Spring puts spring in box office’s step

Broadway Grosses

NEW YORK — Broadway continued its annual uphill spring climb in Week 43 (March 16-22), with new productions gaining steam and adding to the Rialto pot.

In a week when nearly every show on the boards saw gains at the box office, perhaps the most notable increase came at “Blithe Spirit” ($640,702). The revival didn’t score across-the-board raves from critics, but good press, particularly for Angela Lansbury’s turn in the show, helped bring in crowds at 99% of capacity.

The revival of the Noel Coward comedy takes the mantle as the top-selling nonmusical entry on the Main Stem, in the absence of Will Ferrell’s recently shuttered stint.

Two long-standing hit tuners, “The Lion King” ($1,128,139) and “Jersey Boys” ($1,032,100), returned to the millionaires’ club, joining “Wicked” ($1,444,495), “Billy Elliot” ($1,188,953) and “West Side Story” ($1,004,497) — the last still holding strong.

Legiters have begun to speculate that familiar titles (like “West Side” or “Blithe Spirit”) have become stronger draws for auds grown more risk-averse in the current economic climate. Week 43’s sales bear that out, with ultra-long runners “The Phantom of the Opera” ($834,069) and “Chicago” ($592,620) among the shows posting strong numbers.

While not quite catching fire, the current revival of “Guys and Dolls” ($684,190) also continues to log solid B.O. — and a robust 99% attendance rate.

The previewing revival of “Hair” ($660,599), meanwhile, also gained momentum, playing to 90% capacity.

Joining the fray this week was tuner “Rock of Ages” ($229,602), playing to an encouraging 98% capacity, while the first four perfs of the Lincoln Center Theater revival “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” ($78,336) started slowly.

Among the other new play productions on the boards, “God of Carnage” ($426,495) managed to rise in its heavily comped opening week and will likely continue to see sales grow in the wake of strong reviews. “Exit the King” ($368,543), “Impressionism” ($353,263), “Irena’s Vow” ($206,040) and “Reasons to Be Pretty” ($106,449) also saw upticks — although those last two continue to find it difficult to attract sales in a crowded play market.

Total sales rose $1.3 million to $17.4 million for 29 shows on the boards. That gross figure lags behind last year’s $20.8 million (for 30 shows) during the same frame, but the week’s 89% attendance was about on par with the percentage tallied in 2008.

The 17 musicals grossed $13,982,667 for 80.4% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 178,396 at 94.5% capacity and average paid admission of $78.38.

The 12 plays grossed $3,408,599 for 19.6% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 61,087 at 63.8% capacity and average paid admission of $55.80.

Average paid admission was $72.62 for all shows.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Legit News from Variety

Loading