By Robert Simonson
08 Apr 2014
Nudging the number of shows on Broadway to 36 were the new Eric Coble play The Velocity of Autumn, starring Estelle Parsons, and Harvey Fierstein's new play Casa Valentina. Throughout seven previews at the Booth Theatre, the former drew 62% capacity crowds, but took in only 20% of the potential box office — perhaps not an unexpected start for a play by a largely unknown playwright with no marquee names in the cast.
Casa, meanwhile, filled 76% of its seats at Manhattan Theatre Club's Friedman Theatre, and collected 30% of its possible gross over seven previews.
The positive reviews for the revival of A Raisin in the Sun at the Barrymore did nothing to boost the fortunes of that Denzel Washington vehicle — because you can't get better than capacity, which is what the smash production has been doing since it began previews a month ago. Box-office take, however, was an admirable 92% of possible gross, and average paid admission was $111 — the highest figure for any play on Broadway.
Another familiar title with a familiar star was the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Cabaret starring Alan Cumming. The reboot of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's 1998 production continued to do well at Studio 54, playing to full houses and bringing in 70% of the possible till.
Also making another good showing this week was the Broadway debut of Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring near Neil Patrick Harris, which just missed capacity, at 99%. Box office, however, did not miss its mark — producers raked in 110% of the gross. An average paid admission of $129 helped goose that figure.
Appearing to be struggling at the Winter Garden was the musicalization of the boxing movie Rocky, which won respectable but not boffo reviews last month. Houses were on 70% full. Faring worse, however, was another new musical, Jason Robert Brown's The Bridges of Madison County, which also received fair but not fiery reviews. It commanded auditoriums that were just 58% full.
Overall, Broadway box office number took a dive, sliding from $29,088,086 to $26,873,431. Attendance was down 10,000 to 279,366.