B’way on the March

Admissions, grosses up; 'Art' houses SRO

NEW YORK — The Ides of March were little cause for concern for Broadway, with the news that last week’s attendance was up a moderate 3%, to 236,564 admissions, from 226,857 the previous week. Gross receipts were up 4.5%, to $11,074,725, from $10,691,521 the previous round.

“Art,” the smash London play about a work of art that incinerates three friendships, raked in an increase of $28,457 in receipts last week to gross $367,781. It’s playing to SRO crowds at the Royale Theater.

High ‘Rent’

The highest average ticket price on Broadway ($59.66 a seat) has done little to hurt Livent’s “Ragtime,” which played to 97% capacity at the Ford Theater, and increased its take last week by $10,134, grossing $840,257.

Proving that the $10 and $17 tickets are still much in demand, the John Leguizamo one-man show “Freak” posted a modest increase of $2,758, playing to 96% capacity at the Cort Theater.

The cheaper ticket initiative is something “Rent” will try this fall, too, when the start of the school year and vacationing suburbanites conspire to keep theater attendance numbers lower than the SRO crowds the show attracted last week: For March 9-15, the Pulitzer Prize-winner saw gross receipts edge down $4,019, grossing $550,263. “Rent” producer Jeffrey Sellers is reducing 112 seats from $75 to $35 in September.

‘Music’ takes a hit

“The Sound of Music” opened at the Martin Beck Theater last week and experienced the largest drop in gross receipts, $15,039, to $408,897. Still, the show is playing to 96% capacity, so the decrease is likely attributable to scores of complimentary tickets during opening week that drive down receipts.

Also experiencing a drop is “Miss Saigon,” which saw gross receipts drop $10,283 to $475,684 last week.

“The Sunshine Boys,” apparently is running out of steam, having dropped $4,555 in gross receipts to $156,724. The show, at the Lyceum Theater, was playing to 53% capacity — the lowest on Broadway this week. Sources at the show could not confirm late Monday if it was reaching its break-even point.

There also was a moderate increase in business for many Broadway veterans. “The Phantom of the Opera” posted gains of $77,252, to gross $700,170. “Cats” leapt $66,188 last week, to $401,255. And “Les Miserables” posted a respectable $43,926 increase to gross $518,938.

But while “Phantom” played to SRO crowds and “Les Miz” to 95%, “Cats” was at 78% capacity.

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