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Broadway’s $26M B.O. Dips 10% Post-Labor Day; Starry ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Great Society’, ‘Derren Brown: Secret’ Pitch In

Broadway box office was down nearly 10% from the previous week’s Labor Day holiday tourist bulge, with the 25 productions grossing a total $25,965,471. Attendance of 224,402 was steady with the prior week, though should have been better: The roster count was up by two over the previous week’s 23 shows.

Just about every production on the roster, though, reported a box office slip from the week before, not surprising given the back-to-earth post-holiday frame (figures reflect the week ending Sept. 8).

A few newcomers helped a tad, though opener Betrayal, the gloriously reviewed Harold Pinter revival starring Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox, reported a modest dip due to the Sept. 5 opening night comps and the week’s press seats. The production took in $623,475, a negligible .5% slip, with attendance at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre at 7,718, a strong 93% of capacity.

Beginning previews was the much-anticipated The Great Society, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to the celebrated Lyndon B. Johnson bio-drama All The Way, this time around starring Brian Cox as the post-Kennedy prez (Bryan Cranston won the 2014 Tony for his LBJ portrayal in the earlier drama). Bill Rauch directs at non-profit Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, with opening night set for Oct. 1.

The first two Great Society previews grossed $128,153, with average ticket price about $73 and attendance at 82% of capacity.

Also beginning previews last week was illusionist Derren Brown in his solo Derren Brown: Secret at the Cort Theatre, a production that comes with an impressive pedigree – J.J. Abrams is a producer – and a sweet spot of national attention: Check out Brown’s appearance last night on NBC’s special post-NFL episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon here:

Secret opens at the Cort on Sept. 15. The illusionist’s first four (pre-Fallon) previews conjured up $193,109, just over 40% of a $447,152 potential, with average tickets a modest $59 and attendance at 80% of capacity.

Some other notable entries for the post-Labor Day roster during the 15th week of the Broadway season:

  • Sea Wall/A Life, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge, grossed $625,431, with an $86 average ticket price, solid for a non-musical. Attendance at the Hudson was 94% of capacity;
  • Moulin Rouge! The Musical held firm in the rarified $2M+ stratum, grossing, to be exact, $2,095,697, 114% of potential at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, with an average ticket price of $199.78 and attendance SRO;
  • Barely noticing the overall downward trend of the week, Tony’s Best Musical Hadestown saw only a $14G dip where plenty of others were off by six figures. Anaïs Mitchell’s luscious musical grossed $1,336,924, 122% of potential at the Walter Kerr, with attendance SRO.

In all, the week’s sell-outs (or near enough at 98% of capacity or more) were Ain’t Too Proud, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Moulin Rouge!, The Book of Mormon, To Kill A Mockingbird and Waitress.

Season to date, Broadway has grossed $491,313,219, down about 10% year to year. Total attendance to date is 4,049,773, off about 3% from last season at this time.

All figures courtesy of the trade group Broadway League.

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