“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” “Frozen,” and “Mean Girls” are ready to make a splash in the 2018 Tony nominations Tuesday morning — but those shows hardly need attention from the Tony Awards to draw big crowds. It’s softer-selling productions like “SpongeBob SquarePants” that could stand to get a much-needed boost at the Broadway box office.
In the wake of rave reviews, “Harry Potter” ($1,886,079) stepped up almost 50% compared to its opening week the previous frame and landed at No. 3 in the Top 10 — and the show still wasn’t hitting its real heights, due to comps for Tony nominators and second-night press. New musicals “Frozen” ($1,684,280) and “Mean Girls” ($1,457,577)? They, too, would do just fine without the noms they’re likely to land.
The critical favorite in the new musical category, and widely considered the frontrunner for the trophy, is “The Band’s Visit” ($908,565), and that one’s also looking strong, especially for a quiet, modestly scaled musical without a big brand name behind it. Still, a hefty haul at the nominations could help push the show back up to the million-plus weekly grosses it was posting earlier in its run.
But it’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” ($543,228), which earned some surprising affection from the critics but has had trouble turning ticketbuyers’ heads, that could really use the attention that Tony noms could bring. “SpongeBob” seems the most likely candidate to score the fourth spot in the new musical race, and an acting nomination seems certain for star Ethan Slater; a nod for the eclectic score, from a crowd of high-profile musicians, might well happen, too. Meanwhile, Jimmy Buffett musical “Escape to Margaritaville” ($626,379) could also use the spotlight that nominations might give it.
Based on the reviews, Donna Summer bio-musical “Summer” might not get much attention in the nominations. But who needs it? “Summer” ($1,055,612) topped $1 million for the first time, even in a week that accommodated the comps for its April 23 opening night. Another good sign: The production’s grosses have consistently built momentum every week it’s been running so far.
Among starry play revivals, “Three Tall Women” ($871,551) is already going strong, but seems poised to rise further on the strength of the nominations it’ll probably score; “The Iceman Cometh” ($824,595 for five paid performances) will only grow, too, after last week’s press performances and opening night. “Angels in America” ($921,368) is second only to “Harry Potter” on the list of top-selling plays, but it has room to grow, too, in the wake of nominations.
Overall Broadway sales last week slipped about $2 million to $35.3 million for 35 shows now playing. Attendance was down slightly to 305,422, or 89% of overall capacity.