Home Theater Broadway: “Hello, Dolly!” Without Bette Midler Crashes at Box Office, Falls Below...

Well, now we know what Bette Midler’s contribution to “Hello, Dolly!” is financially. Last week, with Midler gone and the great Donna Murphy replacing her, box office receipts for the Tony winning revival dropped bigly.

The show was down $1.7 million from the prior week, and fell to $936K. There was a potential to sell $1.5 million worth of tickets. Seating capacity was down by 25 percent. Ouch!

Producer Scott Rudin must have factored in Midler’s leaves of absence, but this has to sting. The formerly Divine Miss M doesn’t return until July 9th. She has more breaks coming at the end of the summer and in the fall.

Tickets for “Hello, Dolly!” averaged $106.31 during Murphy’s run–waaaay down from $499-$799 Rudin gets when Midler’s on stage.

The irony is that Murphy is probably excellent. (I wouldn’t know. There haven’t been press tickets for this column. Or many others.)

And this points up the problem of what happens when Midler finally calls it quits– by the end of the year. Rudin is already facing that problem with his other show, “A Doll’s House, Pt. 2.” The stars– Laurie Metcalf and Chris Cooper– already exiting in the next two weeks. (Tony season’s over, gotta get back to film and TV.) Metcalf is being replaced by Broadway star Julie White, but receipts are going to drop like a rock. When Midler finally leaves, we may be singing “Goodbye, Dolly!”

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