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That’s Gross: Harvey, or This is Not About the Tonys

So the Tony Awards are over, which means the 2011-2012 theater season is officially behind us. Never fear though – Harvey, the first show of the 2012-2013 season, opens June 14. And while we were spending the last few weeks trying to see every Tony-nominated show before the big event Sunday night, Harvey was doing solid business at the box office.

Since its first performance on May 18, Harvey’s been filling more than 90% of its seats. (At Studio 54, so that’s 1,006 seats a night.) Just last week (ending 6/10/12), Harvey sold 98.4% of those seats. Compared to other theaters around the same size, Harvey filled more seats in the week leading up to the Tony Awards than some of the biggest Tony-nominated shows, including:

  • Other Desert Cities (761 seats per night at 72.5% capacity)
  • Venus in Fur (906 seats per night at 70.9% capacity)
  • One Man, Two Guvnors (975 seats per night at 79% capacity)
  • End of the Rainbow (990 seats per night at 65.6% capacity)
  • Peter and the Starcatcher (1,050 seats per night at 80.2% capacity)
  • Gore Vidal’s The Best Man (1,063 seats per night at 84.5% capacity)
  • The Lyons (1,079 seats per night at 46.9% capacity)

…and the Tony-winning play Clybourne Park (951 seats per night at 77.9% capacity).

And check this out: Harvey had a higher capacity percentage this week than Other Desert Cities, Godspell, The Lyons, A Streetcar Named Desire, End of the Rainbow, The Columnist, Peter and the Starcatcher — and yes, Clybourne Park –- have ever had in their entire runs.

Wait, there’s more: with an average ticket price of $64.14, Harvey is one of the cheapest tickets around (only A Streetcar Named Desire, The Lyons, Godspell, and the Roundabout’s other offering Don’t Dress for Dinner had lower average ticket prices). Yet, that was still enough for Harvey to best all of those aforementioned shows — plus The Columnist, Other Desert Cities, End of the Rainbow, Venus in Fur, and (again) Clybourne Park – in total sales, taking in $443,437. Sure, it’s not Wicked money (that show took in $1,990,184 this week). But its certainly impressive, especially considering the show hasn’t even opened yet.

Now of course, Harvey is a Roundabout Theater show. That means a huge percent of its audience, particularly in the preview period, are probably subscribers. That’s not to say anything for star Jim Parsons, who has a loyal following from his work on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. And as the first show of the 2012-2013 season, there’s always the chance that dedicated theatergoers flooded the show, looking for something new.

But Manhattan Theater Club’s The Columnist is also being staged by a non-for-profit with a huge star (John Lithgow) at the helm. Both shows have roughly the same average ticket prices. Both play to similar crowds. But The Columnist plays a theater (the Samuel J. Friedman) that, at 650 seats per night, has a heck of a lot less spaces to fill than Studio 54. Yet The Columnist has never came close to filling the capacity or making the bank Harvey made this week. Damn!

Harvey may be about a man and his imaginary friend bunny, but you can’t make up the fact that Harvey’s doing consistently strong business. Since it’s a limited run, slated to close August 5, 2012, we’re pretty sure it’ll remain that way.

Grosses are provided courtesy of The Broadway League. Click here to read this week’s complete list of grosses.

More from NineDaves and LovelyLinda can be found on their respective blogs.

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