Wednesday, November 30, 2016

‘Hamilton’ Hits a New High: The Most Money Grossed in a Week on Broadway - The New York Times

‘Hamilton’ Hits a New High: The Most Money Grossed in a Week on Broadway - The New York Times:

By MICHAEL PAULSONNOV. 28, 2016


Javier Muñoz, center, as Alexander Hamilton in the musical “Hamilton.” Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

History is happening in Manhattan: “Hamilton” has set a record for the most money ever made in a single week by a Broadway show.

The musical, which attracted national attention just before the week began with criticism from President-elect Donald J. Trump of its quality and the manners of its cast, grossed $3.3 million last week. That’s a huge number on Broadway, where only unusually strong shows gross more than $1 million in a week, and most pull in far less.

“Hamilton,” which won the Tony Award this year for best new musical, is now the first Broadway show to gross more than $3 million for an eight-performance week. In 2013, “Wicked” grossed $3.2 million during a week in which that show had nine performances, one more than usual.

“Hamilton,” which uses hip-hop and a diverse cast to explore the life and death of Alexander Hamilton, also set a record for the highest premium ticket price charged by a Broadway box office — $998 — although some people have paid more buying tickets from resellers. The previous premium ticket price record was $700, for “Barry Manilow on Broadway” in 2013.

Why ‘Hamilton’ Has Heat

What’s the story behind a show that’s become a Broadway must-see with no marquee names, no special effects and almost no white actors? Erik Piepenburg explains, in six snapshots, why “Hamilton” has become such a big deal.

It is not clear how many seats “Hamilton” sold for a $998 box-office price, but the show’s high average paid admission last week — $303, which is a record for average paid admission — suggests that a substantial number of seats sold for a premium. This price data, released on Monday by the Broadway League, reflects ticket prices charged by the producers and primarily sold at the box office or through Ticketmaster; it does not reflect higher prices paid by consumers for seats resold on the secondary ticket market.

It seems clear that, barring a dramatic and unforeseen reversal of fortunes, “Hamilton” will be the top-grossing show this season, overtaking “The Lion King.”

Last week was a bonanza for Broadway, as it included Thanksgiving, which is generally the second most lucrative period of the year after Christmas and New Year’s. Tourists to New York are plentiful, and sought-after shows regularly increase their premium prices during those weeks. Thirteen shows grossed more than $1 million last week, including four that exceeded $2 million — “Hamilton,” “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “Aladdin.”

For “Hamilton,” the strong week follows a weekend of unexpected drama in which the vice president-elect, Mike Pence, attended the show. The cast addressed him afterward from the stage, asking him “to work on behalf of all of us,” and Mr. Trump reacted unhappily on Twitter. But that episode did not affect last week’s grosses — “Hamilton” is a sold-out show, so its attendance does not fluctuate from week to week; its grosses vary because of pricing changes, and the prices charged for Thanksgiving-week tickets were set months ago.

Overall, the 34 shows running during the week that ended on Nov. 27 grossed $35.3 million, making it the highest-grossing Thanksgiving week, according to the weekly grosses report released by the Broadway League. The figures are not adjusted for inflation.

The week was not, however, the best attended — there were two years in which more people attended Broadway shows over Thanksgiving, including last year.

This season has been lagging behind last in total grosses, but has gradually been making up lost ground. As the crucial holiday period begins, total grosses are 0.3 percent lower than last season. Overall attendance is up, if only slightly — by 0.1 percent — with a number of promising shows yet to open.

Among the new musicals this fall, three that faced skepticism in some quarters are starting strong. “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” which stars the pop singer Josh Groban and opened to strong reviews, has grossed over $1 million every week except one when Mr. Groban missed some performances because he sick. “Dear Evan Hansen,” now in previews and playing in a small theater, grossed a healthy $883,677 over just seven performances, playing to full houses and with a strong average ticket price. And “A Bronx Tale,” also in previews, is starting well, grossing $717,860 in seven performances.

The news was significantly less good for another new musical, “In Transit,” an a cappella show that grossed $257,037 in eight preview performances.

Among plays, a much-anticipated revival of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” starring Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber, has been soft at the box office — it grossed $428,583 last week — and the producers have announced that they would close the show on Jan. 8, two weeks earlier than planned."



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