New York Times
Broadway Plays Show Surprising Box Office Strength
By PATRICK HEALY
June 26, 2013
Several Broadway plays are performing powerfully at the box office as summer begins, a time when plays usually fade fast while increasingly tourist-heavy audiences opt for musicals.
Weekly ticket sales for the Christopher Durang comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” have increased 30 percent since winning the Tony Award for best play on June 9; the show took in $711,012 last week, or 93 percent of the maximum potential gross, a huge amount for a play. “I’ll Eat You Last,” the one-woman play starring Bette Midler, set another box office record at the Booth Theater, taking in $890,276 – the equivalent of 114 percent of the maximum possible gross after factoring in premium ticket prices of $298. “Lucky Guy,” the tabloid newspaper drama starring Tom Hanks, brought in a very strong $634,205 for just four performances, a schedule that was reduced to accommodate conflicts of several cast members, according to the play’s spokesman.
Three other plays – “The Nance” with Nathan Lane; “The Trip to Bountiful” with Cicely Tyson, who won the Tony for best actress; and “The Assembled Parties” with Judith Light, who won the Tony for best featured actress – all grossed 50 percent or more of their maximum possible amounts, a sign of box office strength.
The other two plays on Broadway, “Macbeth” with Alan Cumming and “Ann” with Holland Taylor, took in lesser amounts.
The latest musicals continued to post strong numbers as well. Box-office records were set again last week by “Kinky Boots” ($1,503,541), which won the Tony for best musical; “Motown” ($1,443,867); “Matilda” ($1,222,026); and “Pippin” ($1,038,619), which won the Tony for the best musical revival. Tourists also filled seats at the Broadway revival of “Annie,” lifting the show’s gross to more than $1 million for the first time since early April.
Over all, Broadway musicals and plays took in $24.1 million last week, compared to $25 million for the comparable week last season; attendance was 218,448 compared to 254,941 this time last year, a reflection of fewer shows now running on Broadway.