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Broadway gets January chills

Declines posted at most shows, although some plays gained

“Wicked” reclaimed its top spot on the Broadway Top 10 last week, in a frame that saw sales at most individual productions continue to drop in the traditional January slowdown.

“Wicked” ($1,540,868) and “The Lion King” ($1,334,354) climbed back up over the prior sesh’s champ “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” ($1,258,330), which came down a few pegs in a week during which the show played only six preview perfs rather than a full eight.

Nearly every tuner on the boards posted declines, with some — such as the 35% drop at “American Idiot” ($619,525) — larger than others. Musicals, as the genre that attracts the heftiest proportion of tourist auds, tend to suffer the most dramatic drops in weeks (like last week) when tourism ebbs.

On the other hand, it wasn’t a bad week to be a play, with nearly all of the shows logging week-to-week gains falling in the non-tuner category. Since musicals grab all the attention during the big holiday frames, the Main Stem’s slower weeks can allow plays to reclaim some biz from area theatergoers.

“Lombardi” ($404,096), for instance, posted its highest tally to date, while the soon-to-close “Time Stands Still” ($363,619) and the just-opened “The Important of Being Earnest” ($282,607) also upticked. “Driving Miss Daisy” ($524,894) held steady.In its final frame on the boards, Pulitzer-winning tuner “Next to Normal” ($552,653) finished up its 22-month Broadway run by attracting enough last-minute biz to break its own house record at the Booth Theater.

The Beatles tribute concert “Rain” ($681,640) also exited stage left, but that one’s on hiatus as it moves to the Brooks Atkinson Theater. “Rock of Ages” (another show moving venues) and “The Merchant of Venice” also are poised to return later this season.

Overall Broadway sales fell $5.9 million to $14.9 million for 21 shows on the boards. That drop is even more severe than last year at this time, when sales slipped only a bit to $17.6 million for 25 shows total, and attendance hit 84% capacity vs. the 79% reported this year.

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