Post-holiday dropoff hits Broadway

Decline in sales across the board

The traditional post-Labor Day dropoff hit Broadway hard last week, with total receipts falling $3.8 million to $12.5 million for 21 shows on the boards. Attendance dwindled by more than 40,000 to 158,183.

Every production saw sales decline, with three shows — “The Lion King” ($943,947), “Mary Poppins” ($750,678) and “Legally Blonde” ($576,675 — sinking by more than $300,000 each.

The Rialto’s $3.8 million slide isn’t the largest back-to-school stumble the street has taken: In 2002, the same week brought receipts down more than $5 million to $9.1 million. Last year, the frame reduced B.O. to $12.1 million for 20 total shows, a week-to-week slide of $2.9 million.

Annual slowdown is generally attributed to the end of the summer tourism glut, coinciding with the Jewish holidays (coming up later this week and next) and the distractions of the new school year.

Last week “Jersey Boys” ($1,219,366) held the steadiest, falling around $17,500. Every other production was down by around $90,000 or more.

The B.O. lightning of “Grease” ($788,021) finally slowed a bit, with the show down just over $100,000. But with several shows more seriously affected by the doldrums, the revival still muscled its way up to number four in the top ten.

Falling by nearly $300,000 each were “The Color Purple” ($684,612), “Hairspray” ($563,037) and “Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($495,470).

“The Drowsy Chaperone” ($430,666) continued its downward trend, while “A Chorus Line” ($382,716), “Rent” ($380,983), “Chicago” ($337,549) and “Les Miserables” ($314,827) dropped below $400,000. Small-scale tuner “Xanadu” ($246,546) downsized by just about $100,000.

If past years are anything to go by, the September slowdown will likely continue through the month, although there should be some uptick in the coming weeks.

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