Chilly Broadway Box Office Stays Even; ‘The Color Purple’ Gains $102K As ‘Noises Off’ Opens With A Bang

The Color Purple Tony Awards
Matthew Murphy

Despite a negligible dip in the overall Broadway box office last week, several shows had reason to cheer through the January blahs. Three musicals showed significant (i.e. >$100K) gains over the week before, including lauded newcomer The Color Purple, at the Shubert Organization’s Bernard Jacobs Theatre. The John Doyle-helmed revival was up $102K, playing to near-full houses and taking in $889K, a very healthy 85.4 percent of its gross potential.

Also gaining in that realm were Beautiful The Carole King Musical, at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Stephen Sondheim, up $107.8K to $994K and 82 percent of potential, and Finding Neverland, at the Nederlander Organization’s Lunt-Fontanne, up $102K to $822.5K or 56 percent of potential. (The Harvey Weinstein-produced Peter Pan holdover from last season is even a bit more impressive because it’s in a substantially larger theater than Purple and Beautiful, with 500 more seats to sell at each performance.)

Noises OffTony-winning musical A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder exited Juajmcyn Theatres’ Walter Kerr on a high note, with full houses and a recent-weeks high of $667K, 71 percent of potential. (Next at that theater: The Crucible, a revival headed by Brooklyn star Saoirse Ronan.) The Roundabout’s revival of Michael Frayn’s farce Noises Off, led by Andrea Martin and Megan Hilty at the American Airlines Theatre, opened to terrific notices and looks like an audience draw, though it’s set to close March 6 to make way for the Jessica Lange/Michael Shannon-led revival of O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which begins previews on March 31. Every nonprofit should have such problems.

Most of the SRO shows remained SRO, with Aladdin (at Disney’s New Amsterdam), Hamilton (at the Nederlanders Richard Rodgers) and The Book Of Mormon (at Jujamcyn’s Eugene O’Neill) all taking in 90 percent or more of their gross potential (Wicked, at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin, missed by a hair, at 89 percent). Hamilton was 32.5 percent above potential and, at $1.77 million, was the top-grossing show of the week.

Total box office for Week 34 of the 2015-16 Broadway season was $26.2 million, down less than 1 percent from the week before and up 7 percent from the same week one year ago. The Book Of Mormon maintained its first-place position with the priciest average ticket ($171.34), though Hamilton was seriously doggin’ its heels at $164.55.

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