The new staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” had a fairy-tale first week on Broadway, pulling in strong crowds and robust sales in a frame that otherwise saw much of the Rialto decline vs. the prior week.
Based on the per-perf average logged by the first three previews of “Cinderella” ($458,652), the tuner could have walked its glass slippers into the millionaires’ club had it played a full week of eight perfs. This initial interest doesn’t guarantee boffo sales in the coming weeks, of course, but it’s certainly promising, as is the 99% attendance.
Elsewhere on the Rialto, it’s January, which means for a lot of shows, ticket prices go down as a means to lure winter auds — witness the 10% decline in overall sales vs. the 7% decline in attendance. For many titles, lower prices paid per ticket meant lower receipts.
But not at “Annie.” The tuner’s average price slipped $7 to $87.80, but attendance climbed notably and sales jumped almost $125,000 to $1,026,892. Like “Cinderella,” “Annie” could well have benefitted from being one of the newer musicals on the boards (“Annie” opened in the fall), as well as from its broad appeal as a family musical with a particular draw for young girls.
“Evita” ($1,104,835) also bucked the downward trend last week with an 8% rise that can be attributed to last-minute sales prior to the musical revival’s Jan. 26 closing. Less noteworthy gains were posted at “Jersey Boys” ($871,297), “Newsies” ($815,997) and “The Heiress” ($604,765), among others.
Otherwise, declines dominated during the frame but few were truly worrying. The Rialto’s top-grossing play, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” ($886,531), slipped but only barely, while the production to post the biggest drop, “The Phantom of the Opera” ($572,561), can blame it on the fact that the Jan. 26 perf was largely comped in celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary.
Also bringing down the Broadway cume was the absence of “Manilow on Broadway,” which, after a stellar first few previews, took an unplanned hiatus last week due to the star performer’s bronchitis. The concert outing is skedded to pick up again this week, with big-money sales looking poised to follow suit.
Week-to-week B.O. comparisons are also affected this week by the fact that the prior sesh was boosted by the traffic uptick prompted by the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. Last week, overall Broadway sales downshifted $1.9 million to $17.2 million for 22 shows on the boards, while attendance slipped to 182,952.