Revival grosses top dollar at previews
Well, hello, “West Side Story.”The revival of the beloved 1957 tuner exploded onto Broadway last week, grossing a boffo $1,042,713 for its first seven preview perfs. Box office for the enduring title, which played to 96% capacity auds, looks even more impressive in a week that saw sales at most Rialto offerings sink in the wake of the boosted receipts logged during Presidents’ Day weekend. “West Side” was one of just two members of the millionaires’ club last week, coming in at No. 2 in the top 10 behind “Wicked” ($1,241,055). Also promising, if less spectacularly so, was the bow of “Blithe Spirit,” which managed to pull in $323,954 from five performances — a strong showing for the initial previews of a straight play revival. Production, which stars Angela Lansbury, Rupert Everett and Christine Ebersole, hopes to join “The Seagull” and “All My Sons” on the roster of the season’s successful star-driven revivals. Also aiming to capitalize on star power are two new plays that kicked off previews last week, “God of Carnage” ($118,607 for two perfs) and “Impressionism” ($59,699 for one). Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden all appear in “God,” while Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen topline “Impressionism.” Among the productions already running, Will Ferrell’s “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush” ($880,511) played to sold-out houses, while previewing Jane Fonda starrer “33 Variations” ($255,692) held steady. Other than that, Broadway box office experienced a predictable post-Presidents’ Day drop. Week-to-week slides of more than $100,000 each were common, with a handful of shows falling by more than $200,000 each. Crowd-pleasers that posted big gains the previous frame — including “Mary Poppins” ($587,828) and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($572,818) — experienced an attendant dip once the tourists left. “Shrek the Musical” ($611,403) drew crowds at 65% of capacity. Total sales fell about $1.4 million to $13.6 million for 25 shows on the boards. Only show to close last week was the Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of “Pal Joey” ($282,275), which played to houses that averaged 75% in its final sesh.