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Broadway B.O. gets hotter

Sales benefit from returning tourists

It started to feel a bit more like summer on Broadway last week, as attendance picked up and the usual suspects of big-title B.O. magnets gained momentum.

Even plays got into the act, with “Venus in Fur” ($422,215) and “Other Desert Cities” ($346,070) posting proportionally significant rises as each show benefitted from last-minute biz ahead of a June 17 closing.

Last week was too soon for any fallout to be felt from the Tony Awards, but all the nominations buzz seemed to have helped “Once” ($845,343), which logged its highest tally so far and climbed into the Top 10 for the first time. Much-nommed play “Peter and the Starcatcher” ($541,177) jumped by more than 25%, while “Newsies” ($997,067), “Porgy and Bess” ($582,111) and “Clybourne Park” ($425,889) all upticked.

But the real proof that auds had begun returning to town last week could be found at the Street’s high-profile tourist draws. “Wicked” ($1,990,184) got within spitting distance of the $2 million mark, while “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,489,655) leapt by close to $250,000.

Attendance rose from 257,495 the prior frame to 265,640 — a bump that reps an even bigger step up when you consider that the previous sesh saw the exit of the mega-selling, full-house revival of “Death of a Salesman.” Overall Rialto sales climbed by about $800,000 to $25 million for 35 shows on the boards.

Among the few shows to slow last week was “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($487,923), an indicator of the musical’s tapering appeal ahead of its June 24 closing. By contrast, “Rock of Ages” ($472,562) approached the same B.O. tally in a theater that’s about a third the size of the “Priscilla” venue. The coming weeks will reveal just how helpful the soon-to-be-released movie version of “Rock,” and its attendant national marketing campaign, will benefit the stage original.

The post-Tony summer weeks used to be a quieter time on the Rialto, but that’s starting to change. Previewing Roundabout revival of “Harvey” ($443,437), toplined by Jim Parsons, opens this week, and shows including “Bring It On” and “Fela!” will join the slate next month.

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