Thesp's vacation results in box office drop

Legiters wondering just how much it’s worth to have Ricky Martin on a marquee got an answer last week, which saw strong-selling musical revival “Evita” plummet by almost $550,000 when Martin took a scheduled break.

The musical has consistently topped the $1 million mark since the show began previews in March. But with Martin out, “Evita” ($643,663) tumbled by 46% compared to the previous sesh, playing to auds at 72% of capacity.

Also down last week was “Peter and the Starcatcher” ($520,608), falling 24% in the wake of the exit of thesp Christian Borle, who picked up a Tony for his perf in the play but exited June 30 to go back to work on TV skein “Smash.”

Both “Peter” and “Evita” stood out in a July 4th frame that otherwise saw gains and losses, few of which were notable, spread fairly evenly up and down the Street. Plays in general had trouble attracting ticketbuyer attention, with “The Best Man” ($636,961) and “One Man, Two Govnors” ($600,469) also among the plays to drop. Only non-musical to counter that trend was “Harvey” ($664,442), buoyed both by the familiar title and the familiar face (Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory”) who stars in the revival.

“Evita” may have dropped out of the millionaires’ club, but three other spring openers, “Newsies” ($1,026,372) and “Once” ($1,006,526), stuck it out. In total, six shows, led by “The Lion King” ($1,998,159), pulled in more than $1 million each.

Among the biggest bumps of the frame, “Porgy and Bess” ($553,531) was up 20% with the return of Tony-winning topliner Audra McDonald while “Mamma Mia!” ($847,933), a fave with tourists, improved by 13%.

On the other hand, new musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It” ($732,755) was down for the second week in a row, although it remains to be seen whether that’s a real indicator that the show’s having trouble drawing summertime tourists.

Overall Rialto sales fell around $1.5 million to $22.4 million for 28 shows on the boards. Contributing to that dip were the absence of recently shuttered productions “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Lyons.” Joining those departed offerings were “Anything Goes” ($483,885) and “The Columnist” ($202,489), both of which played their final frames last week.

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