Broadway slows but play accelerates
When will “War Horse” hit $1 million?That’s the biggest question in a week at the Broadway box office that didn’t give legiters a whole lot to chatter about. Lincoln Center Theater’s hit play “War Horse,” which is posting stellar sales without the aid of a star-driven marquee, was one of only a few productions on the boards not to see sales slip last week. “War Horse” inched up to $995,750, the highest tally yet reported by a show that’s been hovering just below the $1 million mark for several weeks. Houses were packed and average price paid per ticket — one indicator of audience demand — came in at an impressive $116.50. Meanwhile, another play that bowed in the spring, “Jerusalem,” posted the biggest gain of the week, jumping a whopping $125,000 (or 37%) to $465,280. Procrastinators fueled that spike, with the hefty bump of last-minute biz coming in just prior to the show’s Sunday closing. Latest addition “Follies” ($759,958) upticked a bit, although not enough to give a sense yet of whether the revival is starting to pick up some B.O. momentum. Also on the rise was “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($686,806) — although a 61% average attendance could use a lift — as well as “Baby It’s You” ($363,200), the Shirelles musical perhaps attracting a little more biz before its Sept. 4 shuttering. Otherwise, almost every individual production on the Rialto posted a decline in a continuation of the late-summer slowdown that often occurs in August. Heck, even ultra-hot Tony winner “The Book of Mormon” ($1,274,244) slipped a bit, although just barely. “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,567,344) dropped more than $150,000, which might prove a worrisome indicator of the tuner’s post-Labor Day prospects, given the much-publicized high running costs of the show. Family-auds magnet “Mary Poppins” ($925,661) fell by $125,000. Overall sales came in at $20.1 million for 24 shows on the boards, down from $20.9 million the prior frame. Attendance came in at 82%, with average price paid per ticket hitting a robust $92.25.