Broadway Box-Office Analysis: Despite Blizzard Cancellations, Attendance Was High on the Great White Way

Special Features   Broadway Box-Office Analysis: Despite Blizzard Cancellations, Attendance Was High on the Great White Way The blizzard that blanketed New York on Saturday, Jan. 23, had a major impact on traffic and business along Broadway. Every show along Broadway was down to six performances last week, with China Doll, which normally does six, down to five.

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Responding to City Hall’s travel ban of transportation arteries in and out of Manhattan, Broadway producers cancelled both the Saturday matinees and evening performances. 

The loss of dozens of performances had a severe impact on Broadway’s collective box office. Overall figures dropped from $26,239,268 to $15,977,958, with attendance plummeting from 257,867 to 174,717.

In this odd atmosphere, some things remained the same. The Book of Mormon and Hamilton sold out what performances they offered, as usual, and commanded high average ticket prices — $161.84 for Hamilton and $150.16 for The Book of Mormon. Hamilton saw the biggest take at the box office for the week: $1,304,793.

The cast of <i>Hamilton</i>
The cast of Hamilton Photo by Joan Marcus

The shaved week shrunk the possible earnings of Spring Awakening during the revival’s final week on Broadway. It collected $545,145, which was 72 percent of what it could have done. Attendance was strong, though, at 98 percent capacity — the musical's largest crowd in many weeks. Other shows that did best attendance-wise last week included Aladdin (89 percent), Beautiful (90 percent), Noises Off (91 percent), The Color Purple (90 percent) and Wicked (96 percent).

Richard Greenberg's new play Our Mother’s Brief Affair opened at the Friedman last week to middling reviews. Attendance amounted to 80 percent of the seats occupied. Box office was 28 percent of the potential, largely owing to the great number of comps handed out to the press.

The praised Off-Broadway The Humans began it's Broadway run on Sunday at the Helen Hayes. For its single preview, it took in $32,574, which represented 51 percent of the possible box-office take. Seats were 87 percent full.

China Doll, the new David Mamet play, declared it had earned back its investment this week. The show has not played to full houses since it opened to poor reviews. But star Al Pacino continued to draw a respectable per-ticket price from theatergoers. Last week saw $358,928 collected at the till and 71 percent capacity crowds. The limited run has one week to go at the Schoenfeld.

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