'Wicked' bewitches Great White Way
By GORDON COXNEW YORK — New Year’s week broke more records on Broadway than you could shake a noisemaker at, with “Wicked” tallying the highest weekly gross ever.The 28 shows on the boards in the frame ending Jan. 1 raked in the highest weekly gross in Rialto history, a walloping $25,230,783. That’s nearly $9.7 million more than the previous week, and more than $3 million above the yield from the same sesh last year. With Gotham full of holiday tourists, the week between Christmas and New Year’s traditionally brings a giant spike in legit biz. More than a dozen shows helped drive up the tally by adding an extra perf for the holiday week. “Wicked” ($1,610,934) posted the highest weekly gross in Broadway history with just its usual eight-show week. And the No. 2 earner, “The Lion King” ($1,455,498), also did its best biz ever with eight. Set to become the longest-running Broadway show in history Jan. 9, “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,266,443) proved it still packs a punch. Playing nine performances during the frame, show reported its highest-grossing week and its best single year, earning almost $39 million in 2005. Also among those breaking house records with nine perfs were “Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($1,407,585), “The Color Purple” ($1,394,446), “Mamma Mia!” ($1,381,821), “Beauty and the Beast” ($1,229,825) and “Doubt” ($603,566). “Color Purple” also touted the fact that its advance had climbed to $16 million. Breaking records at their venues with eight-show weeks were “Jersey Boys” ($975,836), “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” ($573,557) and “Avenue Q” ($553,735). Attendance for the week was 283,923, and the League of American Theaters & Producers reported a total weekly capacity of 93.9%, the second-highest in history.