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‘Merrily We Roll Along’ dominates in first week of previews as overall Broadway box office holds

For the week ending Sept. 24, the 26 currently running shows grossed $22,442,339.

(L-R) Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez in the 2022 Off-Broadway mounting of “Merrily We Roll Along” (Credit: Joan Marcus) 

During its first week of Broadway performances, the first revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s “Merrily We Roll Along” grossed $1,304,508 and played to 100% capacity across six previews. The mounting began its run on Sept. 19. According to a representative for the production, “Merrily” broke the house record for a six-performance week at the Hudson Theatre, besting the record previously held by “American Utopia” ($1.18 million over six shows).

Likewise, the overall Broadway box office saw a bump totaling $22,442,339 — grossing 3.7% more than last week’s $21,640,927. That said, 19 of the 26 running productions saw decreases in their individual box office totals.

Throughout Broadway, attendance was down. Across 26 productions, 198,785 attendees took in a show (down 2.1% from last week’s 203,025). Broadway was filled to 84.4% capacity across all shows, down 6.7% from last week’s 91.1% capacity.

In terms of individual productions, the top-three earners for the week ending Sept. 24 were “The Lion King” ($1,911,026), “Hamilton” ($1,744,838) and “Sweeney Todd” ($1,530,903).

Six other musicals grossed more than $1 million: “Aladdin,” “Back to the Future,” “Merrily,” “MJ,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “Wicked.” With the exception of “Merrily,” each of these titles played a full eight-performance week.

While “Merrily” played to 100% capacity, seven other shows played to 90% or greater: “Aladdin,” “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” “Hamilton,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “The Lion King,” “The Book of Mormon” and “Sweeney Todd.”

Even though “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” played to 96.1% capacity over seven previews, the Manhattan Theatre Club production brought in only $180,008. Still, that is an increase over the $165,345 the play grossed for the week ending Sept. 17.

Similarly, “Melissa Etheridge: My Window” played to 89.3% capacity over five previews and grossed $199,743. Likewise, this is an uptick from the $184,162 for the week ending Sept. 17.

Three other productions grossed less than $500,000: “Purlie Victorious” (which is still in previews), “The Cottage” and “The Shark Is Broken.” “The Cottage” is set to end its limited run on Oct. 29, while “The Shark Is Broken” will close as planned on Nov. 19.

While these productions may have struggled at the cash register, two others were challenged to fill seats: “A Beautiful Noise” played to 68.2% capacity while “Some Like It Hot” played to 61.4%. (“A Beautiful Noise” managed to gross $891,388; “Some Like It Hot” took in $681,485.)

The grosses for the week ending Sept. 24 are demonstrative of two poles of Broadway currently: Nine out of 26 currently running productions grossed more than $1 million, while five did not break half a million.

Five shows remained in previews: “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” “Melissa Etheridge: My Window,” “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Purlie Victorious.”