Though the number of attractions on Broadway dropped from 34 to 32 last week, overall box office stood strong and rose a bit, from $28,229,256 to $28,923,676.
Money-changing was brisk, as ticketbuyers sent five shows into sell-out territory (including Long Day’s Journey Into Night, making it that rare thing, a straight play that sells out its week), and three more nearly played to capacity. Strong sales gave almost every show on Broadway an uptick in monies. The tourist trade likely led to handsome jumps at such long-running shows as Wicked ($150,787), The King and I ($164,236), Matilda ($159,439), Kinky Boots ($98,719).
A significant exception was the musical Shuffle Along, which fell $158,744 at the box office last week, sliding from $973,686 to $814,942. It was the biggest drop of the week. Producer Scott Rudin made the surprise announcement last week that the show would close with the departure of star Audra McDonald, who is pregnant. The unexpected news may have have a dampening effect of box office activity. However, it is probably a hiccup, as ticketbuyers will most likely descend on the well-reviewed show during its few remaining weeks.
Bright Star, the Steve Martin and Edie Brickell musical that couldn’t make a go of it on Broadway, enjoyed a box-office stampede during its final week at the Cort. A boom of $158,776 rocketed its weekly take to $708,013. The rise caused the musical to play at all-but capacity for the first time in its brief Broadway stay.
Bright Star's increase was one of the biggest of the week. The largest belonged to The Color Purple, which inclined by a massive $238,536, bringing this week’s total to $799,021. The return to form was likely due to the return of vacationing Tony-winning star Cynthia Erivo, who plays the leading role of Celie. There’s a star with some box-office pull. The King and I’s good showing last week can also be accredited to playing its final performances. However, its numbers were more in keeping with what has been a fairly strong box-office performance during much of its long run.
Over at the Atkinson, Waitress continues on its streak of breaking its own box-office records. It had its best grossing week ever, beating its own record three weeks in a row, grossing $1,100,048 for the eight-performance week ending June 26. That’s just $15,273 more than the previous week. But a new record is a new record.