Broadway Box Office Slips 14% As Tourists Split & ‘Fun Home’ Passes

Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s Fun Home was something of a miracle, a small stall in the noisy Broadway bazaar selling intimacy, feeling and a coming-of-age tale on a scale that seldom attracts uptown crowds and Tony Awards. And yet this transfer from the Public Theater went on to recoup quickly, win five Tonys including 2015’s Best Musical medallion, and posted 609 performances, including previews, during its 15-month run at Circle In The Square Theatre before its emotional valedictory on Sunday. (The national tour begins next month at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square.) The show went out with a bang, a $73K bump to $522K at the smallish (740 seats) Circle, hitting 66 percent of potential and near-full houses during a generally downbeat post-Labor Day week.

How downbeat? Well, $3.2 million less than the previous week, a 14 percent decline as the summer trade dwindled and new shows prepared to open up shop. Not surprisingly, the most pain was felt at the biggest shows: Disney’s The Lion King and Aladdin, at the Nederlander Organization’s Minskoff and the Mouse’s New Amsterdam, were down $155K and $195K, respectively. Matilda, at the Shubert Organization’s namesake theater, was off $135K. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock — The Musical was off $305K at the Shuberts’ Winter Garden, while Waitress, at the Nederlanders’ Brooks Atkinson, fell $133K. The Book of Mormon, at Jujamcyn’s Eugene O’Neill, fell a comparatively small bit, $58K,while Something Rotten, at the same company’s St. James, was off $109K.

The cast of "On Your Feet!"
The cast of “On Your Feet!”

Meanwhile, Hamilton, at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers, shrugged off the blues, gaining $58K and still managing to top the $2 million mark with room to spare and falling just a few cents shy of  a $200 average-ticket price. On Your Feet, at the Nederlanders’ Marquis, gained $47K and Jersey Boys, which just announced a January closing date, was up $55K at Jujamcyn’s August Wilson.

If customers were ready for a Christmas show, you wouldn’t know it from Holiday Inn, in previews at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54. Seven performances rang up $276K, 32 percent of potential and looking like a slow build. And Cirque Du Soleil’s Paramour, playing its first eight-show week since shutting down briefly for repair work, showed an increase of just $2K over the previous week’s seven performances, to $893K at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Lyric; that’s just under 50 percent of gross potential as we head into a highly competitive fall season.

Week 16 of the 2016-2017 season took in $20.15 million for 23 shows, according to the trade group Broadway League. That’s 4 percent off the previous week and 6 percent below the same week a year ago. Season-to-date grosses are down 2.1 percent from last season, while attendance is off slightly, by 1.1 percent.


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