'Blithe Spirit' boosts capacity by 22%

NEW YORK Limited engagements may be wrapping up, leaving several Broadway theaters dark for the summer, but grosses remained stable in Week 8 as receipts dipped by only 1% and attendance by 3%. A robust seven shows still populate the millionaires’ club.

Biggest uptick was clocked by “Blithe Spirit,” the hit Noel Coward revival that boosted capacity by a sizable 22% in its final week on the boards. Producers of the revival announced the show had recouped its $2.68 million investment.

Closing-week gross was $735,939, bringing the cume for the four-month run to $11.6 million.

Led by “Wicked” with $1.6 million, “The Lion King,” “Billy Elliot,” “West Side Story,” “Jersey Boys,” “Hair” and “Mamma Mia!” all topped the $1 million mark. The largest drops of the frame were for “9 to 5,” down 5% to $662,361 at 66.9% capacity; and “Mary Stuart,” entering the final month of its limited run off by 4%, with $289,900 at 52.9%.

Receipts for the week totaled $19,917,127 for 23 shows on the boards, marginally down from the same frame last season, when 31 shows totaled just under $20.3 million (including “Young Frankenstein” estimates). Attendance was 217,889, down from 247,618 for the 2008-09 season.

The 18 musicals grossed $17,354,320 for 87.1% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 185,561 at 99.8% capacity and average paid admission of $93.52.

The five plays grossed $2,562,807 for 12.9% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 32,328 at 79.6% capacity and average paid admission of $79.28.

Average paid admission was $91.41 for all shows.

– David Rooney and Carson Vaughan

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