Broadway Box Office Bumps 3% As New Musicals Offset Sales With Tony Ads

Chad Batka

Showing just a 3 percent rise across the board, the Broadway box office could be seen as sluggish in the wake of the Tony nominations announced two weeks back. But the vaunted “Tony bump” might take a few weeks more to fully register for producers, especially after the big outlays on the showcase Tonys issue of The New York Times’ Arts & Leisure section, where the spend for a full-page or double-truck ad can exceed $200K, especially when you factor in the cost of making up the ad. That’s nearly comparable the cost of producing a number for CBS’ awards telecast on June 11.

Among the shows nominated for best musical, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 got the biggest rise, up $301.6K to $1.23 million at the Shubert Organization’s Imperial Theatre, with an average ticket price of $131.34. Groundhog Day was up $103.4K to $927K at Jujamcyn Theatres’ August Wilson, about 70 percent of gross potential at an average ticket price of $103.62. Come From Away was up $30K at the Shuberts’ Schoenfeld, with an average ticket price of $132.27 and full houses. Dear Evan Hansen actually dipped slightly, to $1.3 million at the Shuberts’ Music Box – still almost 9 percent above potential with tickets averaging an impressive $160.21.

Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce in “Hello Dolly!” Julieta Cervantes

A similar pattern prevailed among the musical revival nominees: Hello, Dolly!, still on a seven-performance schedule at the Shubert, sold $1.9 million worth of tickets at an average price of $185.87; it again was the No. 2-grossing show after Hamilton ($2.8 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers; average ticket: a whopping $263.01). Miss Saigon, off a bit at the Shuberts’ Broadway, tallied $891.2K, 60 per  cent of potential, with an average ticket price of $89.22. (The third nominee for best musical revival, Falsettos, closed earlier in the season.)

Among the best play nominees, A Doll’s House, Part 2 was up 27.5K to $304K at the Shuberts’ Golden. Indecent, at the Shuberts’ Cort, was up just shy of $1k to $255.3K. Oslo, at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont, was off a bit, to $661.5K. And Pulitzer winner Sweat, at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54, was up $41K to $356K and better than 90 per  cent full houses.

Total sales across 36 shows for Week 51 of the 2016-17 season were $33.8M, up $933K from the previous week. Attendance was up slightly, and the average ticket price jumped a bit to $113.36 from $113.04 in Week 50.

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