Holiday weekend traffic keeps sales strong

The traditional Broadway sales boost that comes during Columbus Day weekend seems to have overcome whatever B.O. hindrance Yom Kippur may have provided last week, with receipts on the rise at almost every show on the boards.

Tourists in town for the long weekend helped keep numbers elevated, especially at “The Lion King” ($1,660,023), which leapt by nearly $250,000 to land just ahead of “Wicked” ($1,656,867) at the tippy-top of the Top 10. “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,464,858), “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($986,336) and “Mary Poppins” ($813,941) also were among the shows to climb by more than $100,000 each, and hit play “War Horse” ($998,448) came within spitting distance of breaking the $1 million mark.

Otherwise along the Rialto, there were just a few relatively minor dips — and one really big one. “Follies” ($886,027) slid by close to $250,000, marking a 22% decline vs. the prior sesh. Reps for the show noted that the window for discounted tickets from email and direct mail offers expired last week, and producers expect grosses to build again in the coming weeks.

Among the other declines, both “The Mountaintop” ($530,317) and “Man and Boy” ($194,119) were accommodating comps during press previews, with “Man and Boy” also hosting a heavily-comped opening night over the weekend. Meanwhile, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($753,600) and previewing play “Relatively Speaking” ($648,394) were both down, but only slightly.

Broadway cume was up about $850,000 to $19.6 million for 22 shows on the boards. That’s a rise over the prior sesh of almost 4.5%, but in contrast, attendance slipped by a percentage point to 205,123. The conflicting signals might be attributable to the holiday weekend, when out-of-towners with limited time can prove willing to shell out more coin for ducats to the shows they want to see.

Attendance across all of Broadway hit 86% of total capacity, almost exactly on par with last year at this time.

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