Winter Chill, Dark Houses Bring Broadway Box Office To A Standstill

Joan Marcus

Nearly half the houses on Broadway – 18 of 41 theaters – were dark last week in the winter hibernation as producers geared up for the spring march of new shows. That’s a significant fall-off from a year ago, when there were 31 shows running, and ticket sales naturally reflect that difference: Week 38 of the 2016-17 season rang up $19.8 million in sales, versus $25.7 million a year ago; that’s despite a 10 percent increase in the average ticket price across the board, to $111.89 this year from  $100.97 last year.

Glenn Close is Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard."

Glenn Close returned as Norma Desmond, in a souped-up concert revival of Sunset Boulevard greeted with nearly unanimous critical love (New York magazine’s Jesse Green, labeling it a “train wreck,” was notable exception). The show took in $1.14 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Palace Theatre; it would have been more but for comps to critics and the opening-night crowd. The show lists a gross potential of $1.7 million.

New to the mix were two more revivals: Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford heading up Sunday in the Park With George, opening February 23 at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s freshly re-minted Hudson ($136.4K for its first preview, which was SRO), and the Sally Field/Joe Mantello-led Glass Menagerie, opening March 9 at the Shubert Organization’s Belasco ($312.7K, with 88 percent of the seats filled over five previews).

Dear Evan Hansen, at the Shuberts’ Music Box, continued to inch up in sales, at $1.15 milion, a $36K gain according to figures from the trade group Broadway League. Hamilton, at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers, managed to tumble $311K while still posting $2.9 million – 10.3 percent above potential. Overall, this season is dead even with last, a pinch above the $1B mark in terms of grosses but off 2.6 percent on bottoms-in-seats, to 9.3 million from 9.55 million.

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