Broadway Box Office: ‘Hamilton’ Leads Post-Blizzard Recovery

Hamilton” was the heavy at the Broadway box office last week — by a lot, as the Street recovered from the knockout blow it got dealt by the blizzard the previous frame.

Easily fueled through the depths of winter by its ongoing popularity in the cultural zeitgeist, “Hamilton” ($1,732,653) retained enough heat to keep the average price paid per ticket at $161.21. That put the founding-father musical ahead of its nearest competition, “The Lion King” ($1,513,498) and “Wicked” ($1,469,622), by a wide margin of more than $200,000, and even beat the $155 average ticket price at the always-in-demand “Book of Mormon” ($1,343,531).

The overall post-blizzard recovery pushed Broadway up by $7.6 million to $23.6 million for 30 shows on the boards. That’s a solid tally for a week in the tourist-light doldrums of late January. And although Broadway Week, the two-for-one ticket initiative that runs this year from Jan. 19 until Feb. 7, contributed to keeping sales receipts a little lower than they might have been at many participating shows, the program helped drive attendance up to a robust 247,475 visitors, or 83% of Broadway’s overall capacity.

Those tallies came out way ahead compared to the same week in 2015, which posted weekly sales of $17.5 million and attendance of 177,158. But that’s an imperfect comparison, since there were only 25 shows running back then, and besides, five individual performances were cancelled that week due to a snowstorm that shut down Broadway on a Monday night.

In last week’s Top 10, Estefan musical “On Your Feet!” ($1,082,485) and revival “Fiddler on the Roof” ($1,039,910), both of which opened this season, held onto spots in the millionaires’ club, while two more fall openers, “School of Rock” ($817,940) and “The Color Purple” ($813,710), came in somewhat lower.

Among nonmusicals, the speculative future-history tale “King Charles III” ($732,328) was the top-selling play in its final week on the boards, with last-minute ticket demand putting it ahead of fellow plays including Bruce Willis starrer “Misery” ($694,020) and Al Pacino outing “China Doll” ($658,216), which, like “King Charles,” also shuttered over the weekend. Once hot, now not, “China Doll” nonetheless managed to recoup its $3.7 million capitalization costs, if only a week before the show shuttered.

One play, meanwhile, played its first full week of previews: “The Humans” ($240,050), the Stephen Karam play now on Broadway after a raved-about Broadway run. Although the show is starting predictably slow, given the unfamiliar title and a cast without any big-name stars, the question will be how much momentum the play can gain in the wake of the likely raves it’ll earn from its upcoming Feb. 18 opening.

Looking ahead, two more plays start previews Feb. 5, with “Blackbird” seeming likely to attract early attention thanks to stars Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams. Also starting up that day is “Hughie,” a revival of a little-seen Eugene O’Neill play starring Forest Whitaker.

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