Tony buzz fuels Broadway

Broadway Grosses

NEW YORK — The 2008 Tony winners showed strong momentum at the box office in Week 3 (June 9-15) — and that was before they collected their trophies.

Logging the two largest gains of the week were “In the Heights” ($803,125) and “August: Osage County” ($518,693), the winners of the awards for top tuner and play, respectively. Those shows posted the only six-figure boosts of the sesh, and in percentage terms, the 29% increase for “August” was the highest of the frame.

Meanwhile, play revival winner “Boeing-Boeing” ($429,944) broke the house record at the Longacre Theater, while top musical revival “South Pacific” ($785,862) played to nearly full houses.

That tally for “August” — which picked up five laurels — was helped along by the fact that last week was the last chance to catch perfs from five cast members, including Tony winners Deanna Dunagan (lead actress) and Rondi Reed (featured actress), who played their final shows in the production that week.

It also seems likely that recent press attention during the run-up to the Tony ceremony helped fuel sales for the nominees as traffic began to pick up for the summer, with total attendance climbing more than 10,000 to 261,051.

All along the Rialto, the majority of shows saw sales grow. Total cume rose more than $800,000 to around $19.1 million for 34 shows reporting.

“Gypsy” ($773,236) — which picked up the three thesping honors for which it was nommed — climbed nearly $70,000. Musical “Passing Strange” ($271,947), the seven-time nominee that nabbed the kudo for book, stepped up by almost $60,000, a 28% increase in biz, while Laurence Fishburne solo show “Thurgood” ($282,125) was up by more than $55,000.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” ($736,414), a strong-selling revival that the Tony noms overlooked, stepped over the $700,000 mark in its penultimate week on the boards. Show, consistently the top-grossing play on the Rialto since it began perfs in February, will end its limited run on June 22.

Up around $30,000, “Legally Blonde” ($623,515) maintained the level of biz it attained the prior frame, when reality TV recasting skein “Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods” began airing on MTV.

Among the handful of productions to experience minor dips at the box office, “A Catered Affair” ($378,899), “Spring Awakening” ($344,146) and “The Country Girl” ($316,305) slipped around $30,000 each.

The 26 musicals grossed $15,724,957 ($16,624,957 estimated) for 82.5% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 210,851 at 80.7% capacity and average paid admission of $74.58.

The nine plays grossed $3,334,137 for 17.5% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 50,200 at 75.1% capacity and average paid admission of $66.42.

Average paid admission was $73.01 for all shows.

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