New blood came to Broadway last week, with five productions kicking off previews and adding a chunk of coin to the pot.
Both “A Life in the Theater” ($344,287), the David Mamet two-hander toplined by Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight, and musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” ($281,383) played a full eight perfs, and each played to auds at a bit more than 65% of capacity. Although the “Bloody Bloody” B.O. in particular is on the low side, producer Jeffrey Richards points out it’s still notably stronger than the first full week of previews for “Spring Awakening” — another edgy, tough-sell tuner. That one went on to win the Tony and recoup.
The Gotham leg of comedy “La Bete” ($217,164), starring David Hyde Pierce, Mark Rylance and Joanna Lumley, also started previews with five perfs last week. Attendance, which topped 88%, was the highest of the additions to the Main Stem, with the lower receipts likely attributable to the hefty discounting done by many productions in previews in order to beef up attendance and kickstart word-of-mouth.
Also arriving last week was “Lombardi” ($89,427 for three perfs), the Vince Lombardi bio-play likely facing an uphill battle in attracting football fans to theater. But attendance came in at just below 75%, which is a credible start for a play bowing on the Rialto.
Meanwhile, the commercial transfer of “Time Stands Still” ($221,769 for four perfs) landed on the boards, hoping to re-create the steady stream of business the show experienced in its nonprofit run earlier this year.
Nearly every production on Broadway saw sales step up by at least a few percentage points, with “Billy Elliot” ($1,000,428) rejoining the millionaires’ club and “Memphis” ($916,070) returning to the $900,000 range. Only a few shows posted dips, and all were minor.
Overall receipts hit $16.5 million for 28 shows on the boards, with attendance at 81%.
So far this fall, sales are obeying the usual annual trajectory of a major dip after Labor Day, followed by the slow return of B.O. throughout September and into October.