'God' drops but 'Race' wows
Broadway box office took a breather last week, with drops reported at nearly every Main Stem production in advance of the traditionally bountiful Thanksgiving frame.Big-selling play “God of Carnage” ($497,779) reported the heftiest hit of the week in its first sesh without the original starry cast. In its initial frame with an ensemble that includes Jimmy Smits and Christine Lahti, show saw grosses drop by more than $600,000 following a $1.1 million frame boosted by last-minute biz from auds hoping to catch the original thesps. Attendance fell to 62%. The “Carnage” slide was only the most severe in the general earthward trend that brought total sales down about $1.3 million to $19.6 million for 33 shows on the boards. A couple of straight plays had it particularly rough: “Superior Donuts” ($222,868) and “Oleanna” ($149,424) each played to crowds that averaged less than 45% of capacity. But another nonmusical, new offering “Race” ($519,352), posted unexpectedly robust numbers for a play in its first week of previews. Written and directed by David Mamet and starring James Spader, show played to healthy auds at 85% of capacity. Meanwhile, to no one’s surprise, star-driven plays “A Steady Rain” ($1,170,859) and “Hamlet” ($934,627) held up just fine. Still in its early post-opening weeks, “Ragtime” ($419,359) faltered somewhat, and fellow tuner “Fela!” ($248,610), which opened Monday, also dipped slightly in a week that incorporated heavily comped press perfs. The first full week of the return engagement of “White Christmas” ($534,443) didn’t do spectacular biz, but the musical seems likely to pick up steam with the coming influx of holiday-minded tourists. Overall Broadway attendance slid to 237,391, which is higher than the 215,000 logged during the same frame last year but reps a minor decrease in terms of percentage of capacity from 77% last year to 75% this season.