Broadway Box Office: ‘Skylight’ Hits High, ‘Wolf Hall’ Swings Low

Skylight sales Broadway
John Haynes

The Broadway revival of “Skylight” went out with a box office bang last week, setting a new house record in its final week on the boards, while fellow play “Wolf Hall,” a New York transfer of a London hit, continued its post-Tony Awards slippage.

Powered by stars Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan and by its Tony win for best play revival, “Skylight” ($927,539) broke the house record at the Golden Theater — set earlier this season by “A Delicate Balance,” another play revival produced by “Skylight” producer Scott Rudin. In the last week of its limited run, ticket demand for the show pushed the average price paid to $144.57, one of the highest on the boards last week.

Meanwhile, “Wolf Hall” ($467,890), the well-received stage version of the popular Hilary Mantel novels about Thomas Cromwell and the Tudors, continued to fall off, suggesting that the audience for that one may have been somewhat cannibalized by the recent PBS broadcast of the miniseries adaptation. “Wolf Hall” dropped a whopping 20% (or $114,082) compared to the prior week, and played to audiences that averaged 44% of capacity (at the Winter Garden, an admittedly large venue for a play).

The slump at “Wolf Hall” stood out further because the week was a good one for Broadway overall, with most individual shows on the rise and recent beneficiaries of Tony attention — champ “Fun Home” ($744,646), as well as “An American in Paris” ($1,440,627), “The Audience” ($1,206,318) and “The King and I” ($1,154,506) — each among the titles hitting individual bests.

Last season’s spring titles filled half of the week’s top 10, with “American in Paris,” “Audience” and “King and I” joined by “Something Rotten!” ($1,169,433) and “Finding Neverland” ($1,132,133). At the head of the class, “The Lion King” ($2,154,719) led the way, with “Wicked” ($1,947,674) right behind.

Elsewhere on the week’s chart, “Fish in the Dark” ($849,330) continued to hold strong with Jason Alexander in his second week in the lead role, and Jim Parsons outing “An Act of God” ($890,098) remained robust as well. “Gigi” ($619,008), the musical revival starring Vanessa Hudgens, was another show to hit a new high last week — but did so thanks to a spike of last-minute sales before its June 21 closing.

Overall Broadway sales held steady at $28.5 million for 30 shows on the boards, with attendance coming in at 261,253, or 88% of Rialto-wide capacity. The average price paid per ticket, a good indicator of overall demand, rose $1.50 to $108.95.

With “Skylight” and “Gigi” gone as of this week, the Broadway cume might suffer a bit this week, but shortfalls look poised to be mitigated by summer tourism traffic.

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