Shows like Hamilton, Wicked, and Dear Evan Hansen have dominated sales and headlines on Broadway of late, but there are some new kids in town, and they’re packing some major expectations. Frozen, Mean Girls and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ride into town this spring, carrying with them the kind of buzz that only comes from a built-in audience due to the success of their respective film versions. And those freshmen are just the tip of the iceberg for the 2018 season.
Since August 2015, the Great White Way has been dominated by the highly-acclaimed production Hamilton, based on the Alexander Hamilton biography by historian Ron Chernow. In 2016, the show set a Broadway box office record for the highest grossing show over a single week in New York City. It also became the first show to break $3 million in eight performances. Similarly, Wicked has continued to stay on-top of best-selling Broadway shows going back to its debut in 2003. The spin-off of the classic story, The Wizard of Oz was first to hit $1 billion in sales, faster than any other Broadway show. Wicked joined the circle of other top-charters The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera.
But with the new year comes new challengers to the respective lords of the box office.
Just yesterday, Disney’s Frozen hit its debut, ranking a total of $926,840 for just four performances played to open houses, according to Variety. The production, based off the hit 2013 movie, tells the story of an ice queen who freezes everything she touches. Since the movie was so popular, it’s expected that this show will join the pantheon of best-selling Disney Broadway shows like The Lion King and Aladdin.
Another recent launch was that of Jimmy Buffet’s Escape to Margaritaville, which saw the singer’s “Parrothead” fans live up to their reputation by drinking the bar dry at an early preview – breaking a record on alcohol sales for the venue in the process. With the army of fans that follow the laid-back lifestyle espoused by the singer and laid out in the musical, it is expected to pack a box office punch of its own, despite a somewhat tepid review of its launch in Variety.
This April, Mean Girls, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are also on the way. Written by Tina Fey and based on the 2004 film, Mean Girls ranked in over $1.3 million in sales, just during the first seven previews. The “fetch” show is set to officially open on April 8. There was also good sales signs for a revival of My Fair Lady, which pulled $526,130 for four previews. The show, which originally debuted in 1956 starring Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews, will hit theaters on April 19.
One of the most anticipated productions of the year is “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” written by the star novelist, J. K. Rowling. For decades, both kids and adults have been entranced by Rowling’s story tale of the wizard Harry Potter. The Harry Potter book series, which ended in 2007 after “The Deathly Hallows,” seemed to be an end of an era, however, less than ten years later, Rowling released a new work. Cursed Child takes place 19 years after the events in the final book, following Harry Potter and his son, Albus Severus Potter. The play is due on Broadway April 22.
This past week was a big hit for Broadway – with cumulative sales rising to about $32 million for 30 shows, with almost 95 percent attendance across the boards. These numbers are set to climb even more, with a number of productions getting ready to hit the stage. “Pretty Woman” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” will open later this year, among many others currently in the works, including “13 Going on 30,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” and “Magic Mike.”
Time will tell if any have the kind of weight to knock Hamilton off its perch, but there’s a lot of clout in the new class.