Last week in Gotham, you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a tourist — and all those visitors helped keep Broadway sales high.
The $21.3 million cume was about on par with the receipts logged during the prior frame (which included Easter and Passover), as dips at some individual shows were largely balanced by gains at others.
Six productions held on to their memberships in the millionaires’ club, with “West Side Story” ($1,310,305) breaking the box office record at the Palace Theater for the third week in a row. Another strong-selling musical revival, “Hair” ($861,450), broke the record at the Hirschfeld.
Well-established, large-scale tuners traditionally benefit the most from tourist-driven box office, as evidenced by the continuing boffo sales posted by the likes of “Wicked” ($1,539,124), “The Lion King” ($1,386,276) and “Mamma Mia!” ($1,005,981).
A few such offerings, however, didn’t keep up with the holiday-driven sales logged the prior frame, as “Shrek the Musical” ($931,737), “Mary Poppins” ($923,693) and “Chicago” ($620,809) fell by more than $100,000 each.
Among the season’s recent additions to the musical slate, well-reviewed “Rock of Ages” ($414,030) rose some, as did “Next to Normal” ($216,806) in a week that accommodated a comped opening night perf as well as additional press tickets. “9 to 5” ($535,354), playing its second week of six previews, also climbed.
“God of Carnage” ($733,711) was the Rialto’s top-grossing play, with “Blithe Spirit” ($603,470) and “Exit the King” ($550,307) also doing well. The Roundabout revival of “Waiting for Godot” ($401,047) gained momentum in its first full frame of eight previews.
But in a crowded seasons for plays, other nontuners struggled to attract business. Critically praised but underperforming “Reasons to Be Pretty” ($146,762) slipped a bit and played to less than 50% capacity, as did “August: Osage County” ($224,691), “Mary Stuart” ($189,645) and “The Norman Conquests” ($95,624). (The latter two played comp-heavy press performances that week.)
And one more play joined the fray, with “Desire Under the Elms” ($199,120) playing a full frame of eight previews.
Broadway’s overall sales will likely deflate in the coming weeks as spring-break season ends, and as the Rialto waits for Tony buzz to help kickstart summer biz.