Tony Awards Provide Box Office Boost for ‘A Strange Loop,’ ‘MJ’

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The Tony Awards provided a boost for several shows, including best musical winner A Strange Loop. 

The musical, which tells the story of a Black, gay man, who is writing a musical about himself, performed as part of the June 12 telecast and also saw creator Michael R. Jackson takes home the prize for best book of a musical. In turn, the production saw its highest gross yet last week, bringing in ​​$845,313 and playing to 99.9 percent capacity, also its highest since performances started in April. 

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MJ, which was up against A Strange Loop, took home four Tonys, including for Myles Frost, who plays the title role and performed during the ceremony. It too had its highest grossing week since opening in December, bringing in $1.7 million. 

Paradise Square, which has been one of the lowest grossing musicals of the season, saw its grosses tick up to $387,670, the highest yet for the production, following the powerful televised performance from Joaquina Kalukango, who took home the prize for best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical. While this is a boost of more than $124,000 from the previous week, this is still a low gross amount for a musical in that theater, and capacity remained low at 64 percent.  

And awards alone could not change the trajectory of other shows. The revival of Company, which won the most Tony Awards of any musical this season, announced Tuesday that it would close on July 31. Sales at the musical had been relatively muted and only saw a slight bump last week, with capacity at 77 percent and grosses of $727,178. 

Last week’s grosses also revealed how much of an impact Hugh Jackman has on sales at The Music Man. The Tony nominee tested positive for COVID-19 the day after the ceremony and subsequently was out of the show from June 14 through 21. With an understudy on for Jackman, sales at The Music Man fell to $1.8 million last week from an eye-popping $3.4 million the previous week. So, the Jackman effect appears to clock in at $1.6 million. 

The hope within the industry is that the Tony Awards will elevate all shows, after a season of depressed tourism and COVID-19 closures and cancellations. And thus far, that appears to be the case, according to analysis from ticketing company Tanna, Inc., which is seeing increased sales and interest in more than the typical one to two titles. This was not yet apparent in the most recent collective grosses, with all shows grossing a more muted $29.5 million last week, albeit with two show closings and Jackman’s absence.

Historically, the best musical winner sees the longest term impact on sales from the Tony Awards, with the musical hitting its peak sales five or six months after the win, according to Tanna, which analyzed shows dating back to 2009. Overall, this can translate to an additional $150,000 per week for 30 continuous weeks. 

Meanwhile, 65 percent of non-winners typically close before the end of the year, with grosses flagging by the end of the summer.    

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