Box office, attendance robust last week
Broadway maintained a seasonal spring in its step last week, with the healthy sales of a trio of newly opened productions helping to keep the Street’s overall totals robust.“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($972,538), “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($968,158) and “The Book of Mormon” ($966,075) each hovered just under the million-dollar mark in a hat-trick of offerings showing real momentum at the box office. Such numbers lend an optimistic prognosis for the triad of new-blood offerings, suggesting they may be contributing significant chunks of change to the Broadway pot throughout the spring. Also adding to the Rialto-wide uptick was “American Idiot” ($703,032), which shot up more than $275,000 thanks to the return to the show of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. Performer will help keep B.O. healthy as the production heads into its final weeks ahead of an April 24 closing. Speaking of final frames, the extended run of “Driving Miss Daisy” ($440,637) motored off into the sunset, but stepping into the Broadway fray was the first seven previews of “The House of Blue Leaves” ($485,320), the Ben Stiller-Edie Falco starrer that posted solid numbers in initial perfs. Most but not all productions logged gains, with the largest dip, at “Catch Me If You Can” ($544,957), attributable to the show’s comp-heavy opening week. All in all there were 11 productions previewing last week, which, in addition to the shows already running, make for a crowded marketplace. Kathleen Turner topliner “High” ($99,292) continued to struggle to attract attention, playing to auds at just 50% of capacity, while “Arcadia” ($343,744) and soon-to-shutter “La Cage aux Folles” ($289,592) also played to half-full houses. Meanwhile, “Jerusalem” ($256,599), an imported Brit hit that will likely need strong reviews to really kickstart sales, played its first full week of eight previews. Overall attendance topped 300,000, thanks in part to the large number of shows — a whopping 39 — on the boards. That’s well up from the 265,000 logged during the same frame last year, when there were 32 shows running. Cume rose $1.1 million to $23.2 million.