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Broadway Box Office: New Musicals Hit High Notes

Variety logo Variety 3/27/2017 Gordon Cox
© Provided by Variety

The Broadway box office pushed ever upward last week, in a spring break session that saw several fresh faces — particularly musicals that were previewing or had recently opened — contributing hefty sums to the overall tally.

There was, of course, “Hello, Dolly!” ($1,670,486 for six previews), with Bette Midler commanding packed houses and high ticket prices over at the Shubert Theater. But there was also “Anastasia” ($629,307 for four previews), playing to sold-out crowds and launching with numbers impressive enough to suggest the show could prove a notable earner as it moves toward its opening night next month. “Come From Away” ($941,821), the largely unheralded, feel-good musical that seems to be snowballing, played to capacity audiences and muscled up toward the $1 million mark.

Meanwhile, previewing “War Paint” ($913,826) crept steadily higher as “Sunday in the Park With George” ($1,197,337) and its star Jake Gyllenhaal returned from a brief hiatus to big numbers. Glenn Close in “Sunset Boulevard” ($1,256,096) continued to report hefty totals and last fall’s success stories, “Dear Evan Hansen” ($1,197,102) and “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” ($1,098,170), showed plenty of muscle, too.

In a crowded spring, box office was a bit more modest at a couple of other new additions to the slate. “Amelie” ($591,469) moved closer to its April 3 opening night, when reviews could potentially attract new attention, and “Groundhog Day” ($594,428 for seven) ramped up to its first week of seven previews.

Among plays, Kevin Kline, Cobie Smulders and “Present Laughter” ($658,713) led the pack, with Mark Ruffalo, Danny DeVito and Tony Shalhoub doing well with “The Price” ($564,874). “The Play That Goes Wrong” ($340,849) could use a boost from reviews that will hit after its April 2 opening, as could “Sweat” ($227,338), following a week that accommodated press seats and a heavily comped opening night.

The overall Broadway cume rose by $2.4 million to $32.5 million for 34 shows now playing. Fueled by spring-break season and new additions to the slate, attendance climbed nearly 20,000 to 289,719, or 90% of the overall seating capacity.

Coming this week, “Waitress” ($1,021,454), which upshifted in original star Jessie Mueller’s final performances, looks poised to get a boost as Sara Bareilles joins the cast.

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