Why boffo is the best revenge

Forget the lack of noms for Julia Roberts, Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane. When the 2005-06 Broadway season calls it quits, at least two plays — count ‘em, two! — are certain to be counted as winners, not flops, in Variety‘s season-end tally for B.O. winners and losers.

Thanks to the star power of Julia Roberts, “Three Days of Rain” was a virtual sellout at the time of its first preview, with only a few premium seats (at $250 a pop) left to be sold. Its limited 12-week run will gross $11 million-$12 million. Hovering above $110 most weeks, the show’s average ticket price is usually at least $10 ahead of Broadway’s runner-up.

Both “Three Days of Rain” and “The Odd Couple,” starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, have often broken the best weekly cume for Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” which last season set a nonmusical record with its $851,290 tally (Jan. 10-16, 2005). For the week of March 27-April 1, “Rain” beat “Sundays” with its $988,198, playing 8 to Billy’s 7 perfs a week.

The Neil Simon revival had the distinction last June of selling $7 million worth of tix on its first day of sales. By its first preview, the show boasted a $21 million advance.

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