Sales slowed last week at every single Broadway show now running — unless you happened to be a popular show at the start of your Broadway lifespan (“Hamilton”), or one at the end of it (“Mamma Mia!,” “Penn and Teller on Broadway”).
Broadway box office usually loses some steam around now, as the summer winds down and people begin to turn their attention toward back-to-school preparations. Last week overall attendance slid by more than 18,000 to 226,453 (or 76% of total capacity) — even less than last year’s tally for the same week, with an equivalent number of shows, 25, running both this year and last year.
Although sales figures rode a similar downward slope, “Hamilton” ($1,459,314) bucked the trend, predictably, in the first week after its heavily comped opening week. The most recent tally for the buzz-magnet title doesn’t represent a high-water mark for the production (that was $1.49 million, the week before it opened), but that’s to be expected, what with second-night press and Tony voters to be accommodated. The show still landed on the fifth rung of the Rialto’s top 10.
Also on the upswing was a musical on the opposite end of its Broadway run: “Mamma Mia!” ($983,331). It didn’t go up by much, but it’s likely to mark the start of a swell in last-minute business over the weeks leading up to the longtime crowdpleaser’s Sept. 12 closing night.
Speaking of last-minute business, the final frame in the limited run of “Penn & Teller on Broadway” ($1,555,706) also bumped up, capping off a boffo Broadway stint for the well-known magic duo on a break from their ongoing show in Vegas.
Rising as well, though so minimally it could be considered holding steady, was “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($400,061), which has gone particularly soft with Taye Diggs in the lead role. Otherwise, it was declines across the board, although plenty of shows still made plenty of money, with biggest earner “The Lion King” ($2,165,067) easily topping $2 million.
Older shows such as “Wicked” ($1,913,037), “Aladdin” ($1,778,618) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,448,473) remained top draws, with newer titles “An American in Paris” ($1,286,907), “The King and I” ($1,074,119) and “Something Rotten!” ($1,005,030) all finishing in the millionaires’ club as well. Along with “Mamma Mia!,” “Finding Neverland” ($987,966) hovered just below $1 million.
Unlike “Mamma Mia!,” “On the Town” ($435,180) hasn’t yet picked up any increase in traffic since it announced its Sept. 6 closing. Meanwhile, musical “Amazing Grace” ($298,798) and play “Hand to God” ($273,184) continued to languish at the bottom of the sales spectrum.
Cumulative Broadway box office slipped $1.4 million to around $25 million for 25 shows running. With “Penn & Teller” gone as of this week, the slow overall decline at the box office will continue in the coming weeks until Labor Day, when sales go over their usual back-to-school cliff.