On my way to review A Delicate Balance Saturday night, I passed right by Bill Nye the Science Guy, who was queued up to see The Elephant Man at the Booth (Merrick’s condition: unintelligent design.). Nye wasn’t the only one drawn to this well-known play, starring Bradley Cooper: Producers for The Elephant Man posted record-breaking box-office numbers: $966,896 in the week ending Sunday. Apparently, Hollywood names equal big traffic (a fact I can attest to after my Hugh Jackman rant blew up). The Elephant Man hasn’t even opened yet, but if the notices are positive, you can expect the revival to join the million-dollar club—extremely rare for nonmusical shows.
Michael Cera is a movie star, too, but his vehicle—This Is Our Youth—is really struggling. Last week they barely edged above 56 percent audience capacity. You have to wonder if Youth will make it to the end of its limited run on January 4.
In other Broadway box-office news, Rock of Ages posted a closing date of January 18. The ’80s-hair-band jukebox hit had been squatting in Broadway’s smallest house, the Helen Hayes, since 2011, and although they played to nearly 80 percent full houses last week, advance sales must be soft in 2015.
It was a rough week for several hit shows, probably a result of so many fall openings. Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, Once, Les Misérables and If/Then all drew less than 70 percent houses. Sting’s beleaguered The Last Ship continues to drift, with a box-office draw last week of $536,449. Unless those numbers improve by January (a notoriously hard month for Broadway sales), it might just go down.