UPDATE, 10:20 AM: The Stage reports London ticket prices have tripled in a decade. “The West End’s most expensive tickets have reached a new high of £152.25 ($261.23) after The Book Of Mormon increased its premium seat prices by 20% from last year’s £127,” according to a an annual survey conducted by the UK industry periodical whose results were released in June. “This is more than triple the amount it cost to buy a top-price seat in the West End only 10 years ago, when a record high was reached with a £49 ticket to see The Producers in 2004. Over the same period, house prices in London have increased by around 90%.”
Star power, great reviews and premium tickets worked some fast magic on both sides of the Atlantic this week as the producers of two of the hottest shows in recent seasons announced recoupment.
David Binder, the lead producer of Hedwig And The Angry Inch — the wild rock musical starring Neil Patrick Harris that in June won four Tony Awards, including best revival of a musical — said the show recouped as of last Sunday after 15 weeks (preview performances began on March 29). Harris, also a Tony winner, will be replaced beginning August 20 by Book Of Mormon and Girls star Andrew Rannells. According to the show’s documents, it was capitalized at $5 million.
Since its first performance at the Belasco Theatre, the show has consistently gone SRO and grossed well beyond its published potential of $834,413, while playing a seven performance week (as opposed to the usual eight). Last week the show grossed $1,072,311 before credit card and other deductions, and had, at $148.66, one of Broadway’s top average ticket prices, thanks to premium tickets selling for $450.
Binder also announced, through a spokesman that the production recently donated $100,000 to Hetrick-Martin Institute, the nation’s oldest and largest organization helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The check is part of the ongoing partnership with HMI that was announced in March.
Meanwhile in London, producers Scott Rudin and Robert Fox announced that their revival of David Hare’s Skylight, starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan and staged by Stephen Daldry, had recouped after just five weeks. They declined to say how much the show cost to mount, and declined to comment on whether the production – closing in August after a limited run, will come to Broadway.
London has followed Broadway in instituting premium ticket sales, and tickets to Skylight are going for as much as £158 ($271). In a bit of deja vu, the recoupment echoes almost exactly Fox and Rudin’s experience with the original Broadway transfer of Skylight, starring Michael Gambon and Lia Williams, staged by Richard Eyre; that time, it took all of six weeks to recoup.