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Frosh fuel B’way box office

'Desert,' 'Chinglish' pace pack of four new productions

Broadway box office gained some steam last week as four new productions began previews and “Follies” returned to the millionaires’ club.

“Other Desert Cities” ($334,839 for six previews), “Chinglish” ($305,443 for eight), “Godspell” ($268,641 for six) and “Venus in Fur” ($157,454 for five) all joined the fray, with “Desert Cities” debuting impressively for a nonprofit play production, powered by a well-reviewed Off Broadway stint last season and a cast that includes recognizable faces Rachel Griffiths, Stacy Keach and Stockard Channing. Attendance for that one came close to 98%.

“Chinglish” logged decent numbers for a show that’s just beginning to carve out a New York profile, while well-known title “Godspell” started modestly, logging attendance of just under 80% of capacity.

“Follies” ($1,037,906), which reported a dip two weeks ago likely prompted by a flurry of soon-to-expire discount ducat prices, jumped back up over the $1 million mark, continuing to stand out as an unusually strong-selling production of a Stephen Sondheim musical. Also rising notably was Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett starrer “The Mountaintop” ($659,680), climbing some 24% over the prior frame despite the heavily-comped opening night Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, any worries that Broadway biz would take a hit from the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, which decamped over the weekend to Times Square for a temporary gathering, proved unfounded. “Priscilla Queen of Desert” ($860,673), for instance, rose by more than $100,000, fueled by an appearance earlier in the week on Rosie O’Donnell’s new talkshow. “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,574,705) also stepped up by about the same amount, while “Man and Boy” ($287,334) shot up by 48% in the wake of strong reviews for Frank Langella’s star turn.

Rialto cume hit $21,328,673 for 26 shows on the boards. Attendance tally of 229,906 came to 88% of overall capacity, well ahead of last season at this time, when attendance rang in at 80%.

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