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Panic! at the Broadway Box Office: Brendon Urie Gives ‘Kinky Boots’ a Jolt

Variety logo Variety 5/30/2017 Gordon Cox
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The pop stardom of Brendon Urie has made the Panic! at the Disco frontman a star at the Broadway box office, too, with the start of Urie’s stint in “Kinky Boots” goosing the musical’s weekly sales by a massive 40%.

Urie began his 10-week run in “Kinky Boots” ($1,115,293) Friday, and his addition to the marquee for just four of last week’s eight performances pushed receipts up by more than $315,000 (and raised attendance by 22%) compared to the previous week. “Kinky,” which opened in 2013 and won the Tony that year for best musical, had seen sales soften lately; last week’s jump looks like the latest case of a well-known music name helping to bolster a Broadway musical. Sara Bareilles is also proving a sales magnet as a cast member of the musical she wrote, “Waitress” ($1,315,554), and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong had a similar effect on the Broadway sales of “American Idiot” every time he stepped into the show.

The bump at “Kinky Boots” was one of two head-turning rises last week, as the new play “A Doll’s House, Part 2” ($419,689) — which began its run grossing barely more than $100,000 — leapt by 30% to top $400,000 for the first time. Lucas Hnath’s sequel to the Henrik Ibsen play, starring Laurie Metcalf and Chris Cooper, has clearly benefited from the attention brought by its eight Tony nominations and the publicity push launched to capitalize on them.

Also reporting gains over the long Memorial Day weekend were a number of broad-appeal musicals, including newer additions like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” ($1,221,821) and “Come From Away” ($1,166,545). “Dear Evan Hansen” ($1,289,071) and “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” ($1,239,290) continued strong, and “Groundhog Day” ($974,066) had its best week yet.

Up toward the top of the Broadway Top 10, the buzzy revival of “Hello, Dolly!” ($1,911,108 for seven) held on to the No. 3 slot behind big-money “Hamilton” ($2,759,708) and perennially popular “The Lion King” ($2,073,973). Last week 15 shows earned $1 million or more apiece.

Overall Broadway sales held steady at $34.2 million for 34 shows. Attendance added up to 296,567, or 89% of the Street’s overall capacity.

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