“If I were a rich man,” goes the song from “Fiddler on the Roof” — and to judge by the first few performances of the new Broadway revival, this “Fiddler” is looking pretty rich.
“Fiddler on the Roof” ($490,059 for three previews) came close to the half-million mark from just a trio of preview performances, and played to houses filled almost to capacity. That’s a promising start for the production (pictured in rehearsal, above) — a well-known title, staged by the Tony-winning revival-specialist Bartlett Sher — and bodes particularly well for the coming week, given the property’s likely appeal to the families of tourist audiences poised to descend on Broadway over the long weekend of Thanksgiving.
The debut of “Fiddler” — not to mention the return run of magic-act “The Illusionists” ($595,610 for its first seven performances) — came during a week that mostly saw sales soften. The dip isn’t all that surprising, given that the Broadway box office usually takes a bit of a breather in the week before domestic tourists start travelling for Thanksgiving. Some in the industry also speculated that week-of sales might have taken a hit from ticketbuyers spooked by the recent attacks in Paris, but it’s tough to tease out specific evidence of that in the final numbers.
Overall Broadway sales slipped $1.5 million to $26.9 million for 38 shows at the box office. That’s about on par with the same week last year, and the attendance of 268,155 represented a step up from the same frame in 2014 (when there were 36 shows playing).
Among other previewing shows, Al Pacino outing “China Doll” ($1,024,914 for seven) slid but still did plenty well, but “School of Rock” ($736,712) took a hit in its second week and “The Color Purple” ($691,926 for seven) held about steady (although it played one more preview than it did the previous week).
In its first week post-opening, “A View from the Bridge” ($525,280) climbed, buoyed by strong reviews. “Misery” ($900,469) with Bruce Willis rose in its first week since opening, and Estefan musical “On Your Feet!” ($1,317,026) also managed to buck the week’s downward trend. But “Allegiance” ($410,018), which opened Nov. 8 with a cast that includes George Takei and Lea Salonga, fell significantly.
Most individual shows declined — many of them, including “Allegiance,” by more than $100,000 apiece. That includes some of the titles at the top of the chart, but those productions — including frontrunners “The Lion King” ($1,712,500), “Wicked” ($1,508,157) and “Hamilton” ($1,450,763) — could well afford it.
But such dips will probably be forgotten in the coming days: Most shows can look forward this week to the bounty that’s usually lavished on Broadway during the week of Turkey Day.