No Fireworks On Broadway As Holiday Box Office Slips 9%

Broadway went to the beach with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over what for many was the Independence Day weekend, as patrons stayed away in droves following the previous week’s banner stand. Ticket sales fell  9 percent over the week before, with the most dramatic plunge hitting the Bette Midler-free Hello, Dolly! With the Tony-winning star on vacation, ticket sales plummeted $1.37 million to $936,603 for eight performances despite great word-of-mouth for replacement Dolly Levi, Donna Murphy. Attendance fell as well, to 76 percent of capacity, with patrons paying on average $106.31 per ticket. (Midler returns July 12.)

That rearranged the list of top-grossing shows dramatically. At the top, Hamilton remains the biggest sell, taking in $3 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. Next was Disney’s The Lion King, up a roaring $277K to $2.4 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff, followed by Wicked, $2 million at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin. Aladdin, at the Disney flagship New Amsterdam, was fourth at $1.5 million, followed by the sole place taken by the Shubert Organization, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, $1.4 million at the Imperial.

Cobie Smulders and Kevin Kline in “Present Laughter” on Broadway. Joan Marcus

There was good news for 1984, the George Orwell adaptation at Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson, where sales rose $84K to $421K and better than 85 percent of capacity. Tony winner Oslo, at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont, also was up, $21K to $759K and 95 percent full houses. Any major improvement at Indecent probably was forestalled by a gap in sales between the show’s posted closing notice and the resumption of sales when the run was extended through August 6. Tony winner Kevin Kline took his final bow as Present Laughter exited laughing from Jujamcyn Theatres’ St. James with a $55K boost, to a $910K, sendoff. Also departing, Manhattan Theatre Club’s rich Little Foxes revival, with Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney in role rotation at the Friedman.

Week 6 of the 2017-18 season showed ticket sales of $32 million, off $3.3 million from the previous week, according to the trade group Broadway League. Average ticket price also fell, to $113.35 from $117.14.

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