Plays prosper as musicals take tumble
Broadway’s January slide continued in Week 33 (Jan. 9-15), with particularly dramatic drops among the tuners most reliant on tourist biz. But even as tourists went home, playgoers turned out to take advantage of a less-crowded Times Square environment and winter ticket deals.A number of non-musicals saw a sales uptick, with the biggest increase reported at “The Mountaintop” ($636,651), the Martin Luther King Jr. tale that likely also benefited from the MLK holiday weekend. “Relatively Speaking” ($359,460), “Stick Fly” ($303,386) and “Chinglish” ($222,233) were among those to log gains. A number of tuners, meanwhile, saw their B.O. fall, with “Mary Poppins” ($790,802) dropping more than $250,000 and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($779,751) and “Chicago” ($481,836) down by more than $100,000 each. Among musicals, one of the sturdiest showings of the frame was at “Porgy and Bess” ($853,017), despite the fact that the week included the production’s heavily comped opening night as well as some press previews. Although the revised version of the Gershwin musical has stirred controversy among purists, and earned reviews that were all over the map, sales so far have proven solid, particularly for a production opening in the midst of the annual winter slump. Meanwhile, both “Follies” ($878,826) and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” ($627,972) rose, with momentum likely provided by the imminent closing of each. The absence of recently shuttered tuners “Billy Elliot” and “Lysistrata Jones” contributed to the Broadway cume’s overall decline, as did a hefty drop at “War Horse” ($613,711), attributable to a shortened performance week at that show. Total Rialto sales slid around $3 million to $20.9 million for the 29 shows on the boards. Attendance deflated by around 20,000 to 229,469, or 81% of the Street’s overall capacity. The 20 musicals grossed $17,359,006 for 83.1% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 182,538 and an average paid admission of $95.10. The nine plays grossed $3,542,340 for 16.9% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 46,931 and an average paid admission of $75.48.