Minor drops countered by new 'Follies'
Almost every Broadway show saw sales taper off a bit last week, but the overall cume managed to uptick, thanks largely to the newest addition to the boards, “Follies.”
The tuner played its first full week of eight perfs — vs. the one preview during played the prior frame — and brought in $725,062, playing to auds at close to 75% of capacity of the sizeable Marquis Theater. Those figures aren’t whoppers, but they’re certainly solid for a serious-minded tuner that didn’t confirm a Broadway run until a couple of months ago. If all goes well, the continuing preview period could help seed word-of-mouth over the next few weeks.
Only a handful of shows posted gains last week, and none were particularly notable. “The Book of Mormon” ($1,289,948) broke its 15th house record at the O’Neill Theater, hitting an average ticket price of more than $147. Another of last season’s spring tuners, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($674,867), also rose, whereas “Sister Act” ($700,644) dipped by about 9%. Play “Jerusalem” ($338,979) went up a bit, thanks perhaps to a jolt of last-minute biz prior to its Aug. 21 closing.
Consistent tourist-magnet “Mamma Mia!” ($878,148), soon to celebrate its 10th anniversary on the Main Stem, also climbed a bit. Strong B.O. at that show may not hit the jaw-dropping heights of blockbuster emeritus “The Phantom of the Opera” ($986,477), but the Abba musical nonetheless seems to show a similarly enduring appeal.
Otherwise, the majority of individual productions last week reported minor declines in a sign of the slight late-summer fatigue that can sometimes hit Broadway. It’s hardly enough of a downturn to prompt concern — few offerings slipped more than a few percentage points, and some wavered even less than that.
In general, the frame’s numbers were still fairly robust, and seem certain to stay that way until the post-Labor Day slump. Overall cume rose by about $300,000 to $20.9 million for 24 shows on the boards.