Broadway’s Week 3 of the new season coincided with the Belmont Stakes, the endurance test of the Triple Crown, and both ended with a pair of noses at the wire. In the horse race, Creator edged out Destin at the end of the mile-and-a-half track. On Broadway, Disney’s age-impervious thoroughbred, The Lion King, inched past the Tony front-runner Hamilton, but only by $43.7K, with Simba posting $2.07M at the Minskoff Theatre and Alexander taking in $2.03M at the Richard Rodgers. (The Nederlander Organization operates both theaters, so give it the exacta.) The hairbreadth separation is made more remarkable by the fact that Hamilton has 3,000 fewer seats to fill each week than The Lion King. All this before Sunday evening’s Tony Awards, which saw Lin-Manuel Miranda’s American Revolution hit add 11 medallions to its awards bounty, including Best Musical.
How’d that happen? Well the Hamilton producers managed to provide yet another lesson in scarcity economics with the double shot of raising the show’s top ticket to a whopping $849 as of next January, and the announcement that the show’s author and star would be taking his final bow on July 9. Neither bit of news will
have any impact on the show’s long-term prospects, which are golden, but Week 3 saw Hamilton post a Street-high average ticket price of $188.60 and a cash register that overflowed its so-called capacity by 52%. Tickets to the show were selling on the secondary market today for $9,000 the pair, not a typo. Creator had to settle for a mere $800K one-time pay-off.
Other shows did well too in the final week before Sunday’s 70th annual Tony Awards. Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s struggling Bright Star bumped up $90K at the Shubert Organization’s Cort Theatre to $528K, 58% of potential, while Eclipsed, the war drama starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, jumped $84K at the Shuberts’ Golden. Eclipsed ends its run this weekend; Bright Star faces daunting odds going into the summer season with no Tony afterglow. Much-nominated Waitress also came away Sunday night Tony-free, but ticket-buyers don’t seem to care — the show broke its own record and the house record at the Nederlanders’ Brooks Atkinson, with $1.06M in sales and very full houses.
The Color Purple, a big winner at the Tonys (Best Musical Revival, Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Cynthia Erivo) was up $93.4K at the Shuberts’ Jacobs, and that should give the splendid reboot a good push into the tourist season — helped by a great showing on CBS’ Tony telecast. Best Play winner The Humans, at Second Stage’s Helen Hayes, has been steadily building audience and was up $27K in Broadway’s littlest theater; we’ll have to see what lead producer Scott Rudin does to capitalize on its four Tonys to keep the momentum going for the Stephen Karam drama.
Total box office for Week 3 of the 2016-2017 Broadway season was $28.5M for 35 shows, up 5% from the week before and flat with the same week one year ago, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League. Average ticket price was $101.35, down from $107.46 a year ago, but up slightly from Week 2.