Sales rise ahead of traditional holiday boom
Most of Broadway continued its upswing last week, with overall sales rising in advance of the traditionally boffo Thanksgiving frame and also offering possible indications of which of the season’s newer offerings could attract Turkey Day crowds.
The recently opened revival of “Annie” ($883,946) upticked to log its best numbers so far, which seems a good sign of growing momentum for a title with strong family appeal as it heads into Thanksgiving. Play revival “The Heiress” ($614,916), toplined by Jessica Chastain and Dan Stevens, also posted a best-of tally, although it’s historically tougher for plays to pack houses in holiday frames dominated by tourists looking for razzle-dazzle tuner entertainment.
The exception to that rule will almost definitely be “Glengarry Glen Ross” ($1,157,319 for seven perfs), which returned to the millionaires’ club to muscle past “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,112,179) in the rankings. “The Book of Mormon” ($1,620,206) held on to the top spot, followed by “Wicked” ($1,598,476) and “The Lion King” ($1,402,163), the latter down from a comped anniversary gala Sunday.
Based on a surge of almost 40% last week, “Bring It On” ($475,838) also might continue a rebound over the holiday sesh, although its up-and-down track record over the past couple of months makes that less of a certainty. Despite accommodating its comp-heavy opening night, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” ($329,322) also was up close to 40% in a rise fueled by strong notices.
The other shows that opened last week had a tougher time of it. “The Performers” ($218,095), which opened Nov. 14, rose 20% but it wasn’t enough to keep the show, already hobbled at the box office by superstorm Sandy, from shuttering Sunday. In a frame that included its Nov. 15 opening, “Scandalous” ($147,572) was down, hampered by two missed perfs and its opening night.
Two Yuletide musicals, “A Christmas Story” ($553,800) and “Elf” ($545,080), also gained steam. They’ll likely pick up this week as well, although probably not as much as they’ll eventually rise as Christmas itself approaches. “Christmas Story” accommodated press perfs ahead of its Nov. 19 opening.
Meanwhile, “The Anarchist” ($379,862), the new David Mamet play starring Deborah Winger and Patti Lupone, joined the fray, while another previewing play, Katie Holmes starrer “Dead Accounts” ($367,170), played its first week of eight perfs.
Overall Broadway sales climbed $1.3 million to $20.9 million for 33 shows on the boards. Attendance rose more than 15,000 to 236,771 (or about 75% of potential capacity).
With sales still recovering from Sandy, this week marks the start of what is often a year-end boom for the Rialto. Still, not all shows may benefit over Turkey Day, since recent years have seen the majority of spoils go to the Street’s biggest titles rather than the productions that need the most help.