The annual post-Tony shake-out of Broadway closings has yet to get underway, but the pre-scheduled departure of Network last week saw the Bryan Cranston starrer set a couple of records on its way out, contributing $1.1M to Broadway’s total weekly $35M gross for Week 2 of the season.
In all, the tally for Week 2 (ending on Tony day, June 9) for the 37 productions was $35,439,599, a small 3% bump over the previous week. Attendance held steady at 306,842.
Most productions saw at least some modest increases at the box office in the week leading up to the big night, though whatever boosts from wins or the broadcast performances of musical numbers themselves mightn’t be immediately apparent. The TodayTix ticket-selling platform tells Deadline that Hadestown, The Ferryman and Oklahoma! saw sales boosts on its platform of between 31% and 47% during the Sunday night broadcast on CBS, with more modest but still significant increases the following morning. (TodayTix does not release actual numbers of ticket sales).
In the week leading up to the Tonys, two productions completed their engagements as previously scheduled. King Lear, starring a non-nominated Glenda Jackson and the nominated (unsuccessfully) Ruth Wilson, ended its run at the Cort Theatre, grossing a not very strong $395,762, 44% of its potential.
Stronger – much – was director Ivo Van Hove’s multi-media staging of Network; Cranston’s win for best actor/play won’t get the chance to pay off at the box office. Still, his nomination and expected win, along with the last-chance final week, likely had more than a little to do with last week’s record-breaking grosses: In its final week at the Belasco, Network‘s $1,136,630 gross was a house record for a seven-performance week, and Saturday’s one-day take set a single-performance record at the theater.
Van Hove’s staging had long since recouped is reported $7.8 million capitalization, a milestone reached in March.
Among the season’s other new productions, To Kill A Mockingbird, like Network notably not nominated in the Best Play category, hit a whopping $1.9M gross in the pre-Tony week at the Shubert Theatre, SRO and surpassing its b.o. potential at 131%. That means the play has, for the fifth time, broken its own record-setting box office record once again.
Other extra-strong performers of the week included Ain’t Too Proud, selling out and grossing $1.5M at the Imperial; and Hadestown, SRO and taking $1.2M at the Walter Kerr. Oklahoma!, winner of best musical revival, was a sell-out at the Circle in the Square, with box office of $583,922 at about 78% of potential gross.
On a purely unscientific, gut-feeling response to productions that did themselves some real good with performances on Sunday night’s broadcast, I’d pick Ain’t Too Proud, which hardly needs the help; The Cher Show, with Stephanie J. Block’s win for her lead actress performance and a fun group number on the Tonys likely to boost what has been only a comparative moderate success at the Neil Simon box office ($865,474 last week, about 58% of potential); Tootsie, with Santino Fontana’s win and a snappy, looked-good-on-TV performance; and The Prom, which has been doing okay at the Longacre attendance-wise but with grosses, last week, coming in at about 66% of potential.
But the most interesting test case for a Tony box office boost just might be Be More Chill, which, without a Best Musical nomination, didn’t get a chance to perform. So how will it get a boost? James Corden’s loving song parody of “Michael In The Bathroom” – retitled “James In The Bathroom” and featuring appearances by Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles and Neil Patrick Harris – gained some post-show publicity, first as backlash. Corden failed to give on-air credit, or even an explanation, that the “James In The Bathroom” parody song (so well-performed) was a take-off of the Joe Iconis-penned Be More Chill song performed by the non-nominee George Salazar.
Corden made up for the oversight today by tweeting an explanation, calling “Michael…” his favorite Broadway song of the year and including a video of Salazar in performance. A ticket-sale boost wouldn’t be the first time social media helped this show along its journey.
In any case, last week had its usual roster of sell-out productions, or nearly so at 98% of capacity or more: Ain’t Too Proud, Aladdin, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Network, Oklahoma!, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, To Kill A Mockingbird, What The Constitution Means To Me, and Wicked.
Season to date (that’s two weeks, if you’re counting) Broadway has grossed $70,012,784, off about 8.3% from last year at this time. But the season’s very, very young. Total attendance to date is 613,006, about 3% more than last year at this time.
All figures courtesy of the trade group Broadway League.
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