Broadway’s $2.8M Bump? Bette, Back, Begets Big B.O. Bang

T Charles Erickson

An enlivened Broadway box office rebounded last week with a 10 percent hike over the previous week. More than half of it – $1.5 million of the $2.8 million cash coups de théâtres – was accounted for by one star in one show: Bette Midler returned to Hello, Dolly! after a two-week rest, leaving no doubt about what the customers want and are willing to pay for. The show rang up $2.23 million in ticket sales for eight performances at the Shubert Theatre (seven from Midler and one regularly scheduled slot filled by critically regaled Donna Murphy); the week before saw $722.5K scanned at the gate. The average ticket price for the revival was up nearly a C-note, to $190.69.

Bryan Terrell Clark with the ensemble of ‘Hamilton.’ Joan Marcus

Several other shows saw significant improvements as well. The Book of Mormon, at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Eugene O’Neill, was up $266.7K to $1.3 million; average ticket was $136.99. Disney’s The Lion King, at the Nederlander Organization’s Minskoff, was up $249K to $2.5 million, with an average price of $164.58, sandwiching it in second place among the top grossing shows between Hamilton, at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers ($3 million; average price $280.79) and Dolly! in third. Wicked, at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin, was fourth at $1.9 million, average ticket $127.04. In fifth place was Dear Evan Hansen, at the Shuberts’ Music Box; $1.7 million, average ducat a hefty $208.84. (Aladdin, at Disney’s New Amsterdam flagship, was a very close sixth, at $1.63 million, average price $121.45.)

Tony winner Oslo, winding down its Tony-winning stand at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont, jumped an impressive $229K to $898.5K, 82 per cent of its gross potential and just shy of SRO. A Doll’s House, Part 2, at the Shuberts’ Golden, gained $107K to hit $558K, 77 per cent of potential and 94 per cent of capacity.

Among the new musicals weakening under the summer sun, Groundhog Day, at Jujamcyn’s August Wilson, was off $97K to $660K, half its potential with average tickets leveling out at $87.71; War Paint, at the Nederlander, gained $54K but still managed to just beat the 50 percent of potential mark, with tickets averaging $87.09.

Total ticket sales for 30 shows during Week 8 of the 2017-2018 season came to $31.9 million, according to the trade group Broadway League, 10 per cent more than Week 7 and 18 per cent ahead of the same week a year ago ($27 million). Average ticket price across all shows was $118.73, up from $113.53 in Week 7.


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