Broadway In Mourning, But Box Office Rebounds With A Little Help From Lewis Black

Matthew Murphy

Broadway mourned the death last week of Edward Albee and will salute the playwright by dimming the marquee lights on Wednesday at 7:45 PM for one minute. Albee’s Broadway legacy is unlike any other, so powerful was his impact on the theater and theatergoers for more than half a century.

At the same time, it was a good week for the Street as folks returned to shows and the season began to rev up. Helping things along was grumpy comedian Lewis Black, performing Black To The Future at the Nederlander Organization’s Marquis Theatre on Monday nights, when the usual tenant, On Your Feet! is dark. Black To The Future came out strong with sales of $154K, 91 percent of potential with nearly every seat in the 1,626-set house filled. On Your Feet! also had a great week, jumping $162K to $925K and 76 percent of capacity.

Joan Marcus

The week’s other solid gainers included Kinky Boots, at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Hirschfeld, up $149K to $853K; Jersey Boys, enjoying a pre-closing renaissance, up $154K at Jujamcyn’s August Wilson; Holiday Inn, in previews at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54 and up $125K to $401K; and Cirque Du Soleil’s Paramour, at Ambassador Theatre Group’s Lyric, coming within pennies of the $1 million mark and up $106.5K. Disney’s The Lion King, at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff, was up $136K to $1.8 million.

As reported exclusively by Deadline earlier, The Humans, at the Shubert Organization’s Gerald Schoenfeld, had its best week ever, taking in $671K and filling over 90 percent of the Gerry’s 1,035 seats. At the Roundabout’s American Airlines, a revival of The Cherry Orchard played five previews to houses 92 percent full.

There were 24 shows running during Week 17 of the 2016-2017 Broadway season, including Black To The Future and two shows in previews (Holiday Inn and The Cherry Orchard).  Total box office take  was $22.17 million, up 10 percent over the previous week and 2 percent over the same week a year ago, according to the trade group Broadway League. Hamilton‘s Street-leading average ticket price edged past the $200 to $200.75, adding up to the top gross of $2.16 million.

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