'Book, 'Follies' benefit
Remember when the Jewish holidays used to mean a dip in Broadway sales? Not this year.Although Rosh Hoshanah fell during Week 18 (Sept. 26-Oct. 2), overall Rialto sales upticked, with devoted auds still turning out for another record-breaking frame at “The Book of Mormon” and a crowd of converts keeping “Follies” above the $1 million mark. The sesh’s total, up about $275,000 to $18.7 million for the 22 shows running, had some wondering if the traditional dip for the Jewish holidays was more a product of where the holiday fell during the month — early September always being harder for Broadway overall than late. Or maybe sales were kept aloft by families freed up by school closings. “Mormon” ($1,310,226), set yet another attendance record at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, and “Follies” ($1,132,226) were two of six shows to stake out spots in the millionaires club. 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) posted solid 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. With the Broadway cume climbing by about $275,000, the overall audience rose by more than 3,100 to 207,794, hitting 87.8% capacity. Attendance is on par with last season at this time, however with six more shows running in 2010-11, capacity was slightly lower last year, at 79.5%. The 18 musicals grossed $16,315,671 for 87% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 180,368 at 86.9% capacity and an average paid admission of $90.46. The four plays grossed $2,432,517 for 13% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 27,426 at 94% capacity and an average paid admission of $88.69.