‘Falsettos’, ‘Front Page’ Gain Momentum As Broadway Box Office Stays Steady

Jeremy Gerard
Deadline

A busy Broadway week disrupted by Yom Kippur’s impact on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s performances demonstrated growing interest in fall’s new offerings, as older shows slipped at the box office. A revival of William Finn and James Lapine’s musical Falsettos continued to inch up at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Walter Kerr, gaining $53K over the previous week. Some 90% of the seats were filled at a heavily discounted average ticket price of $67.73, in the run-up to that musical’s October 27 opening. Price doesn’t seem to be keeping Nathan Lane’s fans away from the revival of the 1929 Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur Front Page, at the Shubert Organization’s Broadhurst, where preview tickets averaged $134.51. The show exceeded both attendance and gross potential, ringing up $1.28 million in sales.

With three openings and three more in previews, Week 21 of the 2016-2017 season held about even with the week before. Among the newbies, the Roundabout’s Holiday Inn, at Studio 54, was up $82K to $486.2K. Les Liaisons Dangereuses, with Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer, rose $105K to $644.6K at the Shuberts’ Booth. Oh, Hello, at the Shuberts’ Lyceum, got a bouquet of raves (not here, though) and was up $48K to $464.7K. The Encounter also won great notices but slipped a bit at the Shuberts’ Golden, to $331.5K while filling just over 68% of the seats.

The total gross for 29 shows was $25.37 million, down $535K, or 2%, according to figures from the trade group Broadway League. Meanwhile, weeks after his death, producer and longtime Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum head Gordon Davidson still has not been honored by the League with a dimming of the marquee lights; the eminent Los Angeles leader died October 2.

More inspiring was the choice, last week, of Anna K. Jacobs as winner of the 2016 Billie Burke Award from the Ziegfeld Club. The prize, in its sophomore year, includes a $10K grant and a year of professional mentorship for the Brooklyn-based composer and lyricist. She’s currently developing a musical adaptation of the 2007 indie horror film Teeth. Zoe Sarnak and Shaina Taub are the honorable mentions for the award, named for Florenz Ziegfeld’s actress wife, who founded the Ziegfeld Club in 1936 to provide support for Ziegfeld Girls who had fallen on hard times. The Burke award was created to spotlight the scarcity of female composers being produced on Broadway today. It’s to be presented November 7 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, the Disney flagship that once was home to the Ziegfeld Follies.

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