Audience faves rise above post-Thanksgiving dip
Broadway box office descended from Thanksgiving heights last week, but sales were still relatively healthy — at least they were at the Street’s more in-demand offerings, which saw some notable jockeying among the six members of the frame’s millionaires’ club.In the usual horserace for the lead spot in the Top 10, “The Lion King” ($1,682,555) unseated “Wicked” ($1,656,955) from its perch on the highest rung. Meanwhile, “Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway” ($1,520,929) managed the unexpected feat of topping the stellar sum it logged during the Turkey Day sesh, vying with “The Book of Mormon” ($1,374,003) in terms of packed-house attendance (both reported averages of 102% of capacity) and average price paid per ticket ($158.50 for “Jackman,” $157 for “Mormon”). Last week it wasn’t uncommon to see box office receipts drop by 20% or more, but a number of individual shows remained strong enough to handle it. That was the case, for instance, at “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” which fell by 33% but still came in at $1,385,685. Heading into the final stretch of fall openings before the Christmas holidays, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” ($796,869 for seven previews) swung back up from a precipitous drop the prior frame, suggesting the still-previewing Harry Connick Jr. starrer is currently finding more traction with legit avids and Gothamites rather than the tourists who flood the Rialto during holiday weeks. While play “Stick Fly” ($296,619), which opens Thursday, upticked a bit, another previewing show, “Lysistrata Jones” ($117,488), remained in dire need of some box office action, playing to 60% capacity and reporting an average price paid per ticket of around $25. Recent opener “Bonnie and Clyde” ($341,908) slipped somewhat, but that’s to be expected in a week that accommodates opening night and press perfs. So it remains too soon to tell how hard it’ll be for the show to overcome an unenthusiastic critical response for the new Frank Wildhorn tuner. Among the shows to climb last week were “An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin” ($447,102), coming off its opening week, and “Sister Act” ($787,283), in a non-holiday rise that suggests the show’s new ad push might be working for it. Total Broadway cume fell by $4.3 million to $23.8 million for 33 shows on the boards. Unsurprisingly, post-Thanksgiving attendance slowed considerably, falling some 25,000 to 245,483 and filling theaters to about 75% of overall Main Stem capacity.