B.O. gets final summer push

Box office at most Broadway shows upticked last week in what’s likely to be a last hurrah of summer sales, just prior to the back-to-school plummet that traditionally hits the Rialto after Labor Day.

A handful of productions benefitted from last-minute biz just prior to closing, with the final frame of “One Man, Two Guvnors” ($853,768) pushing B.O. up by more than $100,000, breaking the house record at the Music Box and landing the farce in the week’s Top 10. “Clybourne Park” ($486,336), another show that closed Sunday, also hit its best-ever tally, and “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man” ($649,776) climbed nearly $75,000 in advance of its Sept. 9 shuttering. “Porgy and Bess” ($574,830) was up by 13% in the frames ahead of its Sept. 23 closing.

Biggest bump of the frame, however, was reported at “Nice Work If You Can Get It” ($896,413), improving 78% thanks to the return of topliner Matthew Broderick, who had been out of the show the prior sesh.

Among the Street’s newer offerings, both “Bring It On” ($529,972) and “Chaplin” ($390,661) gained a bit of momentum. “Chaplin,” still in early days, will need to work up a lot more steam if it’s going to sustain a run; the first profile-boost on the horizon will come from the reviews that will hit following the show’s Sept. 10 opening.

A handful of productions, meanwhile, were already starting to feel the effects of declining tourism, with out-of-towner faves “The Phantom of the Opera” ($829,029), “Mary Poppins” ($766,669) and “Mamma Mia!” ($743, 291) beginning to see attendance erode and B.O. slip by single-digit percentages.

Despite the individual hills and valleys, Broadway cume remained almost exactly on par with the prior frame, coming in at $19.3 million for 22 shows on the boards. Attendance slipped by about 6,500 to 190,433, or 84% of overall Main Stem capacity.

If prior years are any indication, the coming few weeks will prove an uphill battle for Broadway, with the early-fall slowdown eventually counteracted by the growing drive of a fall Broadway season that officially begins with the opening of “Chaplin.”

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