‘Music Man’ sets box office record for reopened Broadway

Broadway has a new box office leader: A star-studded revival of “The Music Man” grossed $3.5 million last week, the most for any show since theaters reopened after the long pandemic shutdown.

The musical, with a cast led by the ever-popular Hugh Jackman, is outselling “Hamilton” and all the other shows, triumphing over lukewarm reviews as it plays to sold-out houses and sells sky-high ticket prices.

Data released Tuesday by the Broadway League showed “The Music Man” had grossed more than $3 million for five consecutive weeks.

The industry’s three big stalwarts remain strong: Last week, “Hamilton” grossed $2.3 million, “Wicked” was at $1.9 million, and “The Lion King” was at $1.8 million. dollars.

The box office figures were the first for individual shows to be released by the League since March 2020 and suggested, as expected, that the relatively low number of mostly big-name shows that survived the peak Omicron from coronavirus at the end of last year are quite robust and most seem to be making more money than they are spending from week to week. The industry faces another stress test ahead, as the number of shows increases; no one knows if there’s enough of an audience to support newcomers as well as established productions.

Among the highlights, according to the new information: A revival of Neil Simon’s comedy “Plaza Suite” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick is off to a strong start, reflecting the huge appeal of the two stars, who are married to each other. each other and have not appeared on stage together in years. The play, still in preview, grossed $1.7 million last week, which is a huge number for a small-cast play in a modestly sized venue.

“The Music Man,” which also stars the talented Sutton Foster, had the highest average ticket price, at $283, and the highest premium ticket price, at $697. “Plaza Suite” also sold high-priced premium seats, at $549, reflecting Parker’s popularity.

The numbers show signs of concern for some shows. “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,” played to houses that were only 55% full last week, grossing $778,000. And a new musical, “Paradise Square,” got off to a slow start in previews – the show drew large audiences (it was 97% sold out) but with unsustainable ticket prices (it only grossed 355). $000, with an average ticket price of $47). And sales of shows such as “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Come From Away” and “Chicago” have notably declined since before the pandemic.

But there is also good news for other shows. In particular, recently released box office data suggests that “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” benefited from its decision to go from a two-parter to a one-parter during the pandemic. The show grossed $1.7 million last week; the two-part version grossed around $1 million during non-holiday weeks before the pandemic.

As of the end of last week, 22 shows were running at the 41 Broadway homes, up from 19 earlier in the year. The average ticket price was $136 and 92% of all seats were occupied, although there were fewer vacancies overall as many theaters did not have shows.