Broadway Box Office Analysis, Aug. 18-24: Numbers Drop at Hedwig Following NPH Exit While Michael Cera Debuts Onstage in This Is Our Youth

News   Broadway Box Office Analysis, Aug. 18-24: Numbers Drop at Hedwig Following NPH Exit While Michael Cera Debuts Onstage in This Is Our Youth
 
Playbill's new weekly feature examines the box-office trends of the past week.

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Broadway finally took on a new straight play this week, after nearly a month without one. This Is Our Youth, a new production of Kenneth Lonergan's 1996 play, put in seven previews at the Cort Theatre. This initial showing not strong for the play, which was first produced at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre and stars film actor Michael Cera. It played to 78% capacity, and took in only 58% of its potential box office. But, then, the new production's arrival comes in the last days of August, when many New Yorkers are out of town, while tourists tend to gravitate toward the better-known musicals.

How much of the box office success of Hedwig and the Angry Inch was about Neil Patrick Harris? Quite a bit, apparently. While Harris — who won a Tony for his work — was in the piece, it routinely sold-out and fetched high ticket prices. Harris left on Aug. 17 and Aug. 20 Andrew Rannells, formerly of The Book of Mormon, took over.

Not surprisingly, the casting change resulted in Hedwig's weakest week in memory. It played to 88% capacity and pulled in 82% of its potential box office. This, compared to the 137% of possible box office Harris netted in his final week. The exact dollar number garnered was $648,738, a plummet of nearly a half a million from last week.

Overall box office was slightly soft on this next-to-last week of the summer. The 25 shows on the boards took in $22,786,505, a sizable slide from last week's $25,177,911. And attendance was down roughly $15,000. The only shows to play to capacity were A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, The Book of Mormon and The Lion King, with Aladdin and Matilda the Musical just barely missing. Taking the biggest dips of the week (aside from Hedwig) were The Book of Mormon and Wicked — which collected fewer ducats simply because they put in eight performances instead of last week's nine — The Lion King, which fell $231,434, and Cinderella, which dropped $132,570. The latter had the lowest attendance on Broadway, at 59% capacity.

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