Broadway Grosses

NEW YORK — After a sales boost that came along with Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, January tightened its icy grip on Broadway box office in Week 35 (Jan. 21-27), with total sales falling around $1.8 million to an estimated $15.6 million for 32 shows on the boards.

Nearly every production saw receipts slide, with “Monty Python’s Spamalot” down more than $200,000 to $591,045, getting hit hardest. The prior frame saw a hefty boost at “Spam” from the initial perfs by replacement star Clay Aiken, but it now appears Claymate biz won’t provide quite the steady sustenance it first seemed it might.

“Legally Blonde” (sinking $168,000 to $500,477) and “Hairspray” (falling $145,000 to $495,500) got caught in the cold as well. “The Lion King” ($944,846), “Mary Poppins” ($771,666), “Mamma Mia!” ($643,751), “Grease” ($518,870), “Curtains” ($430,822) and “Rock ‘n’ Roll” ($327,148) also experienced six-figure drops.

Coming off its recent closing notice, “The Color Purple” ($436,895) continued its post-Fantasia dropoff. “Rent” ($293,766) dipped below the $300,000 mark and “Xanadu” slid to $162,947.

The play “August: Osage County” ($577,926) held up fairly well, losing just 5% of biz from the previous sesh, while another nontuner, “Come Back, Little Sheba” ($149,607) saw the tiniest dip of the frame during its opening week.

In fact, the only shows to see week-to-week gains at the B.O. were three plays: “November” ($478,367, a house record for a play at the Barrymore), “The 39 Steps” ($263,649) and, up just a notch, “A Bronx Tale” ($271,505).

Also adding to the week’s pot were the first five previews of the Roundabout’s revival of “Sunday in the Park With George” ($251,038).

Despite the general downturn, tally was still higher than the $14.7 million for 29 shows reported during the same week last year, and weekly attendance was up from 2007 (about 201,000 vs. 195,000) — and the 2008 tally doesn’t include the unreported attendance at “Young Frankenstein” (estimated $1.19 million).

The 23 musicals grossed $11,380,456 ($12,570,456 estimated) for 78.8% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 152,374 at 74.2% capacity and average paid admission of $74.69.

The eight plays grossed $3,070,620 for 21.2% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 48,574 at 74.6% capacity and average paid admission of $63.22.

Average paid admission was $71.91 for all shows.

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