Total take down $2 million for 21 shows

Broadway continued its January decline last week, with total cume down $2 million to $13.9 million for 21 shows on the boards.

Still, a few shows saw upticks, notably “Speed-the-Plow” ($421,987), which rose $87,000 in the first week of perfs with new star William H. Macy, who stepped into the lead role originally occupied by the departed Jeremy Piven (and played over the holidays by Norbert Leo Butz).

The one show to shutter last week, “Spring Awakening” ($715,398), also climbed, seeing a bump of nearly $100,000 in last-chance biz. Other offerings to improve over the prior sesh include “Mary Poppins” ($724,208), “August: Osage County” ($371,917) and the previewing “Hedda Gabler” ($267,727).

Otherwise, sales slid, although none too dramatically. Among newer offerings, “Billy Elliot” ($1,149,587) held on to the number two slot in the top ten, while “Shrek the Musical” ($785,358) played to auds at 73% of capacity.

The sesh’s one new offering, “Soul of Shaolin” ($361,036), attracted houses that were about 92% filled in its first week.

Compared to the same week in prior years, the street-wide cume of $13.9 million is the lowest it’s been since 2005, with an unusually low number of shows running. Last year, for instance, 30 shows brought in $16.3 million, and in 2007 the 27 productions running tallied $14.8 million.

But legiters have long been expecting a particularly chilly January, given the crowd of shows that called it quits this month. Box offices can look forward, in the meantime, to the season heating up again with new offerings, including Will Ferrell’s “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush,” which began previews this week.

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