Broadway Box Office: 'Bronx Bombers' is striking out with audiences, while Shakespeare hits a grand slam

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Image Credit: Joan Marcus

Broadway’s New York Yankees love-fest Bronx Bombers, starring Peter Scolari as Yogi Berra, isn’t exactly pulling major-league numbers at the box office. In the first full week since its Feb. 6 opening, the new drama took in a measly $177,559, according to figures released by The Broadway League. That’s less than a quarter of the potential gross at Circle in the Square (one of Broadway’s smallest theaters) — and does not bode well for its future.

The biggest surprise this winter has been the season’s unlikeliest but very palpable hit(s): the Mark Rylance-led productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III playing in repertory (and breaking house sales records) at the Belasco. For the week ending Feb. 16, the shows grossed a remarkable $944,755 — a tally that exceeds all of the season’s new musicals. The takings have topped the potential gross for the Broadhurst for the third straight week, suggesting that producers have been able to goose their earnings by selling ever more premium tickets at $247 a pop.

All the Way, a new play starring Bryan Cranston as Lyndon Baines Johnson, barnstormed to $770,789 in its first week of previews — another strong showing for a non-musical, though the total is just over half the potential gross. Also holding up well are two holdovers from last fall: the Ian McKellen/Patrick Stewart two-fer Waiting for Godot/No Man’s Land ($606,324) and the Zachary Quinto-led Glass Menagerie ($531,602).

Among the season’s new tuners, the Carole King biomusical Beautiful has the makings of a solid-gold hit. Last week, it racked up $901,903, nearly 88 percent of its potential gross. After Midnight ($619,847) and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder ($471,751) seem to be holding steady.

And two new movie-based musicals are generating very different reactions from audiences in previews. The Bridges of Madison County, opening this week, will need strong reviews to boost its current sales — last week it grossed $348,594, or about 35 percent of its potential. Meanwhile, the unlikely musical version of the Sylvester Stallone classic Rocky knocked down $373,672 from its first three performances — an encouraging number that’s about two-thirds of the potential earnings for the Winter Garden Theatre. (The show officially opens March 13.)

Leading last week’s box office were long-running musical hits: Wicked ($1.8 million), The Book of Mormon ($1.7 million), The Lion King ($1.6 million), Kinky Boots ($1.4 million), and Motown: The Musical ($1.2 million).

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