By Robert Simonson
22 Oct 2013
Mark Rylance's Shakespeare double bill of Twelfth Night and Richard III got off to a strong start at the Belasco Theatre, where it began previews. Over six performances, the repertory act took in 73% of its possible take and played to houses handsomely packed to the tune of 97%. Given that Shakespeare is never a sure bet on Broadway, the numbers illustrate the ticketbuyer drawing power of two-time Tony winner Rylance, who has proven his mettle in both comedy and drama in recent seasons.
Two shows opened last week: The Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy, to a surprising batch of rave reviews, and A Time to Kill, to mixed notices. While the former's numbers didn't exactly skyrocket, they rose a bit. Audiences stood at 82%. The effect of the review on the Grisham thriller remains to be seen. For the time being, the play's last week of previews played to 88% capacity crowds.
The new musical After Midnight clocked in three previews at the Brooks Atkinson, where audiences congregated at a handsome 97% capacity. The Snow Geese, the new play starring Mary-Louise Parker, improved its showing. Last week's eight previews ran to 94% capacity audiences, with a jump of nearly $44,000 at the box office.
Betrayal and The Glass Menagerie continue to be Broadway audiences' favorite straight plays. Both performed again this week to full houses. They are the only plays whose average ticket prices run in excess of $100. (Betrayal's average is nearly $150.)
Overall, numbers were slightly down from last week, dipping roughly $600,000 in box office, even though attendance was slightly up. Still, 2013-14 box-office tallies are ahead of last season to date.