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.
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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