Broadway Box Office: Josh Groban Launches ‘Great Comet’ Into Orbit

Does Josh Groban sell tickets on Broadway? The answer is looking like a yes, based on the boffo first-week sales at the musical “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.”

Headlined by Groban in his Broadway debut, “Great Comet” ($1,131,919) topped $1 million in its first week of previews and landed at No. 6 in the week’s Top 10. The musical, a pop-opera retelling of one section of “War and Peace,” became a buzzy hit with critics in two prior New York runs and an out-of-town engagement, but even so, the show’s quirky downtown vibe and largely unknown title seems like a tough sell on Broadway.

Judging from the numbers from its first eight previews, however, “Great Comet” might prove an unexpected box office contender. Those sales figures are likely helped along by Groban’s fan base, as well as by an unusual seating chart that could tempt superfans to shell out for premium, up-close-and-personal seat locations.

Along with the cool million-plus that “Great Comet” added to the Broadway pot came notable earnings from concert “Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on Broadway” ($580,289 for just three performances), as well from “The Front Page” ($1,104,890), still robust despite its comped opening night on Oct. 20; “Oh, Hello on Broadway” ($545,028), gaining steam; as well as Cirque du Soleil outing “Paramour” ($1,060,597) and play “The Humans” ($651,897), both rising nicely.

The week overall was a good one for Broadway, with attendance up by more than 15,000 to 259,246, or 88% of total capacity. The week’s sales cume rang in at $27.4 million for 31 shows, up more than $2 million from the prior week, when there were two fewer productions running.

There was enough business to keep ten individual productions above the million-dollar mark, lead by “Hamilton” ($1,993,088) and, within spitting distance of it, “The Lion King” ($1,971,896). Almost every title saw sales rise compared to the previous week, particularly among the big-name tourist attracts that are usually the first to climb when attendance swells.

Two shows will open this week, with “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” ($702,992) looking healthy ahead of its Oct. 30 bow and “Falsettos” ($450,088) remaining relatively modest prior to an Oct. 27 opening.

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