The new Broadway revival of “Present Laughter” only played two performances last week, but it might be a show to keep an eye on: Buoyed by a cast led by Kevin Kline, the Noel Coward comedy bowed to notably robust sales in its first previews.
With a cast that also includes Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother,” “The Avengers”), “Present Laughter” ($255,251 for two previews) pulled in more than $125,000 per performance — a solid showing that suggests Kline, who hasn’t been on Broadway since “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 2007 (and also has a role in Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast“), has some pull at the Broadway box office. The coming weeks will tell if that momentum will endure as the production heads toward its April 5 opening.
“Present Laughter” was one of four new additions to the Broadway slate last week. The highest-grossing newcomer was “War Paint” ($800,448 for seven previews), drawing healthy crowds with a cast toplined by two of Broadway’s biggest names, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole. Also joining the lineup was new musical “Amelie” $377,025 for four), attracting solid business with “Hamilton” star Phillipa Soo and a title familiar from the movie, as well as imported comedy “The Play The Goes Wrong” ($187,198 for four), which sold a lot of tickets to its early performances at promotional price points of $15 and $25.
Those titles joined fellow previewers “The Price” ($533,111), still doing well with Mark Ruffalo on the marquee, and “Miss Saigon” ($915,853 for seven), also robust. New play “Sweat” ($266,405) played its first full week in Studio 54, where producers have opted to reduce seating capacity — to 659, down from nearly 1,000 for previous tenant “Holiday Inn” — in order to create an intimate feel in the house.
Two shows opened last week, with “The Glass Menagerie” ($432,396), starring Sally Field, managing to rise a bit despite press previews and a fully comped opening night, and “Come From Away” ($632,318), which seems likely to get a boost following the generally strong reviews the show earned after its opening last night.
Meanwhile, the spring season’s strong-selling musical revivals — “Sunset Boulevard” ($1,260,957 for seven) starring Glenn Close and “Sunday in the Park With George” ($1,128,844) with Jake Gyllenhaal continued strong. (With Gyllenhaal off promoting his latest movie “Life,” “Sunday in the Park” will take a temporary hiatus this week, returning March 21.)
All the new titles in the mix helped push overall Broadway sales up by about $3.9 million to $27.7 million for 32 shows. With the start of spring break season also contributing to an overall rise in traffic, attendance jumped by 30,000 to 255,458 (or 88% of the Street’s overall seating capacity). That momentum may not hold this week, though, with New York buckling down for the snowstorm due to hit the city in the coming days.