Box Office Record For Broadway Show Broken By Lea Michele’s “Funny Girl”

Funny Girl,’ Starring Lea Michele, Breaks New House Record

Box office records for the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway were broken by the production of Funny Girl, starring Lea Michele, in the weeks preceding the lucrative holiday weeks.

Last week’s eight performances of the revival earned just over $2 million, a record for the show. After Beanie Feldstein left the revival in September, Michele was brought in to help bring in more money for the faltering production.

Since Michele’s September 6th addition to the cast, Funny Girl’s weekly earnings have increased from the modest levels seen in the spring and the steep decline to less than $1 million seen over the summer, to an impressive $1.6 million.

In 2018, the August Wilson Theatre’s highest-grossing show was Mean Girls, which ran from March until its closure and brought in a total of $1.99 million.

With a 96 percent capacity and an average ticket price of $213.28, Funny Girl recently broke a box office record. The Music Man continued its reign as the highest-grossing show of the week, bringing in $3.25 million, thanks in large part to its $267.99 average ticket price.

Box Office Record For Broadway Show Broken By Lea Michele's Funny Girl

Another show that really stood out in the week ending December 18 was the new play Ain’t No Mo’, which saw its earnings triple to $499,303 from $164,592 the previous week, and it also played to 93% of its available seats.

Fans responded positively after creator Jordan E. Cooper launched a campaign to save the show from cancellation and received support from A-listers like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith,

Tyler Perry, Shonda Rhimes, Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade, Queen Latifah, and Sara Ramirez, all bought out performances. The show was originally scheduled to end on December 18, but it has since been extended through December 23.

The Lion King, Wicked, and Hamilton all continue to bring in sizable sums at the box office, with The Lion King grossing $2.4 million, Wicked bringing in $2.2 million, and Hamilton bringing in $2.3 million. After 35 years in business, Phantom has decided to stay open until April due to overwhelming fan demand.

Topdog/Underdog, starring Corey Hawkins and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, grossed $257,217 last week and played to only 52 percent capacity, continuing a pattern that has persisted for several weeks. Playing to only 68% of its capacity, Almost Famous grossed only $703,714 in its final week before closing on January 8th, a drop of about $61,000 from the previous week.

A rise in omicron cases among cast and company members last December led to the cancellation of dozens of performances across the industry and the permanent closure of some shows, so these grosses are still a welcome reprieve. In the coming weeks, those closest to Christmas and New Year’s Eve typically bring in the highest gross totals of the season.

The ‘Funny Girl

Having not performed on Broadway in over a decade, Michele recalled her elation upon hearing the news that she had landed the role.

A funny thing happened on the way to me getting the part: a call from my agents. Honestly, I had no idea. Michele said, “I was sitting out at Bubby’s with my child, feeding him buttered pasta and broccoli.

The 'Funny Girl

And then my agents called and said, ‘You are going to be Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.’ And as I raised my head, I began to sob uncontrollably, thinking, “Oh my God.”

The musical “Funny Girl” is loosely based on Broadway star Fanny Brice’s life and career, including their tumultuous relationship. Barbra Streisand, in 1964, and Beanie Feldstein, in 2022, were just two of the many Broadway greats who had previously played Brice.

Some of the songs featured in the musical are “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “People,” and “I’m the Greatest Star.”Those who have seen Michele’s production of the musical have praised her performance as Brice, saying that she breathes new life into the show.

According to a review of the “Funny Girl” revival starring Michele, the actress brought the show what it lacked: “charisma, astonishing vocals, and assuredness – not to mention a killer fan base.”

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To paraphrase, “Michele is able to separate herself sufficiently from Streisand’s phrasing to take ownership of, or at least to become a savvy caretaker of, the material.”

Final Words

According to the latest figures from the Broadway League, the August Wilson Theatre made a whopping $1,639,212 from ticket sales last week. According to Deadline, these numbers represent a substantial increase from the previous week’s tally of $659,874. Last spring, when drama queen Beanie Feldstein was at the helm, the musical reportedly pulled in an all-time high of $1.3 million.

Michele has been removed from the Michael Mayer-directed production for ten days after only playing four performances (including her opening night last Tuesday) due to a positive COVID test. The 36-year-old nominee for the Golden Globes announced on social media that she is unable to perform.

“I’m devastated to say that due to early signs and symptoms of COVID and an inconclusive test result—due to the production’s safety protocols I’m not allowed to perform for today’s shows,” Michele wrote in an Instagram story on Saturday.

“I will be testing again, and I will soon know more about tomorrow’s performance,” she continued. Feldstein reportedly contracted the illness in June, and she announced it in an Instagram video saying she would be “out of the show for a little while to keep everybody safe.”

Since the revival began, the understudy, Julie Benko, has been receiving rave reviews and has been cast to play the role on Thursdays. Because Michele was sick, she had to fill in for her on three-weekend shows.

Author

  • Karan Sirari

    I am an author and a public speaker. I was born in India and have travelled to many different countries. I have a masters in public communication from California University and I love to write about famous peoples from different industries.

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