Broadway Box Office Droops 7%; Disney’s ‘Lion King’ Roars Back To Street-Leading $1.85M

Stars are shooting up like spring peepers as Broadway begins to warm after a cold winter. Recent additions to the Street-wide cast list include Forest Whitaker, previewing in Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie; Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams, previewing in David Harrower’s Blackbird; and Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi in She Loves Me. That activity didn’t prevent the box office from slipping 7 percent from the week before, but the year-on-year comparison shows a slight improvement of 3 percent.

The big gainers in Week 39 of the 2015-16 season included Disney’s The Lion King, at the Nederlander Organization-owned Minskoff Theatre. Simba and company were up $134.7K, taking the show to a Street-leading high of $1.85 million after trailing that Hamilton thingy ($1.75 million at the much smaller Richard Rodgers, also a Nederlander joint) for the top slot for several weeks. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Julian Fellowes’ School Of Rock, at the Shubert Organization’s Winter Garden Theatre, was up $153K to $1.15 million and is packing full houses.

Hamilton remained the priciest ticket, at $162.79 on average. The revival of Arthur Millers’ A View From The Bridge ended its run at the Shuberts’ Lyceum, and Stephen Karam’s The Humans opened at Second Stage’s Helen Hayes Theatre, repeating its ecstatic notices from earlier this season at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels.

Total gross for 30 shows was a hair shy of $24 million, according to figures compiled by the trade group Broadway League. That was down $1.76 million from the previous week. Season-to-date, at $1.03 billion, was dead even with last year.

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