Broadway’s overall sales took a breather last week, but its new spring shows ramped up, with highs hit by titles including “Waitress” and “Shuffle Along” as previewing productions played their first full (or almost full) weeks of performances.
Previewing “Waitress” ($880,303) did eight performances and narrowly missed making the top 10 (coming in right behind “Beautiful” at $882,474). “Like Waitress,” “Shuffle Along” ($766,912 for seven previews) also continued an ongoing streak of robust per-performance numbers, with “Shuffle Along” playing the first substantial week of previews after a couple of abbreviated frames. In another promising indicator of consumer interest, both shows played to essentially full houses.
Those two musicals seem to be the new additions to have immediately taken off with audiences, but they were far from the only pre-opening titles in the mix. Duncan Sheik and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s musical adaptation of “American Psycho” ($472,563 for seven) dipped a bit after the prior week, while “Fully Committed ($386,498), the foodie comedy starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, gained some steam. The starry “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” ($356,646 for seven), led by Jessica Lange and Michael Shannon, ramped up in its second week as “Tuck Everlasting” ($324,493) upticked but continued to struggle to attract attention.
Most shows posted declines in a slowdown prompted by a lull in spring break schedules. (New York City public schools aren’t off for spring break until the week of April 25.) Overall Broadway sales slid about $3 million to $26.9 million for 36 shows, and attendance dropped by about 11,500 to 274,288, or 80% of the street’s overall capacity.
With fewer tourists around, the biggest losses were reported at some of the biggest-name titles like “Wicked” ($1,676,579) and “Aladdin” ($1,494,139), or at newer-minted crowdpleasers like “School of Rock” ($993,584). Among the titles that bucked the downward trend were “The King and I” ($918,970) as well as “The Crucible” ($688,299), with the latter climbing after an opening week during which it won strong reviews in notable outlets.
In the coming weeks, only one show opens — Manhattan Theater Club’s production of “The Father” ($243,636), bowing Thursday with Frank Langella in the lead role — before the deluge in the final week of the month. That’s also the week that other shows can look forward to a boost in business, thanks to the city’s spring breaks.