‘Fences’ jumps over $1 million mark

Tony nominations help fuel B.O. bounty

Fences” last week became one of the rare nonmusicals to top the $1 million mark in a stanza, with the show hitting $1,008,104 and breaking the Cort Theater house record.

Production, already a big seller thanks to the B.O. power of topliner Denzel Washington, was boosted by the 10 Tony noms the show racked up last week. With a limited run fueling high demand and strong sales of premium-priced ducats, the play’s average pricetag per ticket approached $115. Weekly tally jumped $220,000 over the prior frame.

And it wasn’t just “Fences” that gained momentum in the wake of Tony attention. New tuner “Fela!” ($551,477) saw sales bump up 42% (or more than $160,000), thanks in part to 11 Tony nominations — the top tally, in a tie with the revival of “La Cage aux Folles.”

“La Cage” ($614,658) rose a more modest 11%, which isn’t a surprise given the fact that the revival Tony rarely has the same B.O. power of the new musical trophy. “Promises, Promises” ($1,175,789), which scored four noms but isn’t in the race for musical revival, held onto its spot in the millionaires’ club, continuing to climb.

Nommed offerings “Memphis” ($574,240) and play “Red” ($441,728) also rose by smaller sums. “American Idiot” ($784,523) rose a bit in the wake of its three nods.

The nominations are likely not the only explanation for the week’s B.O. rises, given the fact that shows from prior seasons, including “Mary Poppins” (up $90,000 to $795,127), picked up following a frame that was disrupted somewhat by a bomb scare in Times Square.

Overall Broadway traffic last week rose by about $1 million to $21.7 million for 34 shows on the boards, with attendance rising to 258,615. Receipts came in well above the $20.3 million posted last year at this time, although attendance lagged behind the approximate 265,000 from 2009.

In a few cases, a nomination didn’t guarantee a bump. “Million Dollar Quartet” ($427,217), one of the four shows in the top tuner category, slipped by 8%, while play nominee “Next Fall” ($132,749) dropped by 13%. “Lend Me a Tenor” ($339,546) barely upticked at all.

“The Addams Family” ($1,274,582) also was down, but only slightly.

One of the larger rises of the sesh came at “Enron” ($359,725), jumping a whopping 54% (or $125,000). That was definitely Tony-related, with the spike attributed to last-minute biz in the wake of the show’s closing notice, posted as soon the production was shut out of the top play category. “Enron” shuttered Sunday.

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