Sweetening an already upbeat week on Broadway, Mark Rylance returned, in Farinelli and the King at the Shubert Organization’s Belasco Theatre, where the Claire van Kampen play brought in an admirable $767K for its first seven previews before its December 17 opening. Rylance last was seen in these precincts doing double duty in Twelfth Night and Richard III three years ago – before his Oscar-winning turn in Bridge of Spies and Emmy nom for Wolf Hall.
Adding to the merriment, SpongeBob SquarePants opened at the Nederlander Organization’s Palace, stunning the reading public with a bunch of two-fins-up reviews from the cranky kvetches. The Nickelodeon/Sony co-venture showed a 12 percent bump over the previous week, a figure that’s likely to increase as more families descend on the Theater District for the holidays.
And Bruce Springsteen returned to Jujamcyn Theatres’ Walter Kerr after a week off, reclaiming his place in the Top Five and getting credit for nearly half the Street’s 17 percent overall bounce from the previous week. On the muddy end of the rainbow, Home for the Holidays, at Jujamcyn’s August Wilson, is looking like this year’s Christmas turkey, selling just 6.2 percent of its stock and taking in $91.7K – which I hear is now the going ask for a single to Bette Midler’s finale ultimo.
The five top-grossing musicals were:
• Hamilton ($2.9 million at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers; $271.04 average ticket)
• Hello, Dolly! ($2.5 million at the Shubert; $218)
• Springsteen on Broadway ($2.4 million for 5 performances at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr; $506.62)
• The Lion King ($2.3 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; $170.52)
• Wicked ($1.9 million at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin; $131.24)
Amy Schumer and Uma Thurman continue to dominate the box office for non-musicals, with strong showings for Meteor Shower (at the Shuberts’ Booth) and The Parisian Woman (at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson), respectively. John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons, at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Studio 54, and Junk, at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont, also remain attractive to ticket buyers.
The five top-grossing plays were:
• Meteor Shower ($971K at the Shuberts’ Booth; $154.99 average ticket)
• The Parisian Woman ($771.8K at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson; $108.10)
• Farinelli and the King ($767.4K for seven reviews at the Shuberts’ Belasco; $109.56)
• Junk ($474K at Lincoln Center Theater’s Vivian Beaumont; $86.47)
• Latin History For Morons ($453K for seven performances at the Roundabout’s Studio 54; $88.74)
Ticket sales for Week 29 of the 2017-18 Broadway season totaled $35.3 million for 32 shows, a 17 percent bump ($5.3 million) over Week 28, according to the trade group Broadway League. The season-to-date total of $884.1 million was a 17 percent improvement over the same period last year, with attendance rising just 2.4 percent, a signal of higher ticket prices all around. Average ticket price paid for all shows last week was $133.34, up from $123.63 a week ago.