Bette Midler returned to “Hello, Dolly!” last week, and she brought $1.5 million with her to the Broadway box office.
“Hello, Dolly!” ($2,232,162) had seen its sales sapped over the previous two weeks with Midler on vacation; her replacement, Donna Murphy, is much admired among Broadway fans (and has earned high praise from critics as Dolly), but she’s not the same kind of box office draw that Midler is. With Bette back in the show, “Hello, Dolly!” leapt back up to the third spot in the Top 10, right behind “Hamilton” ($3,019,947) and “The Lion King” ($2,511,628 for nine).
“Lion King” and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,336,479 for nine) each played one extra performance last week, an increasingly common tactic that big-name shows can use to capitalize on tourism high-tides during the summer or over the holidays. And the overall week did see a rise in attendance, up more than 12,000 to 268,850, or 90% of overall capacity — which helped push grosses up $2.8 million to $31.9 million for 30 shows on the boards.
The majority of individual productions posted gains last week, with one of the biggest registered at Tony-winning “Oslo” ($898,524), climbing almost 35% in its final week on the boards. It was easily the top-grossing play of the week, ahead of competition that includes still-rising “A Doll’s House, Part 2” ($557,757), posting its best week so far, as well as “Indecent” ($389,688) and “1984” ($382,755).
One show which posted a major decline last week, “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” ($939,748), upticked, and seems on relatively solid ground in the wake of Josh Groban’s sales-driving run in the show. It didn’t quite make the Top 10 this week, but a trio of other new musicals from last season did, including “Come From Away” ($1,268,952), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” ($1,093,433) and, of course, “Dear Evan Hansen” ($1,664,265), fresh off news of its recoupment.