'Billy Elliot' dances to second spot
The big green ogre raked in the green in last week — just as green started to regrow at the Broadway box office in general.
“Shrek the Musical” pulled in $169,720 for just one preview perf, with attendance hitting about 94% of capacity. That’s an encouraging sign, but it’s not uncommon for demand to be high for the first perfs of a brand new mega-musical. True test of its drawing power will come in the next few weeks.
Speaking of big-budget new musicals, “Billy Elliot” ($1,074,139) muscled its way up into the number two spot in the top 10, just barely ahead of “Jersey Boys” ($1,074,054) but behind “Wicked” ($1,363,108). Rialto production of the London hit, which opens Thursday, played to auds averaging 90% of capacity.
All along the Main Stem sales were up, with total receipts climbing about $1.5 million to $17.2 million for 31 shows on the boards (or $17.8 million including estimates for “Young Frankenstein”).
The leap is partly explained by the particularly rough week the Rialto endured the prior frame, during which a slew of non-legit events (including Halloween and the Gotham marathon) distracted attention from Broadway.
Rise also comes even in the wake of the daylight-saving time change, which often immediately precedes a dip in weekly sales — although some legiters are saying last week’s strong box office may finally put to rest what they consider to be the urban myth of the causal link between the two.
Two Disney shows logged the largest bumps of the weeks, with “The Little Mermaid” ($797,754) rising nearly $200,000 and “Mary Poppins” ($686,993) up nearly $150,000. “In the Heights” ($778,208) and “Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($521,003) also climbed by six figures.
“Billy” was up nearly $90,000, as was the much smaller-scale tuner “13” ($290,270).
The fall’s starry revivals continued to do strong biz, with “All My Sons” ($700,916) leading a pack that includes “Equus” ($515,312), “Speed-the-Plow” ($512,397) and “The Seagull” ($505,477).
Among other previewing shows, “American Buffalo” ($205,473) hasn’t yet picked up much momentum, while the Lincoln Center Theater presentation of “Dividing the Estate” brought in $210,786.
Meanwhile, in its final week on the boards, the tuner version of “A Tale of Two Cities” ($334,069) played to houses that were less than half full.