Broadway healthy despite overall drop

Despite a week-to-week decline of more than $1 million, business on Broadway is quite healthy.

“Wicked” ($2,033,004) topped the $2 million mark for the second consecutive week, while “Newsies” ($1,048,090) and “Once” ($1,039,207) saw record frames. Both shows broke the $1 million mark and topped sales at usual tourist faves like “Mary Poppins” ($929,166), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($889,043) and “Jersey Boys” ($887,165). “Jesus Christ Superstar” ($678,052, up 34%) ended its unprofitable run with a strong week and joins “Godspell” in Semi-Religious Musical Revival Heaven.

Most of the dip in sales can be attributed to the recently departed “Godspell” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” While quite a few shows posted lower sales than last week, many of those declines were negligible, with “Wicked,” “The Lion King” ($1,944,704), “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,608,683), “Phantom” and “The Best Man” ($716,782) all down by less than 1%.

Not all of the drops were so mild, as “End of the Rainbow” ($241,146), “Nice Work If You Can Get It” ($804,816) and “Porgy and Bess” ($462,497) were all off by more than 10% vs. the previous frame. Both “Rainbow” and “Porgy” played to houses at less than half of capacity.

The Rialto’s relative strength is obvious when compared to the same time last year. Two more productions are playing this year than were last year, overall sales are more than $2 million higher this year, and the skid that the box office always hits this time of year is far less severe (down 4% vs. 8%) despite the fact that so many of the productions are plays, which traditionally do not fare well once warm weather hits.

Many plays are bucking that trend this year, with star-driven “Best Man,” Tony fave “Peter and the Starcatcher” ($687,525), British comedy “One Man, Two Guvnors” ($639,890) and Jim Parsons star turn “Harvey” ($629,617) all outselling a number of tuners despite playing in smaller houses than their musical brethren.

The pattern of a decline in overall sales combined with strong increases at individual productions should continue next week as “Superstar” comes off the books and tourist bait benefits from an influx of Independence Day revelers.

Broadway cume sales were $23,877,257 for 30 shows playing, with 244,100 persons in attendance.

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