Broadway Box-Office Analysis, March 2-8: Larry David’s Fish Bowl Continues to Overflow and a New Carole King Comes to Beautiful

News   Broadway Box-Office Analysis, March 2-8: Larry David’s Fish Bowl Continues to Overflow and a New Carole King Comes to Beautiful
Playbill's new weekly feature examines the box-office trends of the past week.


Did Larry David’s Fish in the Dark suffer at all from the somewhat lackluster back of reviews that greeted its March 5 opening on Broadway? Not a jot. Even in a week when it was dolling out press seats, the comedy played to capacity and collected a full 100% of its box office gross. That latter number will next week doubtless jump to the usual 100-plus% territory its occupied during its preview period.

The Audience, in which Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II opposite many different Prime Ministers, opened at the tail end of the week, on March 8. In the days leading up to that, it ran before full houses and netted 84% of its gross, a drop from last week owing to the distribution of gratis press seats. The reviews admired Mirren more than the play. But Mirren is the reason people are buying tickets for this show, so that shouldn’t affect ticket sales in future weeks.

The first-ever Broadway revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles got off to a weak start last week, not posting stellar numbers. Things stayed pretty much the same this week. The play, which stars “Mad Men”’s Elisabeth Moss in the lead, ran at 70% capacity, but box office was a mere 36% of the gross. The only shows that posted lower at the box office were On the Town and Honeymoon in Vegas.

Aside from the above two shows, the only show on Broadway to play to full houses was The Book of Mormon. Coming close (99.78%) was the play Constellations, at the Friedman, which showed again this week that it can sell nine shows as well as it can eight. Aladdin also just missed, at 99.31%. Also still in previews was the Kristin Chenoweth starrer On the Twentieth Century. The show has been performing pretty steady at the American Airlines Theatre, not selling out, but not doing badly. Last week, seats were 88% full and box office gross was 47% of the potential.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical welcomed a new Carole King on March 7 in the form of Chilina Kennedy. She replaced Jessie Mueller, who left the show March 6. In her long stay in the show, the Tony-winning Mueller proved herself a box-office draw. The initial transition went well. Capacity was steady from last week at 92%, and box office collections were slightly up. What will be more telling will be Kennedy’s first full week in the lead.

With 25 shows now playing the Street (one less than last week), Broadway took in $18,260,267 overall, a fall of just under $400,000 from last week. Attendance was down just a thousand to 188,591. Last season at this time, 28 shows took in $21,278,718.

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