Fresh blood boosts Broadway

'Rain' tops $1 mil mark while 'Donuts' opens strong

Broadway maintained its momentum last week, with a slew of new productions in previews, plus some major openers. Total grosses climbed to $17,947,578 for the 28 shows on the boards, up a little more than $90,000 from the previous session.

Final press nights and the comp-heavy opening caused a 5% drop for Daniel Craig-Hugh Jackman starrer “A Steady Rain,” but the cop drama still managed to hurdle the $1 million mark and land in the top five — a rare occurrence for a straight play.

Another Chicago import, Tracy Letts’ “Superior Donuts,” opened to warm reviews and a 16% boost in box office traffic, totaling $302,284 for the week. Carrie Fisher’s solo show “Wishful Drinking” opened Sunday, also to mostly positive press, pulling in $225,793.

Adding to the bulging slate of previews was David Mamet revival “Oleanna” ($283,245), with Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles; and “Brighton Beach Memoirs” ($39,755 for two perfs), the first installment of a Neil Simon double-bill.

Among other previews, “Bye Bye Birdie” ($542,702) continued to play to well-attended houses, registering 97.4% capacity, albeit with a modest average ticket price of $68, while the transfer from London of “Hamlet” starring Jude Law held steady at $624,358, its higher average ducat of $84 countering 79% attendance. The revival of vintage comedy “The Royal Family” ($173,550) has yielded softer returns, but Manhattan Theater Club announced that robust advance sales have prompted an extension even before the limited engagement opens.

Biggest boost of the week was seen by seemingly unstoppable Tony-winner “God of Carnage,” which jumped 12% to $970,032, narrowly missing admission to the millionaire’s club. On the downside, “Hair” ($733,006) fell by 11% and “Shrek” ($511,347) by 8%.

“West Side Story” ($996,234) slipped under the $1 million threshold for only the second time since it opened in March; producers last week announced the large-scale revival had recouped its initial investment in a little more than six months, joining “Hair” as one of last season’s shows to march quickly into profit.

Overall attendance for week 19 was 218,282, or 82.5% of capacity.

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