Movies

Broadway Begins Spring Crunch Shakeout, With One Announced Closing And Lower Attendance For Some Newcomers – Box Office

The great Broadway Crunch of Spring 2024, when 18 new productions opened between mid-March and late April – 19 if you count the commercial transfer of Appropriate – seems to be showing early signs of the inevitable shake-out, with one show (Lempicka) closing soon and a few others already playing to houses with attendance at 80% of capacity or less.

For the week ending May 5 – the first full week after the April 30 Tony nominations announcement – while overall box office was down about 7% for all shows and attendance off about 6% from the previous week, a good number of the newcomers were filling more than 90% of their seats. Some much more.

Selling out were An Enemy of the People, which grossed $1,048,286; Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, grossing $1,920,289 and not far off from the August Wilson Theatre’s house record set by the recent Funny Girl ($2,137,057); and Hell’s Kitchen, $1,270,519.

A very slight tier below were the newcomers who filled between 91% and 98% of seats: Illinoise, with three heavily comped performances, at $684,393 (91% capacity); Uncle Vanya, $998,040 (92%); The Wiz, $1,458,478 (95%); Mother Play, $551,925 (95%); Mary Jane, $467,047 (97%); Stereophonic, $591,519 (98%); and The Outsiders, $894,176 (98%).

A third batch fell between 80% and 88% of capacity: Appropriate grossed $659,263 (at 88% of capacity); The Great Gatsby, $1,049,784 (84%); The Notebook, $673,430 (83%); Water For Elephants, $1,010,054 (83%); Lempicka, $275,049 (84%); Suffs, $630,781 (81%).

And in the fourth tier, all below 80%, were: The Who’s Tommy, $910,354 (78%); The Heart of Rock and Roll, with some press nights cutting into box office, grossed $287,056 (71%); and Patriots, $416,373 (67%).

While Tony nominations can only count for so much, it should be noted that most, but not all, of the shows in the third and fourth batches did not receive Best Musical or Best Play Tony nominations, including The Great Gatsby, The Notebook, Lempicka, The Heart of Rock and Roll and Patriots. Lempicka and The Heart of Rock and Roll (the Huey Lewis jukebox musical) had average ticket prices of $39.33 and $47.49, disastrous for commercial musicals.

Also to note: While Appropriate fell into the third batch, the much-nominated and audience-popular play has been running on Broadway since December, and only makes the spring list because of a commercial transfer in March. And while The Who’s Tommy scored a Best Musical Revival nomination, that nod was its only one, a surprise given its strong reviews.

In its final week of performances, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street grossed $1,762,444, a big bump of $242,705 over the previous week. The musical revival, which most recently starred Aaron Tveit, Sutton Foster and Joe Locke, who had taken over for originals Josh Groban, Annaleigh Ashford and Gaten Matarazzo, filled all of the seats at the Lunt-Fontanne in its final week.

In total, the 35 Broadway productions last week grossed $34,757,296, a drop of 7% from the previous week (but still 15% over last season at this time). Total attendance was 289,947, a drop of 6% from the previous week (and up 12% from last season).

Season to date, Broadway has grossed $1,467,169,372, with total attendance at 11,708,225.

All figures courtesy of The Broadway League. For complete box office listings, visit the League’s website.

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