Broadway stays healthy

Raven-Symone fuels B.O. for 'Sister Act'

Is Raven-Symone a Broadway box office draw? Last week’s sales numbers suggest she may be, with tuner “Sister Act” showing notable signs of life since the former Disney Channel star stepped into the lead role.

“Sister Act” ($760,041) posted the largest jump of any individual show, with week-to-week sales climbing by 25% (or more than $150,000). It’s not the boffo spike prompted by Fantasia Barrino, for instance, when she joined the cast of “The Color Purple” in 2007, and it remains to be seen whether the new momentum for “Sister Act” will last. Still, the rise is an encouraging sign for a show that has logged largely middling sales since it opened last spring.

Also improving was “Jesus Christ Superstar” ($750,241), up a robust 19% despite accommodating a number of second-night press tickets. And the new Matthew Broderick-toplined Gershwin tuner, “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” pulled in $504,314 for just four preview perfs, suggesting the musical could prove a robust seller.

Overall it was a healthy week for the Rialto, boosted by new previewing productions and springtime tourism, which fueled gains at many of the individual shows on the boards. Two productions logged more than $1.8 million each, with “The Lion King” ($1,843,641) edging “Wicked” ($1,841,661) out of the No. 1 spot and the previewing “Evita” ($1,424,700) staying strong.

The largest drops of the frame were, for the most part, easily explicable, with “Death of a Salesman” ($457,568) playing only four perfs because Andrew Garfield, one of the revival’s stars, had to exit the show temporarily in order to tubthump for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” “Gore Vidal’s The Best Men” ($621,920) dropped in a week that included press perfs and its heavily comped opening night, and “Newsies” ($763,682) was also slowed (although not by much) by press perfs and opening.

“Porgy and Bess” ($622,297) and “Other Desert Cities” ($240,862) were only among the shows to see sales slow.

The three plays to join the fray last week — “Clybourne Park” ($233,486), “Peter and the Starcatcher” ($143,579 for four perfs) and “Don’t Dress for Dinner” ($110,317 for five) — all started slow. “Magic/Bird” ($102,073 for seven) had trouble turning heads, too.

Overall sales rose by around $830,000 to $23.8 million for 34 shows on the boards. Attendance rose 14,000 to 262,118.

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