The Broadway box office showed signs of growth last week — if only in baby steps — as sales began their spring recovery from the deepest depths of winter.
It’s around this time every year that Broadway usually starts to warm up after the doldrums of January and February, as new shows come online and tourists begin to return to the city in spring-break force. Last week “The Crucible” ($475,357 for six previews) bowed to promising sales, with the appeal of its familiar title bolstered by a formidable cast that includes recent Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan and Ben Whishaw (pictured above in rehearsal for “Crucible”), as well as Tony winner Sophie Okonedo.
That show added one more to a Broadway roster of 32, with “Crucible” one of six productions now in previews after the opening last night of Lupita Nyong’o outing “Eclipsed” ($340,891). The latter saw a predictable dip in a week that accommodated press performances and its comp-heavy opening night, but numbers are poised to go back up, and then some, in the wake of critical raves. Previewing musical “Disaster!” ($296,010), bowing Tuesday, rose a bit despite a number of press performances, while “Blackbird” ($365,048), starring Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels in a production that opens Thursday, slipped just slightly.
Meanwhile, Steve Martin-Edie Brickell musical “Bright Star” ($255,641 for seven), which opens March 24, still has some work to do in order to grab the attention of theatergoers in an increasingly crowded spring, while the Roundabout Theater Company revival of “She Loves Me” ($397,366) gained some steam, as well as some positive word of mouth, as it heads toward its March 17 opening.
Up at the summit of the top 10, “Hamilton” ($1,766,223) reigned just as it has over the last few weeks. The buzzmagnet led the way ahead of only five shows to gross more than $1 million each last week (a relatively small list of millionaires, these days): “The Lion King” ($1,461,331), “Wicked” ($1,337,007), “The Book of Mormon” ($1,278,459) and “Aladdin” ($1,1079,248).
But even with that unusually intimate millionaires’ club, the cumulative total for all of Broadway crept upward to $20.7 million, and attendance climbed by 12,000 to 230,558, or about 75% of the overall capacity for the week. Numbers should pick up even more over the next few weeks, as the calendar of academic spring breaks gets rolling.