Broadway tiptoed another step into the fall season last week, with a hefty batch of newcomers mostly toting less than hefty bags of box office receipts. Total box office for all Broadway productions were up a wispy 2% over the previous week, tallying $29,894,777.
Total attendance was 260,498, just 2% more than the previous week despite reflecting a larger-by-one, 33-show roster.
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Departing the boards was Sea Wall/A Life, the limited-engagement critically praised pair of solo one-acts starring Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal. The production grossed a solid $854,678 in its final week at the Hudson Theater, about 84% of potential with 97% of seats filled.
As for the newcomers, the most recent of the recent arrivals is The Inheritance, Matthew Lopez’s Olivier Award-winning two-part London smash that re-envisions E. M. Forster’s Howards End in modern-day New York with three generations of gay men. Week 1 saw only two previews performed, and both were for Part 1, which might have discouraged ticket-buyers hoping to see the two parts within the same week. They’ll get their chance starting next week, but if you don’t mind a week’s gap, now’s the time to get started: Last week average tickets were selling for a modest $78 for a similarly modest $116,397 total (about 42% of potential), with 71% of seats filling up at the Ethel Barrymore. Opening night is November 17.
Among the more than a half-dozen other new productions, fewer than a few got off to especially sturdy starts. Among the few was Freestyle Love Supreme — the blend of hip-hop, freestyle rhymes, improvisational comedy and audience participation created in 2004 by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale — boasted an average ticket price of about $115 at the Booth Theatre. With press comps no doubt toying with the bottom line, total receipts last week were $609,022, about 65% of potential. Opening night is Wednesday.
Also opening this week – and so handing out press freebies last week – is The Great Society at non-prof, subscription-heavy Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater. The $411,488 gross was 35% of the show’s full-price potential, with 73% of seats filled. Opening night for the LBJ play starring Brian Cox is Tuesday.
Rounding out the roster of previewing shows was Slave Play at the Golden; Linda Vista at the Hayes; The Rose Tattoo at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre; The Lightning Thief at the Longacre; and The Sound Inside at Studio 54. Only The Rose Tattoo, starring Marisa Tomei and opening October 15, ventured significantly above the 50% point of box office potential, with the sub-heavy audiences dishing out $402,652 to reach 61% of potential gross.
Season to date, Broadway has grossed $579,621,475, down about 8% year to year. Total attendance to date is 4,818,780, off about 2% from last season at this time.
All figures courtesy of the trade group Broadway League.