Bard boosts Broadway box office

'Merchant of Venice' sells briskly thanks to Al Pacino's name

NEW YORK That “Merchant” sure is selling. The Broadway revival of “The Merchant of Venice,” toplined by Al Pacino, muscled into the top 10 at the Rialto B.O. in week 22 (Oct. 18-24), pulling in a stellar $1,060,015 for seven previews.

The addition of “Merchant” to the Main Stem lineup accounted for a hefty portion of the overall rise in the Broadway cume, along with “Rain,” the limited-run Beatles tribute that pulled in a decent $633,030 for seven perfs.

Total weekly sales picked up by about $1.8 million, climbing to $21.4 million for the 35 shows on the boards.

Also new to the scene was the Lincoln Center Theater production “A Free Man of Color” ($89,433 for two previews) and the transfer of Colin Quinn solo show “Colin Quinn: Long Story Short” ($60,699 for four).

One of the largest bumps of the week came for “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” ($388,676); some notably strong reviews helped push weekly sales up by almost $100,000 or 34% — the highest of the frame, in terms of both dollar amount and percentage.

As of last week, many of the season’s new fall additions have joined the fray, although “The Pee-wee Herman Show” (which began previews last week), “Elf” and, of course, “Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark” are among the shows that have yet to begin perfs; those shows open before the end of the year.

The 24 musicals grossed $17,463,107 for 81.4% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 204,556 at 80.7% capacity and average paid admission of $85.37.

The 11 plays grossed $3,985,373 for 18.6% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 51,430 at 73.8% capacity and average paid admission of $77.49.

Average paid admission was $83.79 for all shows.

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