Broadway’s autumn roller-coaster ride continues apace, with ticket sales rebounding at the box office as theatergoers continue to express their preferences for hits over misses. The 17 percent spike for Week 24 over the previous stand was powered by $1.77 million in sales at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers Theatre, where Hamilton played to beyond-capacity crowds and added a ninth performance (bought out by a coalition from the Democratic Party). Demand also was vigorous for China Doll, the new David Mamet play starring Al Pacino, which just extended its preview period to the post-Thanksgiving week to allow more work on the play. That doesn’t seem to have fazed fans of the playwright and star, who paid an average of $165.94 per ticket to the show running at the Shubert Organization’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theater. China Doll took in $1 million for six performances, totaling 10.5 percent above gross potential.
Among the shows that actually did open last week, King Charles III rode a $219.7K crest on the wave of great reviews, taking in $625K at the Shuberts’ Music Box, 63 percent of gross potential. Those figures should continue to rise as opening-week freebies give way to more paying customers eager to see Tim Pigott-Smith’s lauded performance. On Your Feet!, the Gloria and Emilio Estefan biotuner, opened to mixed notices at the Nederlanders’ Marquis, taking in a solid $1 million and playing to near-capacity houses. The combination of across-the-board praise for newcomer Ana Villafañe as Gloria, the brand recognition that comes with the singer’s superstar status, and an underserved Latino audience should add up to a healthy run for the show, the critics notwithstanding.
The George Takei-inspired Allegiance (in which Mr. Sulu costars with Lea Salonga) opened on the last day of the week to mixed-to-negative reviews at the Shuberts’ Longacre. That will make the musical — about the internment of Japanese-Americans at relocation camps in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S into World War II — an even tougher sell at a season where customers tend toward the upbeat.
Disney’s dynamic duo of Aladdin (up $242.4K to $1.5 million at the New Amsterdam) and The Lion King (up $124K at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff to $1.76 million) looks to continue on a robust trend through the holiday season. The question remains: Will other family shows follow? Harvey Weinstein’s Finding Neverland, at the Nederlander’s Lunt-Fontanne, was up $167K to $819K, 55 percent of potential. An American In Paris, at the Nederlanders’ Palace, was up $177.4K to $1.3 million. Matilda, at the Shubert, rose $255.7K, though that only put it at $812K or 55 percent of potential. The heralded revival of Spring Awakening at the Nederlanders’ Brooks Atkinson, took in $431K but at 43 percent of gross potential and houses two-thirds full is still looking for customers .
The Broadway box office total for 34 shows was $26.64 million, according to figures released by the trade group Broadway League, a $3.8 million hike over the previous week.