Broadway Box Office: “Hello, Dolly!” Without Bette Midler Falls to Earth

Broadway B.O.: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Glides As ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Slides On Winter’s Icy Road
by Jeremy Gerard
January 29, 2018 2:02pm

Broadway’s winter lull focuses all eyes on the slim pickings as long-runs host 2-for-1 sales, houses sit empty in anticipation of the spring semester and shows hustle to sustain momentum after stars have exited for the ski slopes or warmer climes.

Tony winner Ben Platt has left Dear Evan Hansen, but that musical, with Noah Galvin taking over in the title role, still is drawing a premium of nearly 20% above its gross potential at the Shubert Organization’s Music Box Theatre, with one of the highest per-ticket averages on the Street.

Hamilton, of course, never was dependent on Lin-Manuel Miranda, and even with his replacement now gone, that show continues to sell more than $3 million per week in tickets, at almost $300 a pop. And Waitress knows a good thing when it seizes it: With the Brooks Atkinson box office booming, Tony-winning composer-lyricist Sara Bareilles has extended her stay in the title role as that show remains in the Top 5 for the second week in a row.

So what’s left to masticate? Hello, Dolly! of course, now that Bernadette Peters has settled into the role Bette Midler owned until a couple of weeks ago. Everything (except, perhaps, the advertising budget) has been trimmed back post-Midler, with a premium top ticket of $299 and regular top of $169 (down from sky’s-the-limit during the holiday season). If the other shows mentioned demonstrate a hunger for the hits even during a slow period, the first few weeks of Dolly! 2.0 suggest another reality, which is that in the case of revivals, customers come more for the names above the title more than the title alone. We’ll see if the fortunes of Hello, Dolly! improve, but for the moment, it doesn’t score in the Top 5 shows — and a look at the availability charts shows plenty of tickets available at $169 and under for pretty much any date you want.

The five top-grossing musicals were:

• Hamilton ($3 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers; $286.99 average ticket)

• Springsteen On Broadway ($2.4 million for 5 performances at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr; $508.52)

• The Lion King ($1.8 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; $136.83)

• Dear Evan Hansen ($1.7 million at the Shubert Organization’s Music Box; $212.67)

• Waitress ($1.62 million at the Nederlanders’ Brooks Atkinson; $193.54)

The five top-grossing plays were:

• Farinelli and the King ($839K at the Shubert Organization’s Belasco; $103)

• Latin History For Morons ($529.1K for 7 performances at the Roundabout’s Studio 54; $88.41)

• The Parisian Woman ($455.8K at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson; $73.15)

• John Lithgow: Stories By Heart ($433.6K at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines; $81.80)

• The Play That Goes Wrong ($343.4K at the Shuberts’ Lyceum; $66.30)

Total receipts for 26 shows were $27.5 million in Week 36 of the 2017-18 Broadway season, according to figures from the trade group Broadway League, slightly short of the Week 35 draw of $27.7 million. Average ticket price across all shows was $124.12, down from $127.57 the week before.

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