By Robert Simonson
10 Sep 2013
|Photo by Paul Kolnik|
Big Fish, the big new Susan Stroman-directed musical based on the film of the same name, docked at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre this past week, putting in its first four previews. It showed well for a newcomer, playing to over 100% capacity, while taking in 58% of its potential box office.
Big Fish was one of the few shows to command such attendance. The advent of Rosh Hashanah took its toll on attendance. In a anemic showing all across Broadway, only one show — the reliably packed The Book of Mormon — played to full houses. A couple others — Kinky Boots and The Lion King — came within a hair's breadth.
Matilda The Musical, a powerhouse throughout most of the summer, plunged from full audiences to houses 88% full. The changed coincided with the exit of Tony Award-nominated original cast members Bertie Carvel and Lauren Ward.
Two musicals, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark and Annie, increased in percentage capacity over last week, the former playing to houses 76% full, the latter to 75%. But these numbers were deceptive, as both shows reduced their seating capacity — Annie going from 1,708 seats to 1,421 at the Palace, and Spider-Man dropping from 1,930 seats to 1,583 at the Foxwoods. Annie announced this past week that it would close in Jan. 2014.