Not since Terrence McNally’s It’s Only Play stunned the Fabulous Invalid cult with blockbuster sales has a Broadway revival sprung to life as The Front Page is doing this young season. The 1929 beat-the-press dramedy burst through the $1 million mark last week through seven previews at the Shubert Organization’s Broadhurst Theatre and was
SRO, with an average ticket price of $130. The common denominator? Two, at least: Nathan Lane and Jack O’Brien. Lane and Matthew Broderick co-starred in the McNally comedy, which O’Brien directed. Lane’s chief playmate in Front Page, also staged by O’Brien, is Mad Men‘s John Slattery, and the bench isn’t half-bad either, with John Goodman, Robert Morse, Holland Taylor, Sherie Rene Scott and Jefferson Mays on the card. Almost makes you believe in hard copy again.
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Two more revivals with big hopes attached are also in the previews stable, both enjoying significant boosts from subscription audiences provided by their nonprofit affiliations: The Cherry Orchard, led by Diane Lane (Trumbo, Unfaithful), absent the District some 38 years, at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre; and Falsettos, a co-production of Jujamcyn Theatres and Lincoln Center Theatre, at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr. The landmark William Finn/James Lapine musical scored $248K for four performances, or 57 percent of potential and just shy of 80 percent capacity at the 944-seat Kerr. The Chekhov perennial played eight previews to better-than 80 percent of capacity in the 730-seat house.
The deity favored the Street this year, setting Rosh Ha-shanah during the standard dark times of Sunday evening and Monday, minimizing b.o. impact. So Week 19 of the 2016-
2017 season was even-steven with Week 18, ticking up slightly. Simon McBurney’s aural sensation The Encounter opened at the Shuberts’ Golden to some strong notices, including a rave from the Times: a $55.73 average ticket for near-full houses suggested heavy discounts, though that also includes the press invites. Simon Stephens’ ecstatically received Heisenberg, with Mary-Louise Parker and Dennis Arndt, has been upgraded from the Manhattan Theatre Club’s off-Broadway perch to its Samuel J. Friedman Broadway house, where it played eight previews to 90 percent-full houses and customers paying $68.10 per ticket on average. Paramour, the Cirque Du Soleil show at Ambassador Theatre Group’s Lyric, fell below the $800K mark, down $4.5K from the previous week and ticking 44 percent of its $1.8 million gross potential.
Total box office receipts for Week 19 were $22.8 million for 29 shows, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League. That’s up 7.5 percent over the same week one year ago. Average paid admission was $101.08, up from $100.65 last year.
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