Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel”
On February 28, 2018, a revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel began previews at the Imperial Theatre, directed by Jack O’Brien. The show played five performances in its first partial week of previews. In that time, it demonstrated a fair amount of box office promise, but there is a still a long way to go to reach hit status. Over the course of those five performances, the show brought in a weekly gross of $702,387, which represents 69.1% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $323, the average paid admission was $117.93, which is a strong start as it shows not a lot of discounting was required to sell initial tickets. Still, the audience capacity was filled up to 83.4%, which is again good but not excellent. Under the producing expertise of Scott Rudin, this show’s potential should not be underestimated, and yet it still appears to be a risky bet to revive an arguably dated musical. Furthermore, the cast includes a number of Tony-vetted performers, but they are still not A-list names of the likes of, say, Bette Midler, who led Rudin’s revival of Hello, Dolly! to stupendous success last season. The cast includes opera star Renée Fleming, Jessie Mueller (Beautiful, Waitress), Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys), Lindsay Mendez (Significant Other), and Margaret Colin (“Gossip Girl”).
The next day, on March 1, 2018, Edward Albee’s play Three Tall Women began performances at the John Golden Theatre, directed by Joe Mantello. With an excellent cast including Alison Pill, Laurie Metcalf, Joseph Medeiros, and Glenda Jackson, the show is great bet for an excellent production of a play by a recently deceased and supremely celebrated playwright. Nevertheless, the financial risks are still significant. Over the course of the four performances in its first partial week of previews, it brought in a weekly gross of $283,296, which represents 68.2% of its gross potential. With a top ticket price of $273, the average paid admission was $98.06, and the audience was filled up to an average capacity of 91.8%. The show is scheduled to officially open on March 29, 2018. Excellent reviews leading into awards season will be necessary for this show to consider profits in its possible future.
On that same day, March 1, 2018, Kenneth Lonergan’s play Lobby Hero began previews at the Helen Hayes Theatre, ahead of its opening night scheduled for March 26, 2018. Directed by Trip Cullman (Six Degrees of Separation, Significant Other), the cast includes Michael Cera, who appeared in Lonergan’s previous Broadway production This Is Our Youth, as well as Bel Powley (Arcadia), Brian Tyree Henry (The Book of Mormon), and Chris Evans (films such as Captain America and Avengers). With a fair number of recognizable actors, and with Lonergan’s recent mainstream appreciation with his film Manchester by the Sea contending for the Oscars last year, this show has a fair shot of attracting full houses of audience members. In its first week of 6 performances, it brought in a weekly gross of $261,326, which represents 54.6% of its gross potential, and the audience was filled up to 90.2%. This demonstrates a fair amount of discounting, but as word of mouth spreads, the average paid admission may start to rise.