Tony Fever Sparks Lively Broadway Box Office; Sara Bareilles Departs ‘Waitress’ On Lemon Chiffon High

Josh Lehrer

Broadway showed plenty of life last week, as crowds pumped the box office during the run-up to Sunday’s 71st Tony Awards. Seven of the 35 shows running exceeded their official gross potential: Newly minted Tony crown holder Dear Evan Hansen ($1.25 million, 6 per cent above potential with an average ticket price of $157, ouch); last year’s winner Hamilton ($2.74 million, 15 per cent above potential); best revival Hello, Dolly! ($2 million for 7 performances, 23 per cent above potential); The Book of Mormon ($1.2 million, 2.5 per cent above potential); The Lion King ($2 million, half a per centage point above potential); Waitress ($1.38 million, 36 per cent above potential) and Wicked ($1.93 million, 8.4 per cent above potential).

The figure for Waitress showed how smart it was to replace original star Jessie Mueller with the show’s songbird writer, Sara Bareilles, for a limited run at the Nederlander Organization’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre. She departed with a final salute from the stage of Radio  City Music Hall at the Tonys, and the role now goes to Betsy Wolfe, beginning tomorrow.

Laurie Metcalf in “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” Brigitte Lacombe

A weird wave of publicity for newcomer 1984 – including reports of multiple faintees and a busted nose during an onstage mishap – seems to be working wonders at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson Theatre, where the show has been improving each week in anticipation of its June 22 opening. The George Orwell cautionary tale inched up $6.4K to $288K, still a low 37 per cent of potential with a fire-sale average ticket price of $51.93. A Doll’s House, Part 2, which earned Laurie Metcalf her first Tony, also continues to improve at the Shubert Organization’s Golden, where it took in $531K, up $80K with near-full houses.

Indecent, which brought a surprise – and deserved – Tony win to director Rebecca Taichman in an extraordinary field, also is building; it was up $50K at the Shuberts’ Cort to $277K, still a dangerously low 30 per cent of potential and less than 60 per cent of full houses.

The next few weeks will see the usual culling of shows that hung in for some Tony love. In the meantime, Week 3 of the 2017-2018 Broadway season saw ticket sales totaling $34.1 million, a $13 million bump over Week 2; that’s about 4 per cent. Attendance also was up, to 296K from 284.7K one year ago. Average ticket price across all shows was up as well, to $115.32 from $115.16.

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