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Broadway Box Office: ‘The Front Page’ Stops the Presses With Big-Money Debut

It looks like Broadway’s fall season has officially begun, with four plays starting previews last week and one of them — “The Front Page” — leaping into the Top 10 at the Broadway box office.

“Front Page” ($921,998 for six previews) posted newsworthy numbers, raking in an average of more than $150,000 per performance, thanks to the combined appeal of a well-known title with a big-name cast. Star Nathan Lane (“It’s Only a Play,” “The Producers”) is one of Broadway’s most reliable draws, and here he’s bolstered by a starry group that includes John Slattery, John Goodman, Holland Taylor, Jefferson Mays, Sherie Rene Scott, and Robert Morse.

The numbers for “Front Page,” which played to capacity crowds, easily made the production the top-selling nonmusical of the week with just six previews. (Second place goes to another play produced by Scott Rudin, “The Humans,” solid at $621,203). When “Front Page” ramps up to a full eight-performance week, the production could become formidable indeed, should those per-performance numbers keep up.

None of the other titles to bow last week made quite the same showstopping debut, but “Oh, Hello on Broadway” ($247,237 for three previews, at 90% of capacity ) did relatively well. So did “The Encounter” ($325,531 for eight), all things considered, given that it’s an unknown title with a hard-to-describe concept and no big-name star. Manhattan Theater Club’s remount of “Heisenberg” ($267,064 for seven previews), meanwhile, started modestly.

Most individual productions on the boards posted declines last week; chalk it up to the usual fall slowdown, not to mention the ongoing U.N. General Assembly meetings that tend to gobble up hotel rooms and snarl city traffic. But the week’s overall Broadway total held steady, in part thanks to those new shows and in part thanks to “Hamilton” ($2,419,442 for nine), which added an extra performance and jumped by $260,000, compared to the previous week.

Total Broadway sales held steady at $22.2 million for 28 shows, with attendance slipping to less than 80% of overall seating capacity (or 217,238 theatergoers). Among other previewing projects, “The Cherry Orchard” ($355,242), starring Diane Lane, stepped up nicely in its first full week, especially given it’s a nonprofit production in a small house, while “Holiday Inn” ($359,828) played to 90% crowds. “Black to the Future” ($157,184), the once-a-week engagement for Lewis Black at the Marquis, did even better than the previous week.

The coming week brings the opening of “The Encounter” — and probably some very good reviews, based on the reception the show received in the U.K. — as well as another new addition to the slate, “Falsettos.”

 

 

 

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