With barbecues and back-to-school prep distracting potential audiences all weekend, Labor Day tends to be one of Broadway’s more lackluster holidays in terms of the long-weekend boost it brings to the box office. That proved true again this year — except, that is, at the hottest show on Broadway.
“Hamilton” ($1,697,070) jumped about 10% (or almost $150,000) to rise to the second rung of Broadway’s Top 10, slipping in just behind “The Lion King” ($1,741,459) for its highest tally yet. It helped, of course, that prices went up for the holiday weekend, and the playing schedule was also rearranged a bit to fit in weekend business. Even without that extra help, however, the buzzy hit, fresh off a few weeks of accommodating Tony voters and other comp tickets, seems poised to remain strong even during the next few weeks, when almost every show usually takes a hit in the back-to-school lull after Labor Day.
In general, most individual shows posted gains last week, but few had much magnitude. “Kinky Boots” (up more than 20% to $975,465), “Beautiful” (up 14% to $1,031,198) and “The Book of Mormon” (up 6% to $1,508,403) all experienced nice surges in business, but otherwise the rises — at shows including “Fun Home” ($720,923) and “An American in Paris” ($1,202,737) — were of the more modest variety.
In its last week, “On the Town” ($955,351), buoyed by guest star Misty Copeland, held strong, and in its second-to-last frame “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($446,951) stepped up. A few shows slipped, ranging from top earner “Lion King” to “Finding Neverland” ($926,378) to “Something Rotten!” ($902,785) to “The King and I” ($816,251), but none of those week-on-week declines looked terribly dire.
Overall Broadway attendance held steady at 208,797 (or 84% of overall capacity), and the cumulative gross upticked, just a bit, to $22.2 million for 24 shows on the boards.
This week marks the start of Broadway Week, with two-for-one tickets aimed at keeping sales and attendance going in what is usually one of Broadway’s slowest times of the year. Last year the initiative did pretty well at keeping sales relatively steady, and could do the same this year.