Broadway Box Office: These Shows Could Use Some Tony Attention

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.

More Legit

  • Protesters demonstrate at the Broadway opening

    'West Side Story' Broadway Opening Night Sparks Protests

    Roughly 100 protestors gathered outside the Broadway premiere of “West Side Story” on Thursday night, carrying placards and chanting in unison to demand the removal of cast member Amar Ramasar. “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ramasar has got to go,” they cried while holding signs that read “Keep predators off the stage,” “Sexual predators shouldn’t get [...]

  • West Side Story review

    'West Side Story': Theater Review

    Whittled down to one hour and forty-five minutes, “West Side Story” – with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins — has grown exceedingly dark and mislaid some of its moving parts in the new Broadway revival from edgy Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. (Can [...]

  • The Inheritance review

    'The Inheritance' Closing in March After Box Office Struggles

    “The Inheritance,” a sprawling and ambitious epic that grappled with the legacy of the AIDS epidemic, will close on March 15. The two-part play has struggled mightily at the box office despite receiving strong reviews. Last week, it grossed $345,984, or 52% of its capacity, a dispiriting number for a show that was reported to [...]

  • MCC theater presents 'Alice By Heart'

    Steven Sater on Adapting 'Alice by Heart' From a Musical to a Book

    When producers approached lyricist Steven Sater (“Spring Awakening”) to adapt Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” into a musical, his initial reaction was to recoil. His initial thought was that the book didn’t have a beginning, middle and an ending. But Sater pulled it off with his production of “Alice By Heart.” After an off-Broadway [...]

  • The Lehman Trilogy review

    Sam Mendes' 'Lehman Trilogy' Kicks off Ahmanson's New Season

    Sam Mendes’ “The Lehman Trilogy,” which took London’s West End by storm will be part of the Ahmanson’s lineup for the 2020-21 season. It will be joined by Broadway hits “Hadestown” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Artistic director Michael Ritchie announced the season that will also feature four fan favorites and another production to be [...]

  • Zoe Caldwell Dead

    Zoe Caldwell, Four-Time Tony Winner, Dies at 86

    Zoe Caldwell, an Australian actress with a talent for illuminating the human side of imposing icons such as Cleopatra and Maria Callas in a career that netted her four Tony Awards, died on Sunday due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to her son Charlie Whitehead. She was 86. Caldwell occasionally appeared in television and [...]

  • Cambodian Rock Band interview

    Listen: How 'Cambodian Rock Band' Became One of the Most Produced Plays in the U.S.

    One of the hottest trends in American theater this season is Cambodian surf rock from the 1970s — and that’s thanks to “Cambodian Rock Band.” Listen to this week’s Stagecraft podcast below: Playwright Lauren Yee’s genre-bending stage show, part family drama and part rock concert, has become one of the most-produced plays in the U.S. this season. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content