A record-setting farewell performance of To Kill a Mockingbird‘s original Jeff Daniels-fronted cast, along with three rockers — Tina Turner, Alanis Morissette and David Byrne — brought in a combined $4,584,598 at the box office, a hefty slice of Broadway’s 34-production total gross of $31,122,601 for the week ending November 3.
That all-shows total is down about 8% from the previous week, at least in part due to some opening-night comps, and for Hamilton a couple lower-priced good-cause performances (more about that below).
First, though, Mockingbird. Already the highest-grossing American play in Broadway history — as you most likely know by now — the Aaron Sorkin adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel broke its own weekly gross record at the Shubert Theatre for the 10th time since opening last fall, pushing its total gross past the $100 million mark.
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But the week ending Nov. 3 was another milestone for play: Sunday night’s performance was the final for the original cast, which included, in addition to Daniels, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Will Pullen, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Gideon Glick. (Ed Harris takes over for Daniels this week.)
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The cast’s goodbye sent Mockingbird into the box office stratosphere: $2,245,898, which is 135% of its typical potential. As always, the play directed by Bartlett Sher was SRO. (How does a show surpass its box office potential? Premium pricing, which in Mockingbird‘s case can soar to $748, and standing-room tickets.)
Meanwhile, Jagged Little Pill, the musical with songs by Morissette — though, like the upcoming Dylan-music-filled Girl From the North Country, it’s not a bio-musical — took in $191,787. So why the cause for celebration: The musical played one preview performance at the Broadhurst, and that $191,787 is 114% of potential. Ninety-seven percent of seats were filled, and average ticket price was a hefty $175. Opening night is Dec. 5.
As for Tina – The Tina Turner Musical (yes, that’s the unwieldy full title), even with heavily comped Friday and Saturday night performances for press and others, the bio-musical starring Adrienne Warren (get ready to be hearing that name a lot) pulled in $1,463,622. That’s just about 89% of potential — those comps — but all 11,824 seats at the Lunt-Fontanne were filled (until the danceable finale, when few stayed seated). Opening night is November 7.
Byrne’s American Utopia at the Hudson continued its strong extended engagement (till February 16), grossing $875,078, 110% of potential.
Also, an explanation about last week’s Hamilton: Of course it was a sellout, and took in a whopping $2.4M at the Richard Rodgers, but that figure was down $557,703 from the previous week due to the production hosting another of its Wednesday matinee performances to benefit the Hamilton Education Program for eligible students, with tickets at 10 bucks each; a similar low ticket price was charged for Thursday night’s annual fan performance. Usual average ticket price surpasses $250.
The third show in previews, aside from Tina and Jagged, is The Inheritance, the London smash import. So far Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, Netflix’s The Crown) isn’t quite smashing it up here, but it has plenty of time before the Nov. 17 opening and critics’ reviews. For seven previews, the two-part (four of Part 1, three of Part 2) play at the Ethel Barrymore grossed $545,910, just over half its potential and attendance at about 86%. Still, the average ticket price held up at $109.
Hanging on by a thread is The Lightning Thief at the Longacre, filling just 40% of its seats and, with a gross of $203,842, hitting just 24% of potential. Even some better-reviewed shows weren’t providing an abundance of treats for Halloween week: Derren Brown: Secret, The Height of the Storm, The Great Society, Slave Play, Linda Vista and Betrayal don’t seem to be living up to critics’ blessings.
Other sellouts (or nearly so at 98% of capacity or more) last week included American Utopia, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Moulin Rouge!, The Book of Mormon, Tina, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Season to date, Broadway has grossed $744,684,205, down about 7% year to year. Total attendance to date is 6,198,059, holding steady with last season at this time.
All figures courtesy of the trade group Broadway League.
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