Spring begins a gradual thaw at the Rialto box office
After some tough winter months, Broadway sales picked up a bit last week, as they usually do around this time.Cume was helped upward by the addition to the lineup of “Come Fly Away” ($502,367 for seven perfs), the new Twyla Tharp dance-ical set to Frank Sinatra music that logged a respectable 80% attendance (in one of the Rialto’s largest venues) in its initial frame on the boards. Plus, with unusually fair weather last weekend, there were no snowstorms keeping auds away. Total box office rose about $1 million to $15.2 million for 28 shows on the boards, with most individual productions logging increases over the prior sesh. None of those bumps were enormous, but they were better than nothing. “Billy Elliot” ($1,031,865), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($608,166) and “Memphis” ($554,758) were each up by around $90,000 each, a figure that repped a healthy 20% increase for “Memphis.” Unfortunately for “The Miracle Worker” ($186,559), box office hasn’t yet spiked significantly in the wake of the producers’ appeal to theatergoers to come out to the show. “A Behanding in Spokane” ($432,187), which earned a mixed bag of reviews, also hasn’t seen sales shoot up. New productions “All About Me” ($249,222), “Looped” ($167,023) and “Next Fall” ($110,010) continued the slow starts that were to be expected of any show opening before the frenzy of activity that kicks in over the late spring. A handful of individual shows saw sales slip, but no dips looked major. The $15.2 million cume wasn’t quite as strong as the $15.7 million reported last year during the same frame, but attendance was up slightly (to 201,540) vs. 2009, when visitors totalled 200,353.