Broadway box office stays strong

Tony nomination buzz boosts business

Broadway stayed strong last week, with box office kept busy thanks to the late-May kudos buzz and the novelty of the new shows that rushed to open just before the mid-May Tony eligibility.

Total sales rose about $200,000 to $20.9 million, while attendance was up to more than 288,000 theatergoers from 281,000 the previous week.

“Spring Awakening” ($630,745) continued to ride high on its 11 Tony noms, playing to 95% capacity, and “Mary Poppins” ($1,112,236), another best tuner nominee, climbed about $73,000 from the prior frame.

But “Grey Gardens” ($364,963), which racked up ten noms, was down about $20,000 from the prior frame, drawing auds at 70% of capacity, and another top award candidate, “Curtains” ($757,848), fell about $47,000.

Among other tuners, “The Color Purple” ($1,083,679) was up more than $65,000 on the strength of recent cast addition Fantasia, and “Legally Blonde” ($866,237) was up a bit.

Despite the bounty hauled in last weekend at the movie box office by the pirates of the Caribbean variety, the Rialto brigands of “The Pirate Queen” ($516,724) slipped for a second week in a row, sinking more than $80,000.

Biz for plays, meanwhile, was down in general, with a drop of more than $70,000 at “The Year of Magical Thinking” ($318,196) and dips of more than $60,000 each at both “A Moon for the Misbegotten” ($516,113) and “Deuce” ($384,772).

Sales were off to a lesser degree at such non-tuners as “Frost/Nixon” ($469,612), “Inherit the Wind” ($420,199) and the still-struggling “Radio Golf” ($180,509).

Bucking the trend: “Coram Boy” ($370,719), which filled houses to 70% capacity in its final week on the boards.

New tuner “Xanadu” ($122,281) started slowly on its first roll around the Broadway rink. The previewing tuner began perfs May 23 and played five shows before cancelling the Sunday matinee; a rep for the show cited technical difficulties.

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