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‘Blithe’ wraps strong on Broadway

Rialto revenues remain steady

Limited engagements may be wrapping up, leaving several Broadway theaters dark for the summer, but grosses remained stable last week as receipts dipped by only 1% and attendance by 3%. A robust seven shows still populate the millionaires’ club.

Biggest uptick was clocked by “Blithe Spirit,” the hit Noel Coward revival that boosted capacity by a sizable 22% in its final week on the boards. Producers of the revival, which won a featured actress Tony for beloved Broadway vet Angela Lansbury, last week announced the show had recouped its $2.68 million investment.

Closing-week gross was $735,939, bringing the cume for the four-month run to $11.6 million.

Also nearing its closing date, Alan Ayckbourn trilogy “The Norman Conquests” climbed by 10% to total $352,377 for the week, at 93.3% capacity. But while the glowingly reviewed revival has been steadily gathering steam since its April 23 opening, particularly on weekend marathon days, lead producer Sonia Friedman has said the show will not recoup by the time it closes on Sunday.

Another July 26 closing destined to put a hole in grosses in the coming weeks is box office heavyweight “God of Carnage.” However, that SRO hit looks to goose business when it returns from summer hiatus Sept. 8, with original cast Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden intact.

Led by “Wicked” with $1.6 million, “The Lion King,” “Billy Elliot,” “West Side Story,” “Jersey Boys,” “Hair” and “Mamma Mia!” all topped the $1 million mark last week. The largest drops of the frame were for “9 to 5,” down 5% to $662,361 at 66.9% capacity; and “Mary Stuart,” entering the final month of its limited run off by 4%, with $289,900 at 52.9%.

Receipts for the week totaled $19,917,127 for 23 shows on the boards, marginally down from the same frame last season, when 31 shows totaled just under $20.3 million (including “Young Frankenstein” estimates). Attendance was 217,889, down from 247,618 for the 2008-09 season.

While the new season doesn’t fully fire up until Daniel Craig-Hugh Jackman starrer “A Steady Rain” in September, Broadway will get a shot of new blood when dance showcase “Burn the Floor” starts previewing Saturday at the Longacre for an Aug. 2 opening.

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