During the industry’s best fall stretch — Thanksgiving week — “Hamilton” grossed over $3 million, and “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” each grossed over $2 million.
The effect of the Tony Awards, which were held Sept. 26 in an effort to showcase the reopening of Broadway, is difficult to discern. “Moulin Rouge!,” which won the best musical Tony, sold well through the fall, but less well than it had in the fall of 2019 (the week before Thanksgiving last year, the musical grossed $1.5 million; during that same week in 2019, it had grossed $2 million).
The fall was especially tough for plays, which often struggle in an era when Broadway is dominated by big musicals. Critically acclaimed plays like “Pass Over,” “Is This a Room” and “Dana H.” played to houses that were at times between one half and two-thirds empty.
The average ticket price for all the new plays other than “The Lehman Trilogy” were well below the industry average, suggesting that the plays were resorting to steep discounts. During Thanksgiving week, the average ticket price at “Hamilton” was $297, while at “Chicken & Biscuits” it was $35.
Other than “Lehman,” the strongest selling of the new plays was “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” which grossed over $400,000 in some weeks. It has since closed, as has every other play that was running on Broadway last fall other than “Cursed Child.”
There were also, as there always are, musicals that struggled too. The new musical “Diana,” which opened to harsh reviews and closed a month later, played to 51 percent capacity houses and grossed $374,000 (for seven performances) during the week that ended Dec. 12. “Girl From the North Country,” which has closed but says it plans to reopen in the spring, played to 47 percent capacity audiences that week and grossed $310,000, and “Flying Over Sunset,” which ended its run early, played to 69 percent capacity audiences and grossed $323,000 that week.
“Jagged Little Pill,” the musical featuring songs by Alanis Morissette, did better than those shows, but not well enough to sustain a long run. The show was playing to houses that were about four-fifths full in the late fall, and it grossed $768,000 the week of Dec. 12. It closed a week later.