticket price of $62.03.
Dramas continued to have a tough go of it: Eclipsed, with Lupita Nyong’o at the Shuberts’ Golden took in $333.3K, just shy of 41 percent of potential. Blackbird, with Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels, took in $443.3K or half its potential at the Shuberts’ Belasco. Also in trouble: Disaster!, the musical spoof at the Nederlander, took in $380K, off $94K from the week before and at just 34.2 percent of potential.
Hamilton returned to the top of the pricey-ticket heap, with an average ask of $169.51 and a gross of $1.8 million at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers — 36.5 percent above its potential. The Lion King was doggin’ its heels at $168.77 and a street-leading take of $2.29 million, at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff.
Total revenue for 36 shows was $30 million, a 5 percent drop from last week despite the addition of two new titles, according to the trade group Broadway League but dead even with the same week a year ago.