Two shows closed, one began previews and one got a new star as Broadway shifted some pieces around last week in advance of the fall season.
Andrew Rannells (“Girls,” “The Book of Mormon”) kicked off his stint in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($648,738 for seven), and while grosses took a near-$500,000 dip in the absence of Neil Patrick Harris, the numbers could have been worse in a week that saw the Street begin to slow a bit thanks to the usual late-summer longueur. The real challenge for “Hedwig” seems likely to come in September, when the annual back-to-school slowdown knocks Broadway for a loop and makes it hard for any show that’s not an all-ages favorite or toplined by a big-name star.
Meanwhile, a couple of musicals threw in the towel in advance of the post-Labor Day slump. “Bullets Over Broadway” ($630,257) came to the end of its disappointing run with no uptick in the downward trend that had plagued the title all summer. “Newsies” ($878,556, including its mostly comped final performance), on the other hand, left the boards as Disney’s unexpected hit, finishing up a two-year run with summer sales that were boosted by the show’s early announcement of its closing date.
At the same time, the fall season got a head start with “This Is Our Youth” ($365,614 for seven previews), playing its first string of previews to audiences that averaged about 78% capacity. The show’s mid-September opening falls right in the middle of the seasonal box office downshift, but positive notices could potentially help to counteract that.
Overall, most individual titles logged declines last week, including “Cinderella” ($609,004), feeling the pinch in advance of the arrival of the show’s upcoming replacement stars, Sherri Shepherd and Keke Palmer, joining the production Sept. 9. Both “Wicked” ($1,795,268) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,606,698) took a step down as each went back to an eight-performance week after adding on an extra ninth show during the prior frame.
Among the titles to hold steady were “Aladdin” ($1,512,983) and “Motown” ($979,849), both up slightly.
The Broadway cume weighed in at $22.8 million for 25 shows on the boards, down $2.4 million from the previous sesh. In a sign that city tourism has begun to slow, overall attendance slid by nearly 14,000 to 216,939. Average price paid per ticket came in at $105, down by $4.
Coming up: Broadway sales may get a bit of a bump up next week, as sometimes happens over the long weekend of Labor Day. But then look out for the oncoming drop over the following frame.