Columbus holiday sales lift Broadway

Visitors boost popular tuners

The traditional Broadway sales boost that comes during Columbus Day weekend seems to have overcome whatever B.O. hindrance Yom Kippur may have provided Week 19 (Oct. 3-9), 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 top of the B.O. heap. “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 roughly $100,000 or more, 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 the window for discounted tickets from email and direct mail offers expired, and producers expect grosses to build again in the coming weeks.

The Broadway cume was up about $850,000 to $19.6 million for the 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.

The 18 musicals grossed $17,218,323 for 88% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 177,081 at 85.3% capacity and an average paid admission of $97.23.

The four plays grossed $2,371,278 for 12% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 28,042 at 96.1% capacity and an average paid admission of $84.56.

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