Broadway Box Office: Holding Steady Before the Stars Come Out

Broadway sales
Joan Marcus

The Broadway box office barely budged last week, as a small slate of about 20 shows held steady in the days before the spring’s stars — among them Glenn Close, Sally Field and Jake Gyllenhaal — begin stage runs in the next couple of weeks.

There were ups and downs at individual productions across the board, but most of them were small enough to be negligible. The biggest rise of the week was posted at “Jitney” ($381,606), up 40% after a comp-heavy opening week and in the wake of reviews that were glowing enough to pump up sales a bit. The one show to close last week, “The Front Page” ($1,073,605), remained as robust as it has throughout its starry run, upticking a bit on its way out the door.

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The biggest success story of the season remains “Dear Evan Hansen” ($1,103,985), raking in a huge total for a show in a small theater — especially one that tells an intimate, emotional story with an unfamiliar title. But the musical is one of a number of titles that still managed to remain healthy during one of Broadway’s slowest times. At the top of the charts, of course, was “Hamilton” ($2,465,369), heading up a Top 10 that ranged from “The Lion King” ($1,647,390), “Wicked” ($1,511,001) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,307,302) to “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” ($1,095,396) and “The Front Page.”

With the exit of “Front Page,” the biggest selling play on the Street becomes “The Present” ($930,984). The next nonmusical to join the slate will be “The Glass Menagerie,” starring Sally Field in her first Broadway role in 15 years. Her star power seems poisted to move the needle at the box office, but it remains to be seen if it’s too soon to tempt audiences back to “Menagerie” less than four years after the last successful revival.

Coming up this week is Glenn Close in “Sunset Boulevard,” with industry watchers waiting to see if she’ll conjure the same sales magic she did in her mega-selling first go-round with Norma Desmond back in the 1990s. And then the following week Gyllenhaal, who proved a draw for Manhattan Theater Club when he starred in their Broadway staging of “Constellations,” jumps into the fray with “Sunday in the Park with George,” promising to add further momentum as Broadway moves into spring.

Total box office last week rang in at $21.1 million for 21 shows, with attendance weighing in at 192,943, or 89% of overall capacity.

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