“The Glass Menagerie” and “Sunday in the Park with George” Begin Previews
In the week ending February 12, 2017, three news shows began to hit their stride on Broadway, injecting life blood into the industry in the depths of the sluggish winter season. This past week, two new shows began previews: The Glass Menagerie, and Sunday in the Park with George. First was The Glass Menagerie, in a hot ticket production starring Sally Field, Joe Mantello, Finn Wittrock, and Madison Ferris, in a revival of the Tennessee Williams play helmed by wunderkind director Sam Gold. In its first partial week of previews beginning February 7, 2017, The Glass Menagerie played five performances and brought in a weekly gross of $312,736, which represents 54.4% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $273, the average paid admission was $71.50, and the audience was filled up to 88.1% of its capacity on average. While this still demonstrates room for growth, the added revenue was a much needed burst of life for the industry as the spring season is only just beginning. Then, on February 11, 2017, Sunday in the Park with George began previews in a strictly limited engagement at the Hudson Theatre. This starry production is also an enticing revival, with the cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford. In its first partial week of just one preview performance, this show brought in $136,384, which represents 93.5% of its gross potential. In a controversial move, the producers have withdrawn this revival from Tony Awards consideration given the limited nature of the run, which makes it even more of a prestige production. Apparently, the buzz is working, and this hot ticket had 100.0% capacity in the audience of the first preview performance. With a top ticket price of $399.00, the average paid admission was $142.51.
“Sunset Boulevard” Breaks Through the Million Dollar Mark
In its second week of previews, the Glenn Close-led revival of Sunset Boulevard is hitting its stride. This past week, the musical had a week of seven performances, up from the first partial week of five performances, but still has not reached the routine of running eight-performance weeks. Nevertheless, with just seven performances this past week, Sunset Boulevard brought in $1,142,254, which represents 66.92% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $297.00, the average paid admission was $111.73, and the audience was filled up to an average capacity of 87.0%, up from 82.4% the previous week. While there is still a ways to go before reaching its gross potential, this revival was a crucial component of the collective Broadway industry’s ability to remain on par with its performance the previous week. Of the 23 shows running this past week, which is two more than the week before, Broadway still brought in $64,628 less than the week before. While almost a negligible difference, the fact that two additional shows failed to lead to any increase in total box office gross is a sign that some of the long-running shows are flailing. Most notably, Hamilton, which had a stupendous increase in ticket sales the previous week, is back down to only an outrageously enormous gross this past week (as opposed to an absolutely stupefying weekly gross). This past week, Hamilton brought in $311,204 less than the week before, which brought it to a weekly gross of $2,903,693, or 110.3% of its gross potential.