Broadway Box Office: Bette Midler and ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Explode Out of the Gate

Good golly, “Hello, Dolly!” The splashy new revival starring Bette Midler cemented its status as the hottest ticket at the Broadway box office this spring when it exploded right out of the gate, racking up a walloping $1.4 million in just five previews last week.

The marriage between the box office draw Midler, appearing in her first musical gig on Broadway since her concerts in the 1970s, and the well-known title of “Hello, Dolly!” ($1,404,161 for five previews) has turned the production into catnip for Midler fans and Broadway lovers alike, helping the musical rack up a massive advance. Capitalizing on the high demand are a top ticket price of $227 — the highest on the Street — and a top premium price tag of $748 (not too far from the $849 high of “Hamilton”). With last week’s average price paid per ticket weighing in at a hefty $196.19, receipts for “Hello, Dolly!” will only spike further once the production ramps up to its full schedule of seven performances a week.

New musical “Groundhog Day” ($213,236 for two previews) also started up last week, in a two-performance frame that included a memorable first preview.  That show’s numbers weren’t as jaw-dropping as those at “Hello, Dolly!,” but still look promising, thanks a well-liked title and the high praise the show earned in London. Meanwhile, the newly opened “Come From Away” ($877,058) — which had its own memorable performance last week — seems to have benefited from its positive reviews, jumping 39% compared to the previous week.

It was a strong week overall for Broadway, thanks to visitor-driven spring-break sales that boosted tallies at most of the big-name musicals from “The Lion King” ($1,996,381) to “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,167,703) to the momentum-gathering new revival of “Miss Saigon” ($955,060). Previewing musical “War Paint” ($775,591 for seven), starring Broadway faves Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, downticked, but not by much, while “Amelie” ($556,943 for seven) stepped up to its first seven-preview week.

Non-musicals tend to get overlooked in tourist-drive frames, but Cate Blanchett starrer “The Present” ($799,226) rose in the final week of its limited engagement, while Kevin Kline and Cobie Smulders in “Present Laughter” ($676,278) looked solid and “The Glass Menagerie” ($440,475) ticked up. “Significant Other” ($148,527), however, still struggled, and previewing “Sweat” ($244,448) continued to sell fairly modestly. “The Price” ($493,553) slipped in a week that accommodated press tickets and a heavily comped opening night.

Overall Broadway sales climbed by $2.3 million to $30 million for 32 shows now playing, while attendance rose by 15,000 to 270,426, or 89% of the overall capacity. Still to start previews are incoming shows including new musical “Anastasia,” which kicks off this week.

 

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