NEW YORK — Weekly sales at most Broadway shows slipped in Week 44 (March 23-29) — although the overall cume held fairly steady, thanks to big gains by two strong-selling new offerings.“God of Carnage” ($641,100) began to reap the bounty of the good press it received after its March 22 opening, with receipts jumping a robust 50% — and landing “God” just ahead of another well-reviewed spring play offering, “Blithe Spirit” ($624,768). Both tallies are not quite at the stop-the-presses levels of a megahit play like Will Ferrell’s recent smash “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W Bush,” but for nonmusicals, they’re still plenty high enough to make producers happy. Also gaining ground last week was “West Side Story” ($1,169,572), which, having gotten its comped opening night out of the way the prior sesh, rose $165,000 to climb past “Billy Elliot” ($1,146,55) for the No. 2 spot on the top 10, behind “Wicked” ($1,413,721). Elsewhere along the Rialto, sales slowed a bit, but not too drastically, with individual dips ranging from a few thousand (at “South Pacific,” pulling in $882,694) to around $60,000, (at, among others, “Shrek the Musical,” logging $668,268). As for the raft of new play productions, it’s too soon to know how much of a box office bump the strong reception for “Exit the King” ($367,738) will yield, with the coming frames looking likely to show gains. Play “33 Variations” ($304,731) fell off, as did “Impressionism” ($289,057), although the latter hosted press perfs and its opening night in Week 43, as did “Irena’s Vow” ($181,727). “Reasons to Be Pretty” ($121,628) continued its struggle to attract auds, playing to 42% capacity. Among the Main Stem’s previewing tuners, “Hair” ($652,858) heads into its opening week with solid numbers — just ahead of “Guys and Dolls” ($645,380) — while the Broadway incarnation of “Next to Normal” ($124,187) joined the fray, playing its first four previews. Total cume slipped about $270,000 to $17.1 million for 29 shows on the boards. The 18 musicals grossed $13,718,401 for 80.1% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 176,649 at 91.7% capacity and average paid admission of $77.66. The 12 plays grossed $3,401,536 for 19.9% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 58,943 at 66% capacity and average paid admission of $57.71. Average paid admission was $72.67 for all shows.
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