Remember when the Jewish holidays used to mean a dip in Broadway sales? Not this year.
Although Rosh Hoshanah fell on Thursday, overall Rialto sales upticked, with devoted auds still turning out for another record-breaking week at “The Book of Mormon” and a crowd of converts keeping “Follies” above the $1 million mark.
The week’s total, up about $275,000 to $18.7 million for 22 shows running, had some observers wondering if the traditional dip for the Jewish holidays was more a product of when the holiday fell during the month — early September always being harder for Broadway overall than late — than of the holiday itself. Or maybe sales were kept aloft in part by family auds freed up by school closings.
“Mormon” ($1,310,226), topping yet another box office milestone at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, and “Follies” ($1,132,226) were two of six shows to stake out a spot in the millionaires club last week. In general, most of the Street’s top earners saw sales rise while those in the middle of the pack — including “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($765,738) and “Memphis” ($722,193) — dipped, although none of the slowdowns by individual shows were dramatic.
Among plays now in previews, “Relatively Speaking” ($664,407) — the trio of one-acts by Woody Allen, Ethan Coen and Elaine May — slipped by about $50,000, perhaps because the curiosity factor pushed some theatergoers to earlier previews. “The Mountaintop” ($584,897) played a full eight perfs vs. five the prior frame, posting solid if not stellar sales for a show starring big-name thesps Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson.
As is the case with most Broadway plays, both shows, as well as the Roundabout’s nonprofit revival of “Man and Boy” ($216,636), hope for a boost from reviews, since playgoing auds remain the rare demo to be notably swayed by critical opinion.