After the previous week’s boom, sales slowed predictably last week at the Broadway box office — although there were still plenty of strong earners on the chart, and one show in particular, “War Paint,” bucked the downward trend to post a significant rise.
“War Paint” ($1,042,449) climbed by 25% (or more than $200,000) to top the $1 million mark for the first time, following a week that would have been dampened somewhat by second-night press comps. That’s a promising sign for the show headlined by Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, attracting an increase in traffic in both a down week and a crowded season.
“Groundhog Day” ($648,073) managed to hit its highest tally yet, despite accommodating its opening night performance and some second-night press performances. Also encouraging was the 17% rise at “Oslo” ($578,106), which recovered from its opening-week dip with a tally better than expected for a show that was still accommodating post-opening press, and stepping up as well was Kevin Kline starrer “Present Laughter” ($871,891), still the highest-grossing play on Broadway. Also up notably was another play, “Significant Other” ($210,277), but that was due to a surge of last-minute business before the show closed on Sunday. Jake Gyllenhaal outing “Sunday in the Park With George” ($1,278,395) also closed, and earned some extra cash last week because of it.
Otherwise, with spring break week over, traffic and receipts were down at many Broadway shows, particularly the major tourist attractions like “The Lion King” ($2,151,799), “Wicked” ($1,972,644) and “Aladdin” ($1,732,006), which had each played an extra ninth performance during the prior frame to take advantage of the springtime high demand. In any event, none of the declines at those big-name shows looked like anything worry about, with 16 titles still managing to make the millionaires’ club — including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” ($1,009,996) in a week loaded down with press comps and its opening night.
Another one not to fret over: “Hello, Dolly!” ($1,451,254 for six), down almost 30% compared to the prior week. But that’s because the big-money revival with Bette Midler played one performance fewer than its usual seven-show week — and one of those performances was the comped opening night, while three others were press nights.
Broadway’s cumulative sales declined $5.3 million to $35.9 million for 38 shows in total. Post spring-break attendance dropped more than 30,000 to 315,032, or 88% of the street’s overall capacity.
In the coming week, the season’s final four shows remain to open — “Anastasia” ($989,231), “Six Degrees of Separation” ($312,069), “Bandstand” ($480,119 for seven) and “A Doll’s House, Part 2” ($111,084 for seven) — before it’s off to the awards-seasons races with the announcement of the Tony Awards nominations May 2.