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Broadway Box Office: ‘Great Comet’ Says Goodbye

A rainy Labor Day weekend brought a minor rise to the Broadway box office, with most individual shows  upticking and “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” going dark after a high-grossing but ultimately unprofitable run.

“Great Comet” ($1,183,228) climbed more than 20% (about $200,000) thanks to last-minute business, hurrying in to see the show before the closing that was announced soon after a casting controversy involving the actors who would replace Josh Groban, the topliner who kept the production’s weekly box office high for all of last season. The week-to-week jump at “Comet” was easily the biggest on the chart last week, although “Groundhog Day” ($770,590) jumped about 18% in advance of its Sept. 17 closing.

With the summer wrapping up, it’s been pretty clear for a while what the successes of the season have been. There was Tony champ “Dear Evan Hansen” ($1,683,308), of course, which over the course of the summer upshifted from its already robust sales. Another Tony contender, “Come From Away” ($1,309,259), held high and strong all summer, and of course “Hello, Dolly!” ($2,273,240) spent most of the season in the stratosphere (except for the weeks when star Bette Midler was on a vacation).

Two shows that have been strong draws for family audiences, “Anastasia” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” didn’t hold up as well in the final weeks of the summer, with both “Anastasia” ($943,919) and “Charlie” ($937,986) softening in the last month. Both, however, posted gains last week.

Overall Broadway sales for the week rose $1.3 million to $27.9 million for 28 shows on the boards. Attendance lifted, just a bit, to 237,871, or about 88% of the street’s overall capacity. Look for sales to slide into the post-Labor Day slump next week, as tourism dries up and Broadway takes a breath before the new shows start opening in October.


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