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Broadway Box Office: Spring Sales Bloom in a Boffo Week

Variety logo Variety 4/18/2017 Gordon Cox
© Provided by Variety

Good Friday, Easter, the first night of Passover and spring break for New York City public schools all fell during the same week last week, and it added up to a huge boom at the Broadway box office, with five shows topping the $2 million mark — including one, “Hello, Dolly!,” doing it with just seven performances — and a total of 19 shows overall coming in at more than $1 million apiece.

Hamilton” ($3,117,682), of course, led the way, as the surge in demand from the high-traffic week drove up prices at the already ultra-hot title, while “The Lion King” ($2,862,724), “Wicked” ($2,554,030) and “Aladdin” ($2,147,230) had all prepped for the rush by playing an extra ninth performance each. The juggernaut revival of the spring, “Hello, Dolly!” ($2,032,256 for seven), continued to break records as it barreled toward its April 20 opening.

Below that, the week’s chart gives a good glimpse of what new shows are making early headway with tourist audiences. Warner Bros. Theater Ventures’ “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” ($1,342,578), for instance, experienced a nice surge, fueled by the widespread fondness for the title cultivated by the Roald Dahl book and the Gene Wilder film. Meanwhile, “Anastasia” ($1,207,938) continued to show real muscle, powered by audiences’ strong affection for the Russian-history mystery and the films it’s inspired, including the 1997 animated movie that is one of the show’s inspirations. “Come From Away” ($1,087,151), topping the $1 million mark for the first time, appears to be shaping up into the sleeper hit its supporters always predicted it would become.

The fall’s buzzy breakout, “Dear Evan Hansen” ($1,185,025), also stayed strong, while Josh Groban headliner “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” ($1,050,854) held steady. Jake Gyllenhaal kept “Sunday in the Park with George” ($1,227,530) ringing in big numbers for the small theater that it’s in, and Glenn Close and “Sunset Boulevard” ($1,146,839 for seven) also stayed robust.

The freshly opened “Groundhog Day” ($607,324 for seven) predictably wobbled a bit, in a week with press performances and a cancelled show due to lead actor Andy Karl’s injury, although tallies should jump in the wake of the strong reviews the show earned, particularly for Karl’s performance. Meanwhile, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole outing “War Paint” ($832,089) did decent numbers for a show that accommodated a lot of second-night press comps, while “Amelie” ($589,165) did middling business.

Among plays, “Present Laughter” ($813,603) led the way after the critical plaudits Kevin Kline earned from the show, and Mark Ruffalo drew business to “The Price” ($662,644). Well-reviewed farce “The Play That Goes Wrong” ($509,169) hit its best numbers yet, as “Oslo” ($494,320) held fairly steady in its opening week and could gain further attention after its glowing notices.

Overall Broadway sales spiked by $6 million to $41.2 million for 40 shows on the boards, and attendance shot up to 347,713. That makes last week one of the highest-grossing and best attended weeks of the year, not counting the mondo explosion that happens every year around Christmas and New Year’s.

But even in a big overall week, there were still some stragglers. “Indecent” ($186,188) desperately needs the spotlight it’ll get from tonight’s opening, and “A Doll’s House, Part 2” ($90,503 for seven) is also facing a steep uphill battle. Musical “In Transit” ($264,362), which has been struggling all along, played its last, as did “Paramour” ($1,285,956), the Cirque du Soleil show vacating the Lyric Theater to make way, eventually, for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” sure to be one of next season’s big earners.

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