×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadway Box Office: ‘Great Comet’ Rises 12% After Casting Controversy

Did “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” benefit from its recent casting controversy? The musical was one of the few to report a significant rise at the Broadway box office in a week that saw most individual shows hold fairly steady, but for a new notable exceptions.

There are a few reasons “Great Comet” ($981,664) might have jumped 12% (more than $100,000) last week. The show attracted a flurry of publicity following the abortive recasting of Mandy Patinkin in one of the title roles, and all that the attention may have prodded audiences to turn out in support of Okieriete Onaodowan before he exited the show Aug. 13. Musician Ingrid Michaelson also left the cast that day, which probably added to the bump. And then there’s the fact that last week the production posted a closing notice for Sept. 3, which might have gotten people to hustle to the theater, too.

According to one of the show’s creators, advance sales for the coming weeks had been pretty dire, which was the reason Patinkin was recruited in the first place. Whether the closing notice will help keep numbers elevated remains to be seen.

The rise at “Great Comet” was the one of the biggest of the week. Gloria Estefan bio-musical “On Your Feet!” ($1,054,473) got an 18% bump, fueled by theatergoers catching the show before it shutters Aug. 20, while “Wicked” ($2,066,330 for nine) stepped up with an extra performance to bring in hot-weather tourists. “Groundhog Day” ($703,896), meanwhile, got a nice lift in the same week that Bill Murray attended the show — twice in a row.

There was only one notable decline, and that was the doozy at “Kinky Boots” ($805,897), off 52% following the departure of Brendon Urie, the frontman of band Panic! at the Disco. Urie’s casting was, like Sara Bareilles’ turn in “Waitress,” one of the most successful star recastings on Broadway this season, helping revive sales at a show that had seen numbers begin to flag.

In a week that accommodated press performances and a heavily comped opening night, Michael Moore’s “The Terms of My Surrender” ($407,527) downticked, as might be expected, while previewing “Prince of Broadway” ($310,279) worked up to its first full week of eight previews.

Overall Broadway sales slipped by $1.1 million to $30.3 million for 30 shows now playing.  Attendance also was off a notch, down to 260,456 or 88% of overall capacity.

More Legit

  • CAROL CHANNING HERSCHFELD. Actress Carol Channing

    Remembering Carol Channing: A Master of Channeling the Power of Personality

    There was only one Carol Channing, and her outsize personality was a source of delight to many fans — and imitators. Gerard Alessandrini’s stage spoof “Forbidden Broadway” had many incarnations over the years, including the 1994 edition when an audience member was selected every evening to come onstage and impersonate Carol Channing with the cast. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Celebrities Remembering Carol Channing

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters are among the slew of celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute to late singer, comedienne and actress Carol Channing. Known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” and “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the legend of the stage and screen died Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, [...]

  • What the Constitution Means to Me

    Listen: How Things Got Scary in 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    For a decade, writer-performer Heidi Schreck had wanted to write a play inspired by her experiences as a teen debater. But over the years the show started to develop into something both urgently political and deeply personal — and things got scary. In the Broadway-bound “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Schreck reimagines her speech-and-debate [...]

  • Carol Channing Dead

    Carol Channing, Star of Broadway's 'Hello, Dolly!' and 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Dies at 97

    Larger-than-life musical stage personality Carol Channing, who immortalized the characters of Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97. Channing died Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed the news. He wrote, “It is with [...]

  • 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    'What the Constitution Means to Me' Transfers to Broadway

    “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a buzzy Off-Broadway production that counts Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem among its fans, is making the move uptown. The play will come to Broadway this spring for a 12-week limited run at the Helen Hayes Theater. “What the Constitution Means to Me” is one part civics lesson, one [...]

  • Choir Boy review

    Broadway Review: 'Choir Boy'

    Honestly, I was afraid that “Choir Boy” — the sweetly exuberant account of a gifted prep school boy’s coming of age, written by “Moonlight” Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney — would be swallowed up in a Broadway house, after winning us over in an Off Broadway staging in 2013.  But aside from the odd set [...]

  • Jason Robert Brown

    Listen: How Ariana Grande Got Jason Robert Brown to Madison Square Garden

    Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown never expected to find himself performing onstage at Madison Square Garden. But he did — thanks to his pal Ariana Grande. Brown met Grande before she was a superstar, when she was in the 2008 Broadway cast of his teen musical “13.” The two have kept in touch ever since [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content