Broadway acquired a new box-office hero last week, and his name is Bradley Cooper.
Cooper's new Broadway vehicle, a revival of The Elephant Man, began previews at the Booth. The show sold out each of its four performances and took in a whopping 113% of its potential box office.
Those numbers put movie star Cooper in ranks of perennial Broadway box-office champ Hugh Jackman, whose new play, The River, enjoyed its second week of previews at Circle in the Square. Jackman, too, packed every seat. His box-office showing was less that Cooper, but still a handsome 105% of the possible take.
In terms of average paid admission, Cooper bested Jackman just slightly, commanding $163.45 a ticket to Jackman's $160.43. The arrival of The River and The Elephant Man — as well as the new revival of A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee — meant that the revival of Terrence McNally's It's Only a Play, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, is no longer the lone straight-play smash on The Street.
The McNally again played to full houses last week, and brought in 103% of its gross. Average ticket price was $160.95. Of the three plays, It's Only a Play has the highest premium ticket price by far: $347.
Much of the talk along Broadway this past week was about how the new Sting musical The Last Ship is underperforming at the Neil Simon. Attendance last week stood at 66% and box-office collections ended at 44%. The latter number is not unusual around Times Square these days. The Country House, Side Show, Pippin, On the Town, Love Letters and This Is Our Youth are all performing in similar lackluster fashion. Still The Last Ship will have to do better to keep sailing on.
The revival of The Real Thing continued to chug along rather nicely, running before seats that were 98% filled. It was a similar story at The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. In fact, right now straight plays are among the most healthy performers on Broadway. That are more sell-out or near-sell-out plays on Broadway at present than there are musicals. How often does that happen?
Overall, Broadway was robust, taking in more than $4 million over last week's collections, and drawing 25,000 more attendees. The number of shows running climbed from 34 to 35.