There was no time like the present to catch “The Present” for New York theatergoers, who last week packed the house at Cate Blanchett’s Broadway debut.
Oscar winner Blanchett, already critically acclaimed for earlier New York stage stints, seemed like she’d be catnip for Broadway playgoers, and she proved to be just that, filling the Ethel Barrymore Theater to capacity and logging $151,686 at the Broadway box office in its first preview. If “The Present” maintains those kinds of numbers as it ramps up to full eight-performance weeks, it could put the production in the realm of this fall’s top nonmusical draw, “The Front Page” ($1,210,332) with Nathan Lane, John Slattery and John Goodman.
Meanwhile, Broadway’s newly minted buzzmagnet “Dear Evan Hansen” ($1,051,248) continued its sales ascent and for the first time joined the millionaires’ club, to which “Matilda” ($1,108,471) returned in advance of its January closing. This season’s “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” ($1,121,528) and Cirque du Soleil offering “Paramour” ($1,039,209) also topped $1 million each, while “Hamilton” ($2,240,488), “The Lion King” ($2,191,076) and “Wicked” ($2,092,270) each broke $2 million apiece.
Although the overall Broadway cume downticked somewhat from the previous frame, it was still a tourist-packed week — which meant big numbers at crowdpleasing musicals, and, for the most part, a tougher time for the more modest attractions of plays. “Oh, Hello on Broadway” ($606,841), which is doing notably well with younger-skewing male theatergoers, had one of its best weeks so far, but other plays, like “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” ($359,317) and “The Encounter” ($195,566), had trouble attracting attention.
Overall Broadway sales came in at $30.6 million for 32 shows, down a bit from the previous week, while attendance slipped less than 10,000 to 268,793, or 85% of overall capacity across all theaters. The coming week should see momentum build as we head into the Yuletide weekend — although the biggest spike will likely come the following week, between Christmas and New Year’s, which is typically Broadway’s most profitable week of the year.