Broadway Box Office Warms To $33M; ‘Burn This’, ‘Hillary And Clinton’ Arrive

Danielle Levitt

Another slate of high-profile Broadway arrivals hit the street last week, with much anticipated productions like Burn This, Hillary and Clinton, What the Constitution Means to Me and Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus adding both money to the till and words (so many words) to the district’s marquees.

In all, box office receipts for the 34 productions (three more than the previous week) were up 9% to $32,944,573, with attendance taking a commensurate 6% hike to 288,544. Average ticket price for a Broadway seat during the season’s Week 42 (ending March 17) was $114, a few bucks more than the previous week.

Let’s start with the recent arrivals: Kiss Me, Kate opened March 14 to fine reviews at Studio 54, with stars Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase playing to SRO houses. Press seats and opening night comps, along with the non-profit Roundabout’s subscription-heavy base, kept grosses at $681,659, an increase over the previous week and about 68% of full-price potential.

In previews was Ain’t Too Proud, the Temptations jukebox musical, had no reason to beg, pulling in $949,781 and filling 98% of the Imperial Theatre’s seats. The musical opens March 21. And King Lear, starring Glenda Jackson in the title role, is also into previews (at the Cort), hitting about 71% of box office potential for seven performances with $558,714. Attendance was 6,242 for 85% of capacity. Opening night is April 4.

New last week were:

  • What The Constitution Means To Me, Heidi Schreck’s Off Broadway import that drew ecstatic reviews and celeb visitors from the Clintons and Sally Field to Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony Kushner. Now at the Hayes, where it played its first five previews, the play filled 99% of available seats, grossing $243,358, about 66% of potential, ticket prices at a just-getting-started $84 average. Opening night is March 31;
  • Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus, from playwright Taylor Mac and starring Nathan Lane and Kristine Nielsen (replacing a broken-ribbed Andrea Martin) pulled in $411,940, about 54% of potential, but, with an $80 average ticket, filling 96% of seats. Opens April 11 at the Booth;
  • Burn This, the Lanford Wilson revival starring Keri Russell and Adam Driver at the Hudson, began previews with two fully-packed performances, grossing $279,669 – 111% of potential – with attendance of 1,888 at 100% of capacity. The play, directed by Michael Mayer and also starring David Furr and Brandon Uranowitz, opens April 16;
  • Hillary and Clinton, starring Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow as you-know-who, played its first three previews at the Golden Theatre, taking in $187,365, with attendance of 2,261 at about 96% of capacity. Opens April 18.

Closing last week was True West, with Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano taking their final bows on St. Patrick’s Day to full houses at the American Airlines Theatre. Final week’s tally was $638,811, 82% of potential.

Heading into their final stretches are Anastasia, closing at the Broadhurst on March 31, and The Band’s Visit, leaving the Ethel Barrymore on April 7. Both productions filled, or came close to filling, all seats: Anastasia at 99% of capacity, taking in $837,803, and Band’s Visit at 95% of house capacity, with receipts at $652,552.

Sell-outs (or nearly so, filling at least 98% of seats) were Ain’t To Proud, Aladdin, Anastasia, Burn This, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Kiss Me, Kate, Network, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King, True West, Wicked and To Kill a Mockingbird, which, though still SRO, slipped about 7% in receipts (to $1.5M) due to a special heavily discounted student matinee.

Season to date, Broadway has taken in $1,467,891,958, a 15% bump year to year. Attendance of 11,652,871 was up 12% over last year.

All figures courtesy of the trade group Broadway League.

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