The Jewish High Holy Days are upon us and public schools are returning to disorder, which can only mean one thing, Broadway-wise: There were lotsa butts somewhere – just not not in Theater District seats. Nearly 20 percent of the inventory went unspoken for and the till was down 10 percent from the previous week, which wasn’t much to write home about either, unless you were waiting attendance on Bette Midler returning from vacay to Hello, Dolly!.
The temporarily shrinking roster listed 26 shows, with the biggest hit taken by Cats at the Nederlander Organization’s Neil Simon Theatre. The Andrew Lloyd Webber revival was down $187.6K to $570K, just shy of 40 percent of it gross potential and with tickets averaging $81.14 per. Three more shows were in the minus-$100K downward-facing doghouse: Kinky Boots, down $149K at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Hirschfeld, to $695.3K, 55 percent of potential at $90.26 average price; Miss Saigon, down $127K at the Shubert Organization’s Broadway to $568K, 44 percent of potential at $79.50 per average ticket; and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, down $155K at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne to $668K, average ticket $80.54.
And yet, and yet: Ticket sales were up compared with season-to-date a year ago, by $94 million – 20 percent – and attendance was up, too, an increase of 335K, or 7.6 percent, over last season. Translation: The gains aren’t solely ascribable to premium prices. Just mostly. So long, A Doll’s House, Part 2, which shuttered at the Shuberts’ Golden with a doll-size bump of $29.5K and almost reaching half its $703K gross potential.
The five top-grossing shows were:
Hamilton ($2.93 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers; $272.59 average ticket)
Hello, Dolly! ($2.32 million at the Shubert; $204.06)
The Lion King ($1.86 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; $137.13)
Dear Evan Hansen ($1.67 million at the Shuberts’ Music Box; $209.98)
Wicked ($1.4 million at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin; $114.08)
Week 18 of the 2017-18 Broadway season saw total sales of $24 million for 16 shows, down $2.6 million or 10 percent from Week 17, according to the trade group Broadway League. Average ticket price was up to $116.23, from $111.76 the week before.