The party is over at the Shubert Theater.
“Hello,Dolly!” without Bette Midler has fallen back to Earth at the box office.
The show averaged $2.4 million a week under Midler’s spell from last March through this past January 14th. That’s when Midler left and Bernadette Peters came in to succeed her.
During Midler’s run people were paying astronomical amounts for seats from secondary brokers. The top price on the regular market was over $800.
Now “Dolly!” can be had for a song. Last week, the average ticket cost $103.56. The week’s take was just $1.1 million– $300,000 short of sold out. The show itself was the 9th highest grossing musical, dropping behind “Come from Away” and “Waitress.” How the might have fallen!
It’s not clear how long Peters will stay– I’ll bet she’s great. But there is talk that when she’s done, Audra McDonald might be the next Dolly Levi. That would be a swell twist for producer Scott Rudin, whose ill-fated “Shuffle Along” McDonald starred in until she became pregnant and had to leave that show before it closed in a heap.
McDonald would also be carrying the torch for Pearl Bailey, who legendarily fronted an all black production of the show in the 60s for David Merrick when Carol Channing left the show. Of course, McDonald now would star in a multi-cultural cast.