Donna Murphy began her turn as the eighth Dolly Levi last week, propelling the Bette Midler-led revival of Hello, Dolly! into the box-office stratosphere occupied almost exclusively by Hamilton. Murphy’s Tuesday night debut gave the musical its first 8-performance week since previews began March 15, with sales at the Shubert Organization’s flagship theater flirting with the $3 million mark in ticket sales. Only Hamilton did better, and not by much ($3 million in sales at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers), with Disney’s The Lion King taking third place ($2.1 million, at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff). Wicked, at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin, sold $1.96 million in tickets.
The critics haven’t yet been asked to weigh in on Murphy, but she’s a much-loved home-grown star, and word of mouth from her baptism by fire was all positive. Any customers who went in disappointed not to be seeing the Divine One (what, they can’t read?) were likely to have come out happy campers.
Ham and Hello played to 10.7K and 11.7K customers, respectively, with Hamilton‘s dominance continuing to lie in premium ticket sales. The Founding Fathers rap musical has a top ticket price of $849 and last week the average price paid was $282.61. The Jerry Herman revival has a top ticket of $748; the average price paid last week was $196.23.
Disney has kept the prices lower for its franchise players on the Street, with Lion King tickets topping out at $225 (average price paid last week was $156.38) and Aladdin, at the New Amsterdam, a bit higher at $227.50, taking in $1.6 million, with an average ticket price of $116.34.
Week 4 of the new season was steady but strong, with only a handful of shows experiencing significant falloff from Week 3: Waitress, at the Nederlanders’ Brooks Atkinson, took a $602K nosedive with the departure of recording star and score composer Sara Bareilles, falling to $783K, 77 per cent of gross potential. Groundhog Day, at Jujamcyns’ August Wilson, fell $93K to $843K, 65 per cent of gross potential.
Several of the non-musicals continued to improve: Tony winner Oslo, at Lincoln Center Theater’s Beaumont, was up $148K to $808K, 74 per cent of potential and near-full houses. Six Degrees of Separation closed out its run at the Shuberts’ Barrymore with a $45.2K boost to $316K. Indecent, wrapping up its run at the Shuberts’ Cort, was up $100K to $378K, 41 per cent of potential. (One bright spot in that show’s premature closing next week is that it very likely frees up Katrina Lenk to reprise her star-making performance in The Band’s Visit when that exceptional musical takes over the Barrymore in the fall.) The Play That Goes Wrong, at the Shuberts’ Lyceum, rose $10K to $377K, 58 per cent of potential.
Total ticket sales for 35 shows came to $34.5 million, according to the trade group Broadway League, almost dead even with the previous week. Average ticket price rose slightly, to $115.75 from $115.32.