Summer brings Broadway heat

Tourists flock to familiar titles

Ah, to be a well-established Broadway tourist-magnet in the summer.

Big-name shows, many of them long-runners, were the top draws on the Rialto for the week ended July 24, with a trio of productions — “Wicked” ($1,882,731), “The Lion King” ($1,854,764) and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,811,432) — each logging weekly receipts of more than $1.8 million.

Family draw “Mary Poppins” ($1,111,911) and 22-year-old “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,026,795) were among mainstays posting stellar sales.

On the other hand, it seems to have become tough for newer productions to carve out much of a profile. Exceptions are the highly publicized “Spider-Man,” award-sweeper “The Book of Mormon” ($1,256,830) or Daniel Radcliffe starrer “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($1,223,226). The latter continues to rise with the tide of wizard-mania that came with the recent release of Radcliffe-toplined tentpole “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

Only a few shows logged week-to-week declines last week, and among them were “Sister Act” ($748,117), “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($700,074) and “Catch Me If You Can” ($648,763) — three musicals that opened in the spring but didn’t attract the publicity or the awards attention of “Mormon.”

Clearly auds last week were willing to pay handsomely for the shows they wanted to see, with a Street-wide average ticket price of $94. Average price paid per ducat at “Mormon” was a whopping $143, with more seasoned Main Stem offerings, “Wicked” ($130) and “The Lion King” ($138), also impressive.

One industry denizen commented that this summer is shaping up to resemble recent Thanksgiving frames — a season that brings a box office bonanza to those shows that have a high profile among tourists.

Offerings including Brit play “Jerusalem” ($355,086), returning revival “Hair” ($351,144) and Beatles tribute “Rain” ($280,648) were among productions that had trouble attracting notice, with each show playing to houses filled to about 60% of capacity or less. “Priscilla” logged an average attendance of 61%.

Overall Broadway B.O. came in at about $21 million for 24 shows on the boards, according to Broadway League figures. Although most individual productions posted upticks, the cume was still down a bit down due to the exit the prior sesh of “The Motherfucker With the Hat,” which had seen B.O. spike in its final frame on the boards.

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