Comedian sells out solo show "Running on Empty"

Lewis Black made a boffo Broadway bow in Week 20 (Oct. 8-14), grossing $742,860 for the first six perfs of his two-week Rialto stop of solo gig “Running on Empty.” The take was even better considering that potential gross for the show was only $682,740 — meaning auds were willing to pay for premium tickets — and that the show had only six, instead of the usual eight, performances.

Black’s debut helped bolster a frame in which most shows posted declines. Bucking the trend was Ricky Martin-powered “Evita,” up about $100,000 to $1,185,495. “Nice Work if You Can Get It” ($1,076,731), while off slightly, seems to have regained its mojo during the tourist-starved fall following a run of uninspiring summer weeks. “The Lion King” ($1,769,949) led the pack.

Two shows opened during the frame: “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ($215,495) slipped due to its heavily comped opening night; “Cyrano de Bergerac” ($210,342), held steady.

Overall Broadway cume was up about $500,000 to $20.6 million for the 26 shows on the boards. Attendance crept up by about 9,000 to 214,024.

The 18 musicals grossed $17,118,600 for 83% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 166,076 and an average paid admission of $103.08. The eight plays grossed $3,496,356 for 17% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 47,948 and an average paid admission of $72.92.

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