B.O. sales down as audiences feel N.Y. 'Burn'
The late-summer heat and humidity made all of New York sluggish last week — and Broadway sales were no exception.Nearly every show on the boards posted losses, with the only two exceptions — “The Little Mermaid” ($1,212,777), up just a bit, and “Avenue Q” ($454,132), climbing by around $25,000 — benefiting from last-minute sales as they head into their final weeks on the boards. Steepest decline of the frame came from “Burn the Floor” ($426,308), which eased nearly $240,000 after sales soared the prior sesh. Drop suggests that Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the “Dancing With the Stars” hoofers who toplined the production until Aug. 16, drove a significant chunk of sales. (“So You Think You Can Dance” alums Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev began their own stint in the show Aug. 18.) Dips at individual productions ranged from the hefty — at, for instance, “The Phantom of the Opera” ($969,210), “Shrek the Musical” ($857,449) and “9 to 5” ($589,453), all down by around 10% each — to the barely noticeable. A couple of tuners, “Phantom” and “Mary Poppins” ($952,564), fell out of the millionaires’ club, leaving eight that logged sales of more than $1 million each. Rialto cume slid to $17.9 million, down around $1.5 million for 20 shows currently playing. Attendance dropped from 206,000 to about 192,000. That’s quite a bit lower than the 230,000 attendance recorded last year at about this time, although in terms of the percentage of Rialto capacity, the frame comes in at 90% vs. the 84% logged in 2008. Sales will likely continue to slip over the next couple of weeks as summer tourism dwindles, with a major dropoff expected in the annual post-Labor Day slump.