New Kids Cate Blanchett, ‘Evan Hansen’ Spark Broadway Holiday Box Office

Matthew Murphy

Cate Blanchett sold out the first preview of The Present, the Aussie import marking the star’s Broadway (though not NYC) stage debut. And Ben Platt is looking like a freshly minted matinee idol in the title role of Dear Evan Hansen, the new musical about a shy boy thrust into the social media maelstrom that’s filling every available seat and looking very popular indeed.

The Present is the latest adaptation, by Andrew Upton, of Anton Chekhov’s early untitled comedy usually called Platonov (Michael Frayn’s 1986 version was called Wild Honey). The Sydney Theatre Company limited run, staged by John Crowley with Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh (and an ad campaign promising gunshots and vodka), began performances Saturday and was SRO at the Shubert Organization’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre, taking in $151.7K, a tidy 11 per cent above its gross potential.

Ariana Debose, center, with Gilbert L. Bailey II, Bradley Gibson, Trista Dollison and Christiani Pitts, in 'A Bronx Tale' on Broadway.
Ariana Debose, center, with Gilbert L. Bailey II, Bradley Gibson, Trista Dollison and Christiani Pitts, in ‘A Bronx Tale’ on Broadway. Joan Marcus

A few blocks away, at the Shuberts’ Music Box, Dear Evan Hansen is riding great reviews and word of mouth — especially for Platt — to above-the-limit numbers as well. The musical rang up $1 million in sales, 2.3 per cent above potential in its second week since opening. Also looking good post-opening is Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812, at the Shuberts’ Imperial, where it took in $1.12 million, almost 16 per cent above potential. All around, it was a fine week for the Shuberts, with the musical version of A Bronx Tale, at the Longacre, taking in 906K, a slight dip from the week before, but still strong at 95 per cent of potential.

The outlook is less happy for In Transit, the a cappella musical that opened last week at Circle In The Square to a mixed-to-cool reception. The show took in $240.7K, 33 per cent of potential at the comparatively small, independently owned house.

The overall box office was steady in Week 30 of the 2016-2017 season, though a few shows registered substantial dips: Beautiful The Carole King Musical, at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Stephen Sondheim, was off $169K from the previous stand. Hamilton was down $203K at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers — not that it mattered, with the blockbuster still posting a $2.24 million haul. On Your Feet! at the Nederlanders’ Marquis, was down $188K, below 50 per cent of potential.

Total sales for 32 shows was $30.54 million, an $815.5K drop of 2.6 per cent from Week 29, according to the trade group Broadway League. Average ticket price across all shows $113.63, up $0.71 from the week before.

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