First ‘Poppins’ perfs perky

B'way B.O. benefits from Disney addition

The Broadway season began to kick into gear last week, with sales rising by about half a million dollars over the previous week and a new addition to the boards from Disney.

“Mary Poppins” ($307,183) started off promisingly, selling out its first two perfs. Whether that’s the beginning of a trend or simply the temporary result of an influx of curious fans remains to be determined over the weeks leading up to the show’s Nov. 16 opening.

Among other Disney offerings, “Beauty and the Beast” ($674,248) continued to build some momentum with Donny Osmond as a recent addition to the cast, while “Tarzan” ($641,129) dipped by about $45,000.

Meanwhile, “The Lion King” ($1,154,462) stayed put on the third rung of the top 10 but couldn’t quite knock “Jersey Boys” ($1,164,758) out of second place behind “Wicked” ($1,411,174).

“Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me” ($536,043) rose a bit, and has in fact been on a slow general climb since it opened in August, suggesting it may have begun to find its audience.

Two more recent openers, “Heartbreak House” ($215,619) and “Losing Louie” ($154,624), fell off thanks in part to comp-heavy opening weeks. It remains to be seen whether the strong reviews for “House” will help push up sales for George Bernard Shaw.

With Usher ending his run early due to illness, “Chicago” ($652,542) was down about $30,000. The big dropoff came the prior sesh, when grosses fell about $130,000 thanks to the refunds and exchanges granted the first weekend the pop star called in sick.

Among the previewing shows, “Butley” ($441,441) did strong biz, pulling in about 95% capacity crowds. “Grey Gardens” ($338,019) held steady and “The Times They Are a-Changin’ ” ($304,756) played seven perfs instead of eight, causing grosses for the Twyla Tharp-Bob Dylan tuner to dip by around $43,000.

Meanwhile, things still aren’t picking up for “Jay Johnson: The Two and Only.” The ventriloquist’s one-man show slid to $50,841 and played to auds that were just 22% of capacity.

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