Broadway sales slide as spring break ends

Broadway’s spring break is definitely over: Box office last week was down almost across the board, with the biggest drops reported at the shows most fueled by city visitors. Still, there were some notable victories — including at “Death of a Salesman” and “Gore Vidal’s The Best Man,” two plays that secured spots in the frame’s Top 10.

It’s not all that common for one non-musical to stake out a perch in the Top 10, much less two. But last week almost every single musical on the boards saw sales slow, while both “Salesman” ($892,533) — once again breaking a house record with only seven perfs per week rather than the standard eight — and “Best Man” ($860,132), upticked by enough to make the shortlist.

The only tuner to rise last week was “Nice Work If You Can Get It” ($929,949), in a frame that included some press perfs. That show, toplined by Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara and incorporating familiar Gershwin tunes, has shaped up into a strong B.O. contender even before it opens later this week.

Otherwise, the Main Stem’s musical slate waved goodbye to the prior sesh’s tourist bounty, with the heftiest dips logged at productions most reliant on visitor business. “Mary Poppins” ($845,512), a reliable indicator of Streetwide sales from out-of-town family audiences, was down a whopping 34% (or $430,000), and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($517,934) plummeted 30% despite playing a ninth perf last week. Longrunners “The Phantom of the Opera” ($836,141) and “Mamma Mia!” ($734,105), also popular with tourists, were off by more than 25% each.

Among newer offerings, both “Ghost” ($529,927) and “Leap of Faith” ($268,530) were both down as they headed toward their respective openings, with “Ghost” able to attribute its dip to press perfs prior to its Monday opening.

Whereas musicals slow down as the tourist tide goes out, plays tend to remains relatively unaffected by such trends, since so many non-tuner productions depend on the local pool of play fans for sales. Take the well-reviewed “Clybourne Park” ($282,159), which was up despite accommodating press perfs and its opening night last week.

Nonetheless, the plays parked on the lower end of the sales spectrum tended to remain there, including “Seminar” ($166,557), “Magic/Bird” ($163,223) and “The Lyons” ($129,854).

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