'Spamalot' surges in post-holiday upswing
After a rough post-holiday frame that saw receipts plummet, Broadway sales got a welcome uptick last week. Grosses rose by about $700,000 to an estimated $17.5 million for 31 shows on the boards — a tally that also compares favorably with the $14.7 million for 28 shows reported over the same week last year.One of the largest week-to-week gains was seen by “Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($797,390), which looks to have benefited from the debut Jan. 18 of “American Idol” alum Clay Aiken. Both “Spamalot” and “Legally Blonde” ($668,409), seemingly correcting a bit after steep dips the prior sesh, rose by $138,000 each. Up about $88,000, “The Color Purple” ($477,153) began to climb back up from the major slide it took in the wake of star Fantasia’s recent departure. “Hairspray” ($640,692) rose by about the same amount. The January doldrums didn’t much chill the usual slate of top performers, officially led by “Wicked” ($1,371,768) and “Jersey Boys” ($1,157,164) as estimates for “Young Frankenstein” dipped to $1.26 million. Clumped together in the top 10, all three Disney offerings stayed strong, with newly opened tuner “The Little Mermaid” ($950,655) not quite hitting the same highs as long-runner “The Lion King” ($1,050,324). “August: Osage County” ($609,017) continued to log the heftiest totals of the many plays now running, although “Rock ‘n’ Roll” ($437,824) and “November” ($415,166) also reported relatively healthy numbers for nontuners. Long-runner “Rent” ($333,226) got a bump last week, during which the show announced a closing date of June 1, while the profitable run of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” ($282,053) played its final perf Sunday.