Box Office favors newbies

Broadway Grosses

NEW YORK — Broadway sales slipped a bit in Week 45 (March 30-April 5), with a few newly minted hot tickets gaining momentum while most offerings saw box office dips.

Biggest gain of the week was posted by “Exit the King” ($452,483), up by nearly $85,000 in the wake of strong reviews for the Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon starrer. The strong-selling new revival of “West Side Story” ($1,234,652) and the starry, well-reviewed play “God of Carnage” ($698,882) also were among the shows that climbed, as was the fluctuating “Shrek the Musical” ($747,110).

Two previewing productions, tuner “Next to Normal” ($206,466) and play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” ($165,282), gained a bit of steam, while “Impressionism” ($324,501) rose somewhat in the week after its heavily comped opening frame.

Also up was “Rock of Ages” ($284,199), despite the press tickets accommodated in the weekend leading up to its opening.

Otherwise, sales generally slipped, although few individual declines were more than $50,000. Perhaps most notably, “Guys and Dolls” ($517,608) fell off by $125,000, following a few weeks of solid numbers in the $600,000 range.

“Hair” ($607,012) was down in its opening week, but those figures seem likely to rise following positive reviews and reports of strengthening advance sales. The other show to open in Week 45, “Reasons to Be Pretty” ($120,597), barely diminished, with the underperforming play hoping to snowball now that the press has weighed in favorably.

Meanwhile, two new productions added coin to the Rialto pot, with the Roundabout’s revival of “Waiting for Godot” ($204,485), starring Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin, playing to an impressive 92% of capacity. London hit “Mary Stuart” ($146,353 for seven perfs) started more slowly, attracting crowds at 40%.

Overall Broadway cume slipped about $170,000 to around $17 million for 30 shows on the boards.

These springtime frames have in the past been subject to more dramatic ups and downs. But legiters speculate that the vagaries of academic scheduling mean that sales-driving spring breaks are more staggered this year than in prior seasons — thereby keeping grosses on a more even keel.

The 17 musicals grossed $13,570,905 for 80.1% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 172,752 at 86.6% capacity and average paid admission of $78.56.

The 12 plays grossed $3,380,350 for 19.9% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 54,613 at 56.7% capacity and average paid admission of $61.90.

Average paid admission was $74.56 for all shows.

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