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. last week, pulling in a stellar $1,060,015 for seven previews.
It’s rare for a nonmusical to make it into the millionaire’s club with a full week of eight perfs, much less seven. But Pacino, like top-draw thesps including Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts, appears to have the power to attract big sales from the moment he hits the boards.
Of course, the show’s top ticket price of $140 — currently the highest on Broadway — doesn’t hurt. And the re-mount of the Public Theater production also benefits from a well-reviewed summer run in Central Park that helped get ticketbuyers primed to pay.
The addition of “Merchant” to the Main Stem lineup accounts for a hefty portion of the overall rise in 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 35 shows on the boards. Also new to the scene last week 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).
The Quinn outing, helmed by Jerry Seinfeld, logged a super-low average ticket price of about $38, indicating producers are doing some heavy discounting to get auds in during previews to build word-of-mouth.
One of the largest bumps of the week came at “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.
Also new and climbing was “Driving Miss Daisy” ($684,506), which managed to rise a bit in a week that accommodated a number of press previews. The revival opened Monday night.
Meanwhile, previewing musical “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” ($383,248) played seven previews as opposed to eight the previous sesh, and accordingly saw its box office slip by about $55,000. “The Scottsboro Boys” ($266,889), on the other hand, gained a bit of B.O. steam.
New play “Lombardi” ($194,649) also rose somewhat, in an opening week that included press perfs as well as the heavily comped Thursday opening. Although “A Life in the Theatre” ($255,749) fared a bit better at the B.O., attendance fell to about 47% — the lowest on the boards last week.
As of this week, many of the season’s new fall additions have joined the fray, although “The Pee-wee Herman Show” (which begins previews this 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.