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Broadway Box Office: Things Go Right for ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

Variety logo Variety 4/10/2017 Gordon Cox
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Last week was a busy one at the Broadway box office, with three shows opening, two more beginning previews and a couple — “The Play That Goes Wrong” and “Waitress” — picking up notable momentum.

“The Play That Goes Wrong” ($430,599), the transfer of the London hit that includes J.J. Abrams on its Broadway producing team, jumped by a whopping 50% over the previous frame. Part of that bump comes from the fact that the prior week was low due to press comps and opening night, but even so, last week’s tally is easily the show’s highest so far, with box office fueled by the largely enthusiastic reviews the production earned the wake of its opening.

“Waitress” ($1,209,653), meanwhile, continued to benefit from the addition of singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles to its cast, logging the production’s best eight-show week so far in its nearly yearlong run. At the same time, two new plays joined the roster, with “Six Degrees of Separation” ($198,222 for four previews) launching with Allison Janney in the lead, and Paula Vogel’s  “Indecent” ($166,512 for seven) working hard to draw some attention away from the season’s crowded musical slate.

It’s particularly hard for a new play with little star power — like “Indecent” — to gain much traction on Broadway, especially in a jam-packed season like this one. “A Doll’s House, Part 2” ($106,139 for eight previews), for instance, struggled, despite a couple of familiar names (Laurie Metcalf and Chris Cooper) in the cast, and “Significant Other” ($129,388) slumped, prompting producers to announce the show would close later this month. Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat” ($303,687), at least, is positioned for a boost from its just-announced Pulitzer win, while Lincoln Center Theater’s “Oslo” ($532,934) is doing well, powered by a previous, well-received Off Broadway run.

Among the shows that opened last week, “War Paint” ($901,730) held remarkably steady for a week that included press performances and opening, while “Amelie” ($489,808) and “Present Laughter” ($578,155) predictably downticked — although the latter will likely get a nice leg up thanks to the prominent raves Kevin Kline’s performance earned from the critics.

Overall Broadway sales — led by “Hamilton” ($2,978,761) and bolstered by ultrahot “Hello, Dolly!” ($1,939,035 for seven) — were largely healthy, with attendance upticking to 319,841 and cumulative sales rising a bit to $35.2 million for 40 productions now playing. With a slew of openings on the way — first “Oslo” this week, then a deluge that begins with “Groundhog Day” ($621,651) the following week — there are also a couple of closings, among them “Paramour” ($993,288), the Cirque du Soleil show that climbed on the way to its April 16 shuttering; “Sunday in the Park with George” ($1,202,857) headlined by Jake Gyllenhaal and ending its limited run April 23; and “Significant Other,” also closing that day.

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