Neil Patrick Harris can officially consider himself one of Broadway’s biggest draws after finishing his run in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Harris concluded his run in the show on August 17, which resulted in the show’s highest weekly gross — $1,139,903, with a paid admission average of $158.83, another weekly record for the production. The production grossed over one million dollars in each of the final eleven weeks of Harris’ twenty-week run. The prior nine weeks were also major successes, with only two weeks grossing less than $800,000 and the average ticket price never dropping below $100 (all figures are from The Broadway League).
Since Hedwig recouped its initial $5 million investment in early July (source), it was an easy decision for producers to try to keep the production going after Harris’ departure. However, last week’s box office figures, which marked the debut of The Book of Mormon and Girls star Andrew Rannells as Hedwig, saw a steep decline. Last week’s seven performances of Hedwig starring Rannells grossed $648,738, a drop of 43% in gross from Harris’ last week. At 87.6% capacity, it also was the first week that Hedwig didn’t sell out at above 100% capacity since the second week of previews. The average ticket price remained above $100 ($105.06), but the average ticket price dropped by one-third from the week prior.
Obviously producers didn’t expect Rannells to have the same drawing power as Harris when they decided to cast him in the role, but producers are hoping that the production remains popular (and more important, profitable) through Hedwig‘s set closing date, which is October 12. Since the show has already turned a profit the production isn’t in danger of closing early unless grosses drop below the weekly operating costs — which are certainly much lower than $648,000 a week.