Broadway had a ho-hum week typical of January — save for one new show that’s performing at a Hamilton-ian level in terms of ticket sales and bodies in seats. That would be Dear Evan Hansen, whose producing cadre includes the Shubert Organization, virtually every major independent Broadway player and two of the country’s top non-profit theaters.
Add to that mix a star-status performance from Ben Platt in the title role, a score by La La Land Oscar nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, book by Masters Of Sex writer Steven Levenson, staging by Rent and Next To Normal director Michael Greif, and orchestrations by Hamilton‘s Alex Lacamoire — and you have all the makings of a hit.
Of course, as any Broadway veteran will tell you, you also have the makings of a flop. But in the case of Dear Evan Hansen, the added carbonation of almost universal critical acclaim, must-see word-of-mouth and, yes, perhaps the unavailability of Ham tickets before the kids move back in after college, all have conspired to keep the show humming comfortably in the black and above capacity at the Shubert Organization’s 984-seat Music Box Theatre.
Modestly capitalized at $9.5 million, the show began previews 11 weeks ago and has grossed just shy of $11 million (call it $10 million in real money when you deduct credit card and other fees). For the week that ended Sunday, the show sold $1.104 million in tickets, 3 per cent over the gross potential and a slight gain over the previous week. Every seat was filled and then some, at 1.6 per cent beyond SRO. With a tight hand on the till, the show has weekly running costs well below $600K, suggesting quick recoupment for all those investors, led by Stacey Mindich, who have thus far kept the top premium ticket price at $297. Average ticket price paid last week was $138.08, almost a C-note less than Hamilton‘s Street leading $229.17.
Dear Evan Hansen has a jump on one of the busiest spring seasons in memory; there will be plenty of serious competition come Tony nominations time at the end of April. And there’s already a lineup that includes A Bronx Tale The Musical and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812, both of which also are weathering the January freeze with alacrity. So far, however, the touching tuner about the shy kid swept up in a social-media maelstrom that spins way out of control is looking very dear indeed.
Week 36 of the 2016-2017 season saw total sales of $21.08 million for 21 shows, almost 3 per cent off from Week 35, according to the trade group Broadway League. John Slattery, Nathan Lane, John Goodman, Sherie Rene Scott and the rest of the Windy City crowd from The Front Page took their final bows to a full house paying $1.07 million, or 80 percent of potential, at the Shuberts’ Broadhurst Theatre after a mostly celebrated and profitable limited run.
Hamilton, at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers, continues to ignore the winter doldrums, posting $2.46 million in sales. The Book Of Mormon, at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Eugene O’Neill, also continues to operate above capacity, posting sales of $1.3 million and an average ticket price of $150.59.