The long-delayed revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman stands atop the Broadway sales chart, raking in $3.5 million in the first week of show-by-show grosses being reported since March of 2020 by the Broadway League. The numbers show that the return of Broadway is staying strong as consumers get more and more comfortable with attending live events across the board.
Besides the Music Man, 11 productions saw grosses in excess of $1 million on the week, with longtime favorites like Hamilton ($2.3 million), Wicked ($1.9M), The Lion King ($1.8M) doing good business. Out of 22 shows currently open, 16 were shown to have attendance at 90 percent of the house capacity or better, with both Hadestown and Hamilton at 101% on the week.
In total, the weekly gross was $26.7 million, which is the highest weekly total so far in 2022, close to double the $15 million take on the week ending January 30.
The numbers are reflective of the shows that made it through the latest COVID test – the Omicron variant that saw numerous productions disrupted by outbreaks among cast and crew and caused some to be temporarily shut down, and others to close entirely. Shows like Hamilton and the Lion King have enough baseline demand to weather most storms. But many shows are opening this spring, which may provide a more comprehensive idea of how the recovery of the theatrical business in New York is really going.
“The box office numbers were the first for individual shows to be publicly released by the League since March of 2020, and suggested, as expected, that the relatively small number of mostly big-name shows that survived the Omicron spike of the coronavirus late last year are fairly hardy, and most appear to be bringing in more money than they are spending on a week-to-week basis,” writes New York Times theater reporter Michael Paulson. “The industry faces another stress test ahead, as the number of shows increases; no one knows whether there is enough audience to support the newcomers as well as the established productions.”
Currently, only 22 of the 41 venues large enough to be considered “Broadway” houses are open for business. According to The Broadway League, 16 productions are have opened or are scheduled to open in March and April, meaning the competition for the audience is going to get stronger in the coming weeks as the weather heats up.
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