Trio of shows help Broadway bounce back up

'Follies,' 'Priscilla,' 'Sister Act' goose box office

Broadway box office rebounded nicely in Week 16 (Sept. 12-18, 2011) with most shows picking up momentum following a slumping prior sesh. The newly opened “Follies” posted its best tally yet despite having to contend with a comp-heavy week, and spring entries such as “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and “Sister Act” logged notable increases.

The resurgence comes after a post-Labor Day frame that was probably made worse than usual by the concurrence of the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. With the city now free to focus on other things, overall Rialto sales upticked by $1.7 million to $16 million for 20 shows on the boards.

The rise at “Follies” ($877,239), which opened Sept. 12, was fueled by reviews that proved sufficiently strong to counteract the revenue lost from the comped opening night and second-night press perfs.

Meanwhile, with less competish — not to mention enough distance from the spring awards frenzy to start to carve out a profile with theatergoers — two tuners from last season, “Priscilla” ($734,089) and “Sister Act” ($621,509), rallied, climbing by about 35% each. The shows also logged attendance totals of more than 70% each.

Last season’s runaway hit, “The Book of Mormon” ($1,291,617), remained on par with its healthy tally from the previous frame, but rises at “Wicked” ($1,479,369) and “The Lion King” ($1,414,948) rearranged the top 10 to put “Mormon” in third, just ahead of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,231,589).

With only one production in previews, the Frank Langella starrer “Man and Boy” ($213,069 for seven perfs), the 2011-12 slate hasn’t yet ramped up. Both grosses and attendance should continue to climb in the coming weeks as other shows — including Samuel L. Jackson-Angela Bassett topliner “The Mountaintop” — begin their preview periods.

The overall Broadway cume rose $1.7 million to $16 million for the 20 shows on the boards, with attendance rising to 178,675 at 81.3%. The 18 musicals grossed $14,818,138 for 93% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 166,165 at 80.1% capacity and average paid admission of $89.19.

The two plays grossed $1,191,444 for 7.4% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 12,510 at 80.25% capacity and average paid admission of $95.24.

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