‘Gutenberg! The Musical’, ‘Jaja’s African Hair Braiding’ & Melissa Etheridge Take NY Stage – Broadway Box Office

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A trio of new shows joined Broadway last week to mostly decent box office figures as the fall season begins to take shape.

Most impressive was Gutenberg! The Musical! starring Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells under the direction of Alex Timbers. For the first three previews of its run, the musical filled 96% of seats at the James Earl Jones Theatre. The performances grossed $376,300, with an average ticket price at a solid $122.65. Opening night is Oct. 12.

The subscription-based Manhattan Theatre Club unveiled its production of Jocelyn Bioh’s Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, directed by Whitney White. The play took in $165,345 for six previews, with the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre at 97% of capacity. Average ticket was $44.51. Opening night is Oct. 3.

Melissa Etheridge began her autobiographical songs-and-stories show Melissa Etheridge: My Window with four previews at Circle in the Square, with attendance at 80% of capacity and a gross of $184,162. Average ticket was $79.38. Opening night is Sept. 28.

In all, the 25 Broadway productions grossed a total of $21,640,927 for the week ending Sept. 17, about even with the previous week. Total attendance was 203,025, up 7% from the previous week when the roster had three fewer shows. The stagnant grosses figure, as compared with the attendance increase, is at least partially due to the two-for-one ticket prices of the final week of the NYC Broadway Week promotion. The average ticket price on Broadway last week was a modest $106.59 (last year at this time the average price was about $124).

While most of the productions on the roster – 16 of the 25 – saw fine attendance figures at the 90%-of-capacity level or more, only one was a virtual sell-out: Hamilton, at 99.76% of capacity at the Richard Rodgers. The previewing Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through The Cotton Patch, starring Leslie Odom Jr. in director Kenny Leon’s revival of the play by Ossie Davis, was still finding its footing at the Music Box Theatre, with attendance at 68% of the venue’s capacity. The production grossed $331,700; opening night is Sept. 27.

Season to date, Broadway has grossed $497,854,347 with total attendance of 4,079,414 at 88% of capacity.

All figures courtesy of The Broadway League. For complete box office listings, visit the League’s website.

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