Broadway ticket sales held steady for the week ending March 8 despite mounting concerns that the coronavirus epidemic might hurt New York City tourism and scare people away from large public gatherings like live theater.
Overall grosses hit $26.7 million, 2% above the previous week, according to the Broadway League. The numbers were boosted by the arrival of four new shows that started previews last week: a gender-swapped revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” the new musical “Diana,” the historical play “The Lehman Trilogy” and a starry revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
But Disney’s three family-friendly musicals saw significant drops in ticket sales last week. “The Lion King” grosses fell 16.1%, to $1.2 million; “Frozen” plummeted 13.7%, to $798,610; and “Aladdin” dropped 8.2% to just over $1 million.
Without the arrival of the four new productions, which took in nearly $1.7 million among them, Broadway grosses would have been 4% under the previous week’s total of $26.1 million.
On Tuesday, the coronavirus threat prompted Broadway producer Scott Rudin to offer bargain-basement $50 tickets on all remaining tickets to performances of his five shows on the Main Stem: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “West Side Story,” “The Lehman Trilogy,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Book of Mormon.”
Interestingly, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Book of Mormon” both saw upticks in ticket sales last week, while the acclaimed new revival of “West Side Story” (pictured above) saw a 6% dip, to $1.5 million.