Last week the new Broadway revival of “Follies” proved it can draw crowds — or at least one crowd, anyway.
The Main Stem transfer of the Kennedy Center’s production of “Follies” ($131,604) filled the 1,550-seat Marquis Theater to 97% capacity in its first and only preview performance last week. That’s promising but not all that surprising: Rabid fans of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals (of which there are plenty in Gotham) could be expected to turn out in droves to catch the first perf of the new revival. The real test lies in the coming weeks, when it’ll become clearer just how much B.O. weight the title has with theatergoers.
Overall Broadway sales softened slightly last week, with the overall cume slipping about $600,000 to $20.6 million for 24 shows on the boards. Most individual productions slipped a bit, though few fell drastically.
Biggest drop came at “Priscilla Queen of Desert” ($649,231), which slid some $75,000 and saw average attendance come in at less than 60%. The Broadway return of “Hair” ($369,876) continued to struggle for attention, playing to houses at 50% of capacity.
The handful of shows to buck the week’s downward trend were largely last-season’s in-demand springtime hits, including “The Book of Mormon” ($1,278,787, yet another house record), “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($1,254,128), “War Horse” ($992,380) and “Anything Goes” ($874,887).
Overall attendance slowed by about 9,000 to 218,158, sliding only slightly to 86% of overall capacity vs. 87% the prior frame. (Total capacity for the week was diminished by the absence of “Rain,” which shuttered the prior sesh.)
Still, the Rialto’s big hits could hardly complain. Six musicals pulled in more than $1 million each last week, with “The Phantom of the Opera” ($999,773) falling just short of the mark.
Some legiters have begun to theorize that this summer’s sales are beginning to resemble receipts from recent Thanksgiving weeks — not an across-the-board spike in tourist-fueled sales but a more focused rise that brings the real bounty to a smaller portion of the Main Stem’s heftiest hits. It’s certainly true that theatergoers are willing to shell out for big-title shows they want to see: Overall average ticket price for the week was a robust $94.26, a figure bumped up by the sky-high $146 average at “Mormon.”