Sales slide in holiday frame
Halloween scared off Broadway theatergoers last week, with holiday parties, trick-or-treating and spooky live-event competish contributing to a B.O. drop almost across the board.“Memphis” ($735,850) and “Million Dollar Quartet” ($367,149) were among those hardest hit. So was “American Idiot” ($383,025), whose younger-skewing auds might conceivably be more prone to costume-party distractions. That show played to auds averaging a low 43% of capacity. But at the bottom of the attendance scale last week was “Colin Quinn: Long Story Short” ($81,219), the Broadway transfer of the Jerry Seinfeld-helmed solo show. “Long Story” posted attendance of just 29% — and that’s in the Helen Hayes, the smallest house on Broadway. Those are only a few examples of the shows to drop last week, with productions ranging from “The Lion King” ($1,259,380) to “Promises, Promises” ($839,883) down to “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” ($313,668) among the those seeing sales decline by 10% or more. “La Cage aux Folles” ($376,082) was off by a whopping 35%, with a lot of that attributable to the skedded vacation of topliner Kelsey Grammer. Overall Main Stem cume slid by $1.8 million to $19.7 million for a crowded lineup of 36 shows on the boards. Despite that, a couple of offerings managed to post some encouraging sales. Uptick for “The Merchant of Venice” ($1,071,949), muscling up to the No. 3 spot in the top 10, proved the prior frame’s major sales were no fluke for the Al Pacino topliner. Average price paid per ticket came close to $134. Another production logging a strong per-ticket price was “The Pee-wee Herman Show” ($608,450), which played to about 70% capacity auds in its first week of previews. Pee-wee fans, who make up a major chunk of the show’s target demo, seem more than willing to shell out for tickets: Average ticket price hit $103. Looking to the week ahead, some legiters worry sales will continue to slip due to the daylight saving time switchover that can sometimes coincide with a drop in Broadway sales.
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