Broadway Box-Office Analysis, March 24-30: New Shows Pack the Great White Way

By Robert Simonson
01 Apr 2014

Playbill's newest weekly feature examines the box-office trends of the past week.



And the Street just gets more and more crowded.

For the week ending March 30, 2014, Broadway was packed nearly to the gills with 35 shows, up three attractions from the previous week (and five more than this time last season). This contributed in part to overall box office rising from $26,493,581 to $29,088,086.

The newbies including the first four previews of the Broadway debut of the Jeanine Tesori/Brian Crawley musical Violet at the American Airlines Theatre. It played to impressive 96%-capacity houses, while taking in just under half of its potential box office. (Elsewhere in Roundabout Theatre Company land, the reboot of the 1998 revival of Cabaret continued to do well, drawing theatregoers into 96% of Studio 54's seats.)

Also new was Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Brill, with Audra McDonald returning to Broadway as Billie Holiday. The musical got off to a modest start at Circle in the Square, commanding 84% capacity crowds and collected 54% of box office.

Of the three new shows on Broadway, performing the best by far was Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Neil Patrick Harris. Though it only presented a single preview at the Belasco, that show sold out. Furthermore, box office numbers stood at 120% the potential — a better gross than The Book of Mormon, no less. And here's an interesting statistic: The average ticket price for that preview was $141.92, the second best price on Broadway. Clearly, frequent-Tony-Awards-host Harris has picked up some theatre fans since his last foray on Broadway.

The mixed reviews that met Terrence McNally's Mothers and Sons last week didn't help the play much this week. It stood fairly static at 70% capacity houses, with an anemic 30% of possible box office garnered. The new musical, If/Then, which opened March 30, continued to do well on the strength of "Frozen" star Idina Menzel's drawing power, selling enough ducats to fill auditoriums to the turn of 97%, and tallying up a healthy 80% of total box office. How the mixed reviews (which praised Menzel) will affect the show will be revealed with next week's numbers.

For its final week on Broadway, the Patrick Stewart-Ian McKellen double bill of Waiting for Godot and No Man's Land showed handsomely. Houses were 97% full, and the box office was 88% of what it could have been.