Donna Murphy + Bette Midler = An Unstoppable “Hello, Dolly!”
In the week ending June 18, 2017, Hello, Dolly!, which has already been performing stupendously at the box office, reached new heights in its first 8-performance week of the run. The reason is that Donna Murphy (The People in the Picture, Lovemusik, Wonderful Town) stepped into the role of Dolly Levi on Tuesday night performances, giving Bette Midler the night off, and also upping the show’s production schedule to the usual eight performances, while it had previously been thriving with just seven. This past week, the weekly gross was $2,297,057, which is an increase of $275,031 from the week before, and which is less than $50,000 below the heights achieved by the unbelievable Hamilton this past week. With a top ticket price of $748, the average paid admission for Hello, Dolly! was $196.23, and the audience was filled up to 101.5% of capacity. The weekly gross represented 125.5% of its gross potential, beating Hamilton by a large margin, as that show brought in just 115.6% of gross potential, while Wicked brought in 110.1% of gross potential. While Bette Midler was already a very hot ticket, adding Donna Murphy to the mix just once a week proves that she is only adding fuel to the fire, and Hello, Dolly! may outlive Bette Midler after all.
Last weekend’s Tony Awards were more of an edge-of-your-seat affair than the previous year’s, when it was clear that Hamilton would win every single possible award. This year, on the other hand, it was not entirely clear who the winners of the top awards would be. As it turns out, the award for Best Musical went to Dear Evan Hansen. Still, in the week ending June 18, 2017, the week right after the Tony Awards, that show’s weekly box office gross actually decreased by the negligible amount of $1,810, bringing in a weekly gross of $1,247,783, which represents 105.9% of its gross potential. That show was already earning quite a bit of buzz as one of the likely Best Musical contenders, and the fact that it actually won does not seem to have had much of an impact on the immediate box office response. Meanwhile, the award for Best Play went to the Lincoln Center production of Oslo, which did see a jump in box office this past week. The post-Tony weekly gross for Oslo was $808,195, which is an increase of $147,634 from the week before, and which represents 73.8% of its gross potential. Unlike Dear Evan Hansen, which was not a huge surprise, the fact that Oslo won the Best Play award came as somewhat of a surprise – many thought that Indecent or A Doll’s House, Part 2 could win. The show’s three-hour length may have been a deterrent for some, but given the Tony committee’s nod of approval, ticketbuyers likely threw up their arms and determined it must be worth it. Meanwhile, Six Degrees of Separation played its final week of performances on Broadway, bringing in a weekly gross of $316,539, a minimal increase of $45,219 from the week before. That gross represented 34.0% of its gross potential in its final week. Upon closing, Six Degrees of Separation played 84 performances including previews. It closed early due to poor box office reception.