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‘Purlie Victorious’ sees boost in opening week as Broadway box office remains steady

For the week ending Oct. 1, the 26 currently running shows grossed $23,116,749.

Leslie Odom, Jr. as the titular character in the 2023 Broadway revival of “Purlie Victorious” (Credit: Marc J. Franklin) 

The final week of September 2023 was a favorable one for the initial revivals of the season. “Purlie Victorious,” the first revival of Ossie Davis’ 1961 play, marked a box-office increase of $98,733, earning $358,336 compared to the prior week’s $259,603. Attendance increased, although only slightly — up to 73.1% over the previous week’s 70.6%. The production, which opened on Sept. 27 and stars Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr., earned raves.

On the musical-revival front, the first Broadway remount of “Merrily We Roll Along” grossed $1,471,644 — up $167,136 from the week prior. The show played one more performance than the previous week — seven, up from six. “Merrily” broke the Hudson Theatre’s house box office record for a seven-performance week, grossing $1,471,644. The record was previously held by “American Utopia.” Last week, “Merrily” broke the house record for a six-performance week. The production is currently in previews and will officially open on Oct. 10.

The full Broadway box office saw a slight increase: $23,116,749 over last week’s $22,442,339 (a 3% bump). The number of productions remained the same between the two weeks: 26.

Attendance held steady. For the week ending Oct. 1, attendance clocked in at 199,458; last week, attendance totaled 198,785. The average ticket price across the 26 currently running productions was $115.90.

The three top earners were “The Lion King ($1,923,264), “Hamilton” ($1,776,084) and “Sweeney Todd” ($1,504,071). These are the same top three as the previous week.

Six other musicals grossed more than $1 million: “Aladdin,” “Back to the Future,” “Merrily,” “MJ,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “Wicked.”

Aside from “Purlie Victorious,” “Wicked” saw the greatest individual box office increase. The Oz-set musical — which will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Oct. 30 — saw a bump of $98,408 over the prior week.

A few shows dipped at the box office, most notably “Here Lies Love,” which saw a decrease of $56,186.

In terms of attendance, eight shows played to more than 90% capacity: “Aladdin,” “Hamilton,” “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Book of Mormon,” “The Lion King” and “Merrily” (which sold out at 100%).

On the other end of the spectrum, four shows saw houses filled to less than 70% capacity: “A Beautiful Noise,” “Here Lies Love,” “The Shark Is Broken” and “Some Like It Hot.”

Last week, “Some Like It Hot” posted a closing date of Dec. 30; “A Beautiful Noise” announced the impending exit of its star, Will Swenson.

“Melissa Etheridge: My Window” has welcomed middling crowds: 80.2% capacity for the week ending Oct. 1, a decrease of 9.2% from the previous week. Despite a generally warm reception, the autobiographical show written by and starring the Grammy-winning artist, has also struggled at the box office. It was down $20,630 from the previous week, totaling $179,113. “My Window” opened on Sept. 28.

Three shows remained in previews: “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” “Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” and “Merrily.”