Biz slides; ‘Blonde’ ambitious

Broadway Grosses

NEW YORK — Broadway grosses slid over Week 49 (April 30-May 6), but a handful of shows still managed to gain momentum in the countdown to the Tony noms on May 15.

“Legally Blonde” ($755,967) may have garnered mixed reviews, but sales were still up by nearly $150,000 after its opening week, even taking into account comps for second-night press perfs. Tally was enough to land the tuner, which played to auds at 97% of capacity, in the top 10 just behind another recently opened musical, “Curtains” ($767,349).

In the wake of strong press, particularly for the acting, “Frost/Nixon” ($417,471) racked up its best total so far, although its crowds of about 64% capacity could benefit from the boost that might come with lead thesp Frank Langella’s likely Tony nom.

Also among the productions climbing this week were “The Phantom of the Opera” ($752,027), “The Year of Magical Thinking” ($424,452) and the struggling “Company” ($222,411), as was “The Coast of Utopia” ($564,505) in its second-to-last week on the boards.

Total grosses for the Rialto, however, were down about $850,000 to around $19.5 million.

“Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($675,543) and “Les Miserables” ($526,223) both saw declines in the low six figures, and “110 in the Shade” ($203,868) also fell by around $100,000 due to three performances canceled because of a death in star Audra McDonald’s family.

“A Moon for the Misbegotten” ($532,707) and “Hairspray” ($526,903) both fell by more than $75,000, and “Tarzan” dipped down to $481,165.

“The Color Purple” ($885,941), whose new star Fantasia caused a giant B.O. bump when she first started perfs, slid by around $60,000. “The Pirate Queen” ($628,680) continued a slow decline, this week falling by more than $25,000.

Now that “Deuce” ($397,044) is open as of Sunday, only two previewing productions have yet to bow before the Tony eligibility cutoff May 9: “110 in the Shade” and “Radio Golf” ($136,284). Low-grossing “Golf” can join other underperformers — among them “Coram Boy” ($214,051), “Talk Radio” ($210,776) and “Journey’s End” ($111,804) — in hoping for a little sales-lifting Tony love next week.

The 27 musicals grossed $16,517,594 for 84.5% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 222,896 at 80.1% capacity.

The 9 plays grossed $3,030,877 for 15.5% for the Broadway total, with attendance 45,162 at 61.7% capacity.

Average paid admission was $74.10 for musicals, $67.11for plays and $72.93 for all shows.

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