The Broadway box office took a significant slide last week following the long Presidents Day weekend — but new, star-driven plays like Helen Mirren topliner “The Audience” and Larry David comedy “Fish in the Dark” easily held off the winter chill.
Both “The Audience” ($1,090,479), attracting crowds with Mirren’s return to the role of Elizabeth II, and “Fish in the Dark” ($1,159,537), David’s Broadway debut as both a writer and an actor, placed high in the top 10, when many of the big-money musicals fell off a bit in the week’s downturn. The two plays will likely seen sale dip somewhat this week, but probably not drastically, as each accommodates comp tickets for press performances and opening night this weeks.
Also gaining last week was Manhattan Theater Club’s nonprofit production of “Constellations” ($661,547 for nine), which as of this week has added an extra show (Friday night at 10 p.m.) to pick up some extra business for the in-demand, limited run of the Jake Gyllenhaal-Ruth Wilson starrer. The 70-minute production will play nine-show weeks through its March 15 closing.
Another nonmusical with a couple of recognizable faces attached, “The Heidi Chronicles” ($305,345 for eight previews), posted a decent debut for a new play production. Elisabeth Moss and Jason Biggs star in the revival, which could well gain steam as word of mouth kicks in and reviews come in later this month. Meanwhile, fellow play “Disgraced” ($415,237) exited, seeing sales rise significantly with last-minute business.
Among the Main Stem’s musicals, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($585,799) took a step up as John Cameron Mitchell returned to the show after sustaining a knee injury that kept him out for a week, and the Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of “Cabaret” ($674,524) continued to slip with Sienna Miller in the title role but claimed a spot on the week’s top 10 nonetheless.
The Roundabout’s new revival of “On the Twentieth Century” ($377,072) played its first full week of previews and had some extra cash to show for it; the show had been scheduled to open March 12 but now will open March 15 after Peter Gallagher (who co-stars with Kristin Chenoweth) had to miss shows due to a sinus infection. Both “On the Town” ($407,366) and “Honeymoon in Vegas” ($284,648) continued to struggle despite enthusiastic reviews.
Overall Broadway sales dropped a whopping $4.6 million (or close to 20%) to $18.6 million for 26 shows now running. The decline can be attributed not only to the falloff in attendance (down by 27,000 to 189,652) but to the absence of three newly shuttered shows including “A Delicate Balance,” “You Can’t Take It With You” and big earner “The Elephant Man.”
No productions will open this week, but the following week, the onslaught of titles gearing up to open in April begins. First up: Carey Mulligan-Bill Nighy starrer “Skylight” and edgy hand-puppet comedy “Hand to God.”