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Broadway Box Office: Blizzard Takes a Bite Out of Business

Last week’s winter storm bogged down Broadway business — which was already poised to be slow in a late-January frame — to the tune of almost $4 million, with the snow and the cold helping to push the Main Stem’s cumulative total down to $17.5 million.

The decline from $21.3 million the previous week comes as no surprise, even if the blizzard didn’t hit New York nearly as hard as expected. The Street’s three Monday performances were cancelled, and two major earners, “The Lion King” ($1,337,983) and “Aladdin” ($1,119,398 for seven), stayed dark Tuesday evening after announcing cancellations the day before, when the storm’s impact on the city still looked dire. Besides, “If/Then” went on hiatus for an entire week to allow star Idina Menzel to travel and prep for her performance of the national anthem at the Super Bowl, and Sting topliner “The Last Ship” was also absent after it closed Jan. 24.

Even the shows that didn’t cancel any performances registered dips, likely due in part to the transportation hurdles that city visitors faced from the storm’s more serious effects on the surrounding area. Even consistent sellout “The Book of Mormon” ($1,423,750), for instance, slipped, although the missing performance from “Lion King” helped “Mormon” pull ahead of it into the No. 1 spot in the week’s top 10. Big sellers fell across the boards, with titles including “Beautiful” ($964,098) and “Kinky Boots” ($839,718) sliding below the $1 million mark for the first time in months.

Given the downward trend, Jake Gyllenhaal-Ruth Wilson starrer “Constellations” ($508,532), John Cameron Mitchell’s stint in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($604,410) and Emma Stone’s gig in “Cabaret” ($896,478) stood out by holding steady. “It’s Only a Play” ($513,389) climbed, but mostly because it played three more shows than it had in its previous, shortened week.

Broadway’s most recent opener, well-reviewed but sales-challenged “Honeymoon in Vegas” ($369,342), fell by 15%.

Broadway’s overall attendance took a 35,000-theatergoer hit, falling to 177,158, or 78% of total capacity for 25 shows on the boards. But the Main Stem’s totals are bound to get better next week: Larry David play “Fish in the Dark” starts previews tonight, and that show’s massive advance sales (of $13.5 million) suggest it’s poised to give a wintertime major boost to the Rialto’s sales tally.

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