Tourism winds down on Great White Way
With the tourist-heavy spring break season winding down, Broadway grosses dipped last week for most productions on the boardsTotal sales fell a bit more than $2 million to $19.2 million for 35 shows now playing. The slip comes in contrast to the rise logged during the same frame in 2008 — although that year a late Easter, and its attendant box office boost, came during this late-April sesh. Only a few shows registered upticks last week, including “Mary Stuart” ($283, 488) and “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” ($263,799), both up as expected in the wake of the prior frame, during which the two shows accommodated heavily comped press perfs and opening nights. It’s still too early to tell whether strong reviews for the pair, as well as the just-opened and widely praised revival of “The Norman Conquests” (up about $35,000 to $131,402), will translate into strong box office. The hit play of the season, “God of Carnage” ($747,164), rose a bit — with biz sustained in part by the production’s strong tri-state draw, making it less dependent on the cycles of tourism. Also up was “9 to 5″ ($625,252 for seven perfs), in its last full week of previews before it opens Thursday. Despite the overall downward trend, five tuners held onto their spots in the millionaires’ club, including this season’s “West Side Story” ($1,191,832) and “Billy Elliot” ($1,158,560). Disney musicals — “The Lion King” ($1,128,044), “Mary Poppins” ($762,384) and “The Little Mermaid” ($689,228) — took some of the steepest slides, with B.O. reduced in part by the fact that last week kicked off the performances eligible for Disney’s recent offer of $15 companion tickets. “Shrek the Musical” ($693,743), which has thus far proved reliant on tourist influxes, dropped by about $240,000 and played to 68% capacity. Small-scale musical “Next to Normal” ($207,775) slipped slightly, with the show waiting for the recent good reviews — and the likely awards attention — to help attract crowds. In a spring season crowded with plays, seven non-musicals — struggling to stand out in a packed field — fell below the $200,000 mark, including “Irena’s Vow” ($195,899) and “Reasons to Be Pretty” ($104,247).