N.Y. legit receipts soar to $12.5 million

Thanksgiving brought a near-record bounty to N.Y. legit last week, sending receipts soaring to $12.5 million, the second-largest weekly gross in Broadway history.

Receipts for the 29 Broadway pro-ductions for the week of Nov. 24-30 totaled $12,521,449, a 4% increase over last year’s Thanksgiving week tally of $12,073,107.

This year’s total was second only to the 1996 Christmas week (Dec. 23-29), when the limited run of David Cop-perfield’s mega-selling magic show inflated the total by $1,315,753 to $13,926,935. The Copperfield show also added $1.3 million to last year’s Thanksgiving week total.

Leading the holiday charge this year was Disney’s “The Lion King,” outgrossing every other show on the Broadway roster with a powerful take of $810,968. The Julie Taymor-directed tuner was SRO with an attendance of 14,088.

Thanksgiving week traditionally is a financial high point of the legit season, annually battling New Year’s week and the spring opening period as Broadway’s most profitable. This year’s Thanksgiving week tally marked a 26% increase over the previous week’s $9,964,755 total (Nov. 17-23).

“Lion King” wasn’t the only show to sell out. Also at SRO levels were “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk” ($449,367), “Chicago” ($692,148), “Rent” ($566,835) and “Titanic” ($740,462). Essentially selling out (minus some comp seats) were Broadway’s long-runners “Grease” ($465,528), “Les Miser-ables” ($612,934), “Miss Saigon” ($648,420) and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($774,412).

“Jekyll & Hyde” and “Beauty and the Beast” continued their strong performances, with “Jekyll” nabbing $512,872 and “Beauty” taking $714,866. “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” defying some of the most vicious reviews in years, hit its crowd-pleasing stride with receipts of $638,732, selling 80% of its tickets.

Not every show fared so well. “Proposals,” the new Neil Simon play, was the sole Broadway production to drop in receipts from the previous week (down $7,505 to $214,507). “Jackie: An American Life,” a satirical look at Jackie O, sold a meager 31% of its tickets, netting only $109,045 of a potential $408,898.

Although “Street Corner Sym-phony” sold 73% of its tickets, the cut-rate average ticket price was a mere $24.63, netting the musical revue a modest $111,859 of a potential $352,712.

In previews were “The Diary of Anne Frank” (taking $232,108 of a potential $411,747); the subscription-heavy Roundabout Theater production of “A View From the Bridge” ($110,282 of $219,560); and the Tony Randall-Jack Klugman starrer “The Sunshine Boys” ($77,073 for four preview performances).

Rounding out the Broadway slate were “Cats” ($555,915 of a potential $717,669); “Forever Tango” ($304,057 of $459,477); “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” ($405,292 of $712,721); “Ivanov” ($290,240 of $385,980 for seven performances); “The King and I” ($554,578 of $605,497); “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” ($210,655 of $259,695); “The Life” ($417,949 of $550,705); “The Old Neighborhood” ($213,876 of $267,339); “Side Show” ($333,897 of $504,135); “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” ($477,076 of $611,820); and “Triumph of Love” ($275,768 of $518,538).

(Carol Diuguid contributed to this report.)

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