Bette Midler Broadway Play Off to Sizzling Start at Box Office

"I'll Eat You Last" draws Liza Minnelli, Debbie Reynolds, James Franco, and Jeffrey Katzenberg to preview performances

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 1:16 PM

Critics have yet to weigh in on whether or not Bette Midler's return to Broadway is worth the 30 year wait.

Getty ImagesHowever, after just three preview performances, it looks like "I'll Eat You Last," the production that lured her back to the Great White Way, is a hit with audiences. The show examines the life and career of Sue Mengers, a legendary figure in Hollywood who became the movie business' first female superagent.

Since beginning previews on Friday, the show has been sold out, netting  $313,705 in ticket sales. Average tickets for the show sold at the relatively high price of $133.78, which is only eclipsed by the ticket prices of hit musicals like "The Book of Mormon," "Wicked" and "The Lion King."

"I'll Eat You Last" has also been expert at drawing an A-list crowd. Liza Minnelli, Debbie Reynolds, James Franco, and Jeffrey Katzenberg were just a few of the big names in the audience over the weekend, a spokesman for the production confirmed.

In comparison, "Orphans," another star-driven revival with Alec Baldwin, racked up $595,471 last week, but it hit that figure over eight shows. Other plays such as "Breakfast at Tiffany's" with "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke made $337,621, while "The Big Knife" with "Boardwalk Empire"s' Bobby Cannavale grossed $223,376 over eight shows.

Of course, Midler's show and its average ticket prices of $133.78 pale next to the numbers put up by Tom Hank's Broadway debut in Nora Ephron's "Lucky Guy." The comic depiction of the rise and fall and rise again of New York columnist Mike McAlary grossed $1.2 million last week, dwarfing all other non-musicals.

If the play can build on the hot start then it will represent something of a comeback for Midler, who or Midler.  Last winter, the actress starred in the unexpected family comedy hit "Parental Guidance," which grossed nearly $120 million worldwide.

"I'll Eat You Last" opens officially on April 24 at the Booth Theatre.


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