“Dear Evan Hansen” and “Natasha, Pierre” Lead the Pack
In the week ending May 21, 2017, the overall Broadway industry continues to show signs of growth as the summer months are on the horizon. This past week, among the 36 shows currently running, the collective box office gross was $34,503,598, which represents 72.46% of the gross potential across all shows. This is an increase of $1,678,970 from the week before. Among these, certain shows that are contenders for the approaching Tony Awards are clearly standing out from the pack. As for the new musicals, four shows are in the running for the coveted award of Best Musical; those are Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day the Musical, and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Of these, Dear Evan Hansen has been bringing in the most consistently excellent box office receipts, with Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 close behind. This past week, Dear Evan Hansen brought in a weekly gross of $1,250,852, which represents 106.2% of its gross potential. As for Natasha, Pierre…, that show’s weekly gross was $1,200,043, which represents 90.7% of its comparatively higher gross potential. As for the other two contenders, Groundhog Day the Musical is faring the worst, with its weekly gross this past week being $906,693, or 69.1% of gross potential. Meanwhile, Come From Away brought in a weekly gross of $1,104,795, or 87.6% of gross potential. While box office gross is by no means equivalent to the measures used by the Tony voters, it is an indication of the overall buzz, which is itself a measure of critical response and word of mouth.
As for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, one show stands out among the pack: Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler. While the extraordinary box office for this show is due in no small part to Ms. Midler’s star power, it is also compounded by the extremely positive audience response to the show. This past week, Hello, Dolly! brought in a weekly gross of $1,933,865, which represents 117.8% of its gross potential. In terms of gross potential, only one other show beat out Hello, Dolly! this past week: Waitress, spurred on by the excitement of Sara Bareilles stepping into the lead part. There are only two other nominees for Best Revival of a Musical; those are Falsettos, which has already closed, and Miss Saigon. As for the latter, this past week Miss Saigon brought in a weekly gross of $915,009, which represents 58.2% of its gross potential. At the same time, Bette Midler is in the running for the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. Her fellow nominees are Denee Benton for Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Christine Ebersole for War Paint, Patti LuPone also for War Paint, and Eva Noblezada for Miss Saigon. Given that War Paint was not nominated for Best Musical, and that the most positive buzz from the show is undoubtedly about the powerhouse performances by both leading ladies, both Ebersole and LuPone may stand a chance. Nevertheless, Midler is certainly the biggest box office draw among the bunch, and it will therefore be unsurprising if she takes home that award this year.