Broadway had a single new addition to the lineup last week, and even if box office for “Beautiful” wasn’t quite gorgeous, it was still a promising start for a tuner that looks to tap the same vein of boomer nostalgia that helped make “Jersey Boys” a hit.
The totals at “Beautiful” ($507,431 for five previews), a stage chronicle of Carole King’s life and career incorporating a string of King’s familiar tunes, weren’t breakout-hit numbers, but they seemed plenty solid for a show that hasn’t yet launched its pre-opening advertising blitz. Attendance came in at 85% of overall capacity while price paid per ticket, a reliable indicator of consumer demand, averaged out to a healthy $116.
Since King resonates with an older-skewing demo that matches up with the target aud for Four Seasons bio-tuner “Jersey Boys,” there’s a chance that the singer-songwriter’s name could draw crowds to the show over the coming holiday frames even before the musical opens in January. The current Thanksgiving sesh, when sales traditionally spike all along the Main Stem, will be the first test of that.
The debut for “Beautiful” was the biggest B.O. news in a frame that saw most Broadway shows treading water before the Turkey Day boom, when several shows that go dark on the holiday itself schedule Friday matinees to capitalize on the tide of tourists in town.
Of the few major shifts last week, musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” ($414,591) climbed by nearly 50% in the wake of strong reviews. Two shows that also recently earned a thumbs-up from critics, “After Midnight” ($662,568) and “Twelfth Night/Richard III” ($715,799) rose as well, though less dramatically.
The Ian McKellen-Patrick Stewart toplined plays in repertory, “No Man’s Land/Waiting for Godot” ($495,083), slid in a week that accommodated press perfs for two titles and two opening-day perfs, but look for receipts to bounce back up following the strong reviews that hit the papers Monday morning.
In the Top 10, Daniel Craig starrer “Betrayal” ($1,240,802) and Billy Crystal vehicle “700 Sundays” ($1,117,307 for six perfs) held onto their status as the two non-musical members of the millionaires’ club, filling out a list that was led by “The Book of Mormon” ($1,677,524), “Wicked” ($1,632,849) and “Kinky Boots” ($1,567,701).
A majority of shows posted declines last week, but none slowed down enough to turn heads. Still, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($766,811), “Big Fish” ($453,940) and “First Date” ($279,966) remained low enough to confirm producers’ instincts in opting to close those shows in the coming weeks.
Overall Broadway sales slipped by $1.25 million to $23.4 million for 32 shows currently running, and attendance fell by nearly 14,000 to 233,393. Look for both tallies to shoot up, however, as Thanksgiving visitors bring a Broadway bounty that’s usually second only to the stellar Christmas-New Years frame.