Michael Moore got off to a promising start at the Broadway box office last week as the left-leaning provocateur’s new solo show, “The Terms of My Surrender,” played to nearly full houses in its first two performances. Meanwhile, one of the street’s longrunners, “The Book of Mormon,” had a good week, scoring Australia’s Helpmann Award for best musical just as its Broadway production topped half a billion in sales.
“The Terms of My Surrender” ($199,041 for two previews) played to houses that averaged about 98% of capacity, pulling in audiences with a show that Moore promises will be an unpredictable mix of personal and political anecdotes, hot takes on the day’s news and, possibly, a jaunt or two outside the theater. We’ll see over the next few weeks if “Terms of My Surrender” can maintain the same level of audience interest, especially among the liberal demographic most likely to agree with Moore’s views on Trump, and whether the politically charged show will attract protesters the way the Public Theater’s “Julius Caesar” eventually did.
Among Broadway’s veteran titles, “The Book of Mormon” ($1,342,820 for nine) added an extra performance to goose its weekly grosses in a frame that also saw the Broadway production top the half-billion dollar mark around the same time that the Aussie incarnation of the musical came out on top at Australia’s version of the Tony Awards. “Mormon” joins “Chicago,” “Jersey Boys” and “Mamma Mia!” among the small circle of musicals that have earned more than half a billion apiece on Broadway; “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera” have managed to top one billion each.
In a week that saw “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” ($905,514) make headlines with a casting controversy, the show sold about on par with the numbers it had been logging since Josh Groban left in early July. How box office will fare after Aug. 13 will be closely watched, based on what creators and producers have said about the production’s advance sales without a big-name star on the marquee.
In general, most individual Broadway productions reported gains at the weekly box office, and any declines were negligible — save for one exception: “A Doll’s House, Part 2” ($284,682), falling more than 50% after the departure of its Tony-winning star Laurie Metcalf. In the coming weeks, the show will equalize with its new star, Julie White, leading the cast — although where the production’s new normal will fall on the Broadway chart remains to be seen.
Overall Broadway sales crept up, slightly, to $31.9 million for 30 shows now playing, with attendance also upticking to 266,316, or 91% of total capacity.