It's been nearly ten and a half years since Rent -- Jonathan Larson's East Village take on La Bohème -- opened on Broadway. But is its time running out?
If you look at this past week's box office totals, Rent is in a class by itself among all musicals, and given the category I'm talking about, that isn't good. It is the only Broadway tuner to have an average ticket price of under $50. At $49.43, that makes the egalitarian show eminently accessible for most audiences. But with overall box office now selling only 58.6% capacity -- down 6.8% from last week -- can this groundbreaking show remain open?
The only musical playing to less capacity is The Producers, which saw a week-over-week drop of 4.1% to 50.4%. However, the average ticket price for Mel Brooks' most successful venture ever on the Great White Way still comes in at $68.65. Rent and The Producers are the only two musicals playing to capacities of under 60%.
Of course, both of those productions are doing boffo box office compared with the week's weakest link, Jay Johnson: The Two And Only, which in its first full week of previews attracted a capacity of only 24.4% with an average ticket price of just $47.80. That certainly doesn't bode well for its opening later this week unless it gets positive notices from the critics.
And for the week's box office champs? In terms of capacity, Usher's apparently working his magic by ushering Chicago back to the top (up 3.8% to 101.2% capacity). Jersey Boys drops to number two (down .1% to 100.7%) with Wicked right behind (down .5% to 99.7%). In terms of average ticket prices, Jersey Boys is still tops with $118.67, followed by Wicked at $95.24 and then Chicago at $89.36. However, in terms of overall weekly gross, Wicked remains king with a total take of $1,367,250; Jersey Boys took in $1,167,994; The Color Purple was third with $938,537 (Chicago only ranked eighth with $781,545 in receipts).
Will dwindling numbers for Rent and The Producers spur closing notices anytime soon? Stay tuned.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Broadway Box Office Rebounds (September 19, 2006)
Broadway's Biggest Box Office (September 13, 2006)
Fall At Broadway's Box Office (September 12, 2006)