×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office Fireworks for New Broadway Shows in July 4 Week

'Kinky Boots,' 'Motown,' 'Matilda' hit highs in unusually strong holiday frame

Who says July 4 is bad for Broadway box office? Not spring openers “Kinky Boots,” “Motown” and “Matilda,” which all hit best-yet tallies in a frame that can sometimes be a rough one for Rialto productions.

With fireworks, barbecues and other outdoor activities keeping tourists and local auds alike away from theaters, Independence Day has in past years punctured the late-June swell in grosses that tends to occur as summer tourism kicks into high gear. To a degree, that phenomenon still occurred this year: Overall sales were down some $2.2 million, slipping to $22.3 million for 23 shows on the boards.

Even so, enough theatergoers turned up last week to push weekly sales at 11 titles up above the $1 million mark (including one, “The Lion King,” which topped $2 million). And not one of the drops at individual productions registered as a major setback.

The Rialto had a couple of things going for it this year to help keep numbers up during the holiday frame.

For one thing, July 4 fell mid-week, which did Broadway the favor of getting out of the way of all weekend performances, traditionally the highest-grossing perfs of any frame. For many, the Thursday holiday also stretched the weekend to four days (or more), and the Main Stem usually benefits from the extra leisure time afforded by long weekends.

Besides that, an unusual number of this spring’s crop of musical attractions have turned into commercial heavyweights, including the Tony Awards’ new musical pick “Kinky Boots” ($1,611,599) as well as “Motown” ($1,500,580) and “Matilda” ($1,307,168), all playing to capacity auds. “Cinderella” ($1,049,049) and tuner revival Tony winner “Pippin” ($1,035,398), not to mention fall opener “Annie” ($1,069,807), all add significant chunks of change to the pot, too.

There’s something of a survival-of-the-fittest principal at work as well. Last week there were 23 shows on the boards versus 28 for the same sesh last year, and while the 208,177 reported for overall Rialto attendance was down more than 25,000 compared to the same week in 2012, the winnowed-down slate of offerings pushed up demand for those shows that were open.

Last week average price paid per ticket, a reliable indicator of ticket demand, came in at a robust $109.74 vs. $95 during the same week in 2012. More than two-thirds of the shows running last week pulled in auds at 90% of capacity or higher.

Broadway’s cume may continue to taper somewhat in the next couple of weeks as the season’s plays continue to make their exit. Mega-earning Tom Hanks starrer “Lucky Guy” ($661,829 for four perfs) played an abbreviated week before it shuttered July 3, following in the footsteps of “I’ll Eat You Last” and “Ann,” which closed the prior sesh. “Macbeth” ($292,722 for six) ends its limited run this week, and “The Assembled Parties” ($292,368) has skedded its final bow for July 28.

But a handful of other nonmusical titles are sticking it out for most of the summer — such as “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” ($621,093) — or into the fall, like “The Trip to Bountiful” ($448,887). And the Rialto’s summer offerings will start opening in no time: The limited run of “Forever Tango,” for instance, starts perfs July 9.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • The Laugh Factory Gives Back with

    The Laugh Factory Gives Back With Meals and Programs

    They say that everyone has a story to tell. It’s become Jamie Masada’s mission to help some people learn how to tell theirs. For 35 years, the founder of the Laugh Factory has made his main location on Sunset Boulevard home to a comedy camp for kids ages 9 to 16. While all are welcome [...]

  • Jamie Masada Dave Chapelle Laugh Factory

    Jamie Masada Reflects on 40 Years of the Laugh Factory

    When Jamie Masada was a young kid, growing up poor and Jewish in Iran, his father told him that, because he had been a good boy, he would take the son to see a moving picture. Masada didn’t know what that meant, but he went with his father to the shopping district at night. They [...]

  • Lungs review

    London Theater Review: 'Lungs' Starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith

    What, to ask the perennial theatergoer’s question, is Duncan Macmillan’s “Lungs” about? It’s about climate change, isn’t it? No, it’s a play about deciding whether to have a baby. Actually, like his earlier success “People, Places, Things,” in which Macmillan balanced a personal story with a depiction of addiction, it’s a juggling of two subjects [...]

  • Bella Bella review

    Off Broadway Review: Harvey Fierstein's 'Bella Bella'

    Harvey Fierstein is one busy guy. A Broadway institution with four Tony Awards for acting (“Torch Song Trilogy,” “Hairspray”) and playwriting (“Torch Song Trilogy,” “La Cage aux Folles”), he has also written everything from teleplays (“The Wiz Live!”, “Hairspray Live!”) to an award-winning children’s book, “The Sissy Duckling.” His movie work includes “Mrs. Doubtfire” and [...]

  • Soft Power Jeanine Tesori

    Listen: Jeanine Tesori and the 'Soft Power' of Musicals to Change Minds

    The title of “Soft Power,” the new play-cum-musical by playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Jeanine Tesori, refers to cultural influence — in this case the cultural influence of America on China, and of China on the U.S. According to Tesori, the term might also describe the force that musical theater itself can exert in [...]

  • Jane Alexander James Cromwell

    Jane Alexander, James Cromwell to Star in Broadway's 'Grand Horizons'

    Jane Alexander and James Cromwell will head up the Broadway cast of Bess Wohl’s “Grand Horizons.” The two Oscar nominees will star as Bill and Nancy, a couple whose five-decade-long relationship unravels when they move to a retirement community. After Nancy decides she wants a divorce, her family life is sent into disarray. The show [...]

  • Chasing Rainbows review

    New Jersey Theater Review: Judy Garland Bio 'Chasing Rainbows'

    Judy Garland’s voice was unparalleled and rich, an emotive contralto that lasted long into her later years with a loud and winning showiness to go with its melodramatic nuances. But that voice concealed a troubled backstory, as the woman born Frances Ethel Gumm toted the baggage of a closeted gay father, an ugly duckling’s insecurity [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content