Broadway B.O. takes a tumble

The crush of holiday parties and last-minute shopping plus the threat of a transit strike over the weekend ate into the Broadway box office landscape last week, with total grosses sinking by almost $2 million for a $17,216,722 tally.

The season remains relatively healthy, however, with seven shows playing to capacity or near-capacity: “Wicked,” “The Lion King,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “Mamma Mia!,” “The Color Purple,” “The Odd Couple” and “Jersey Boys.”

Of the 31 shows currently on the boards, only “The Color Purple” ($992,496) scored a significant increase of $123,377. The Oprah Winfrey presentation registered 97.5% attendance for the period, making it the week’s fifth-highest earner and pushing its cume toward the $5 million mark for 20 perfs.

Continuing to benefit from the increased media profile of the film release, “Rent” ($551,224) saw a more modest bump-up of $16,262. Cume is nudging $215 million as the “La Boheme” update approaches its 10th anniversary on Broadway.

While attention also was focused on “The Producers” ($833,744) due to the Universal film release, that show posted a slight drop of $67,299.

Declining grosses were registered almost across the board, with the steepest dips shown by “The Light in the Piazza,” down by $115,790; “The Woman in White,” off $145,488; and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” down $150,228.

In their first full week of performances, newcomers “A Touch of the Poet” ($290,264) and “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life” ($260,813) showed only modest B.O. traction.

Rialto openings now take a hiatus for the holidays. The next crop of new shows isn’t scheduled to open until February, with “Barefoot in the Park,” “Rabbit Hole” and “The Pajama Game.”

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