Broadway box office: Nathan Lane and James Earl Jones top hit shows
It’s Only a Play doesn’t open until this Thursday, but the backstage comedy revival is already minting money for its producers at Broadway’s Schoenfeld Theatre. The star-studded show—featuring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, and Harry Potter alum Rupert Grint—grossed an impressive $1.25 million for the week ending Oct. 5, according to figures from the Broadway League. That’s a remarkable haul for a non-musical—and actually exceeds the potential earnings for the venue (thanks mostly to premium tickets sales and high demand).
Another star-studded revival, Kaufman and Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You (starring James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne), got a giant boost from its across-the-board rave reviews. In the first full week since its Sept. 28 opening, the comedy upped its ticket stales nearly 50 percent from the previous week, to $571,079.
Among brand-new shows, the London hit The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time seems to have the most hit potential. The comedic drama based on Marc Haddon’s novel grossed a solid $501,192 last week despite numerous comped seats for critics in advance of its official premiere last night. And in its first seven previews, the Sting-scored musical The Last Ship steered itself to a respectable $533,382.
Several of the season’s other new productions, though, have failed to light a fire at the box office. This Is Our Youth, starring Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin, took in $358, 375, less than half its potential gross. And A.R. Gurney’s two-person Love Letters, now starring Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy in what’s intended to be the first in a rotating cast of veteran actors, played to half-full houses and earned an anemic $214,065—less than a quarter of what it could have. You have to wonder if the A-listers touted for later in the run—Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston, and Martin Sheen among them—will even get a chance to play their roles.
Overall, Broadway earned $23.2 million last week, with seven shows posting seven-figure sales: The Lion King ($1.85 million); The Book of Mormon ($1.61 million); Wicked ($1.41 million); Aladdin ($1.32 million); Beautiful ($1.28 million); It’s Only a Play ($1.25 million); and Kinky Boots ($1.16 million).