The long weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day helped “Hamilton” hit the number one spot at the Broadway box office in a week that saw overall sales hold steady following the post-holiday tumble posted last week.
“Hamilton,” of course, has been the hottest ticket on Broadway since it opened over the summer, but that doesn’t guarantee a No. 1 perch on the Top 10. For one thing, “Hamilton” plays in a theater (the Richard Rodgers, at about 1,300 seats) that’s on the low end of mid-size for a musical house, so even at top capacity and sky-high demand, it can be tough to compete against longrunning titles with family-friendly tourist appeal and heftier ticket inventories (such as “Wicked” and “The Lion King”).
But as the buzziest show in town, “Hamilton” ($1,769,360) has retained its heat even in the chill of January, when every single show on the boards, even the most successful, weathers an annual dip in demand. So the founding-father hip-hop musical managed to outpace longer-running successes such as “Lion King” ($1,660,171), “Wicked” ($1,590,318) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,496,509). (It marks the second time “Hamilton” stood at the head of the class, following a week in November when an extra benefit performance, complete with an appearance by President Obama, helped push the show to the top of the chart.)
In any event, “Hamilton” wasn’t the only newer show to top $1 million last week, with Estefan bio-musical “On Your Feet!” ($1,146,372) and “School of Rock” ($1,073,910) — not mention the new revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” ($1,112,364) — all joining the week’s millionaires’ club.
In general, it was a steady week on Broadway, with overall sales dipping week-to-week, but just barely, to $26.2 million for 31 shows on the boards. (That’s up about $1.8 million compared to the same week in 2015, although sales figures last year were kept in check by the annual two-for-one ticket initiative Kids Night on Broadway, this year scheduled for February.) Attendance also dipped slightly last week, downticking to 257,867.
Among the shows to post gains last week, many of them benefited from playing Sunday night performances ahead of the Monday holiday. “Beautiful” ($994,176), “Finding Neverland” ($822,460) and “The Color Purple” ($889,127) were all shows that seemed to get a nice boost from the scheduling serendipity.
Also up last week was 2014 Tony champ “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” ($677,178), which played to almost-full houses in its final frame. On the lower end of the chart, “Allegiance” ($411,044), the musical that recently announced it would shutter next month, continued to struggle, and Al Pacino-David Mamet outing “China Doll” ($552,601) dwindled after early weeks of big-money sales.
Looking ahead, Broadway is bracing itself for the nor’easter poised to hit the city this weekend — and potentially slow down sales with a foot (or more) of snow.