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Winter chill on Broadway

Most snow missed Gotham but likely affected slowing B.O.

Broadway’s annual case of winter doldrums continued to sap Main Stem box office last week, with sales at most shows slipping from the prior frame.

The annual post-holiday slowdown, which often extends through the Presidents Day holiday, was likely worsened by the major snowstorm that hit the Northeast over the weekend. While it barely grazed Gotham, the major accumulation reported in other East Coast cities certainly threw a wrench into area travel plans.

Total sales fell about $750,000 to $12.9 million for 22 shows on the boards. Attendance slipped to 160,482, or 73% of overall capacity. That’s down from the $13.5 million logged over the same sesh last year, when attendance rang in at 176,000 (or 85%) for 23 shows.

Among the productions that saw significant downturns last week were “God of Carnage” ($314,563), logging its lowest numbers in months ahead of a new cast coming in next month, as well as “South Pacific” ($443,995) and “Fela!” ($435,122), both seeing receipts drop off by more than 15%.

But they’re far from the only shows reporting sales figures that producers wish were higher. “Hair” ($481,385), “In the Heights” ($452,976), “Rock of Ages” ($419,338), “Chicago” ($331,071) and “Next to Normal” ($276,875) are all among the productions that had a rough week.

Still, a couple of well-reviewed, limited-run plays managed to attract auds despite the winter chill. Coming off a string of raves, Manhattan Theater Club’s production of “Time Stands Still” ($304,479) was up by a whopping 36%, while “A View from the Bridge” ($802,066) solidified its place in the top ten with a 10% gain.

This week, legiters must contend with the possibility that the usual winter bright spot — Presidents’ Day weekend, coming up at the end of the week — might not be so bright, thanks to forecasts predicting another potentially major snowstorm in the next few days.

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