Tonys boost Broadway box office

'Billy Elliot,' 'God of Carnage' get bump

The Tony Awards kickstarted Broadway box office last week, with sales rising across the board in the post-kudos frame.

The 10 statues for “Billy Elliot” ($1,401,380), including top tuner, helped propel receipts up by 11%, an impressive showing for a musical already regularly grossing well over $1 million a week. Tuner also was said to have wrapped more than $3 million in advance sales last week.

“Billy” nudged past “West Side Story” ($1,369,283) into the No. 2 slot behind “Wicked” ($1,572,092), while musical revival winner “Hair” ($1,062,416) broke the $1 million mark as well as the house record at the Al Hirschfeld Theater.

New play winner “God of Carnage” ($953,570), meanwhile, continued to push into heights rarely glimpsed by nontuners. Play revival champ “The Norman Conquests” ($294,759), a tough sell as a Brit trilogy with no big-name stars, also rose, but has yet to hit any heights.

In dollars, the largest bump of the week was posted by “Shrek the Musical” ($879,468), up more than $180,000 in the wake of its segs on the Tony telecast. “9 to 5” ($822,192), which appeared prominently in the broadcast’s opening number, rose about 10%.

After scoring three kudos including score and lead actress (for Alice Ripley), smaller-scale tuner “Next to Normal” ($437,252) posted its best gross so far, and “Rock of Ages” ($595,771) climbed by almost 30% following its Tony appearances.

Also contributing to the Rialto’s heightened cume was the last-minute biz at four productions that shuttered Sunday, all up by more than $100,000 each. “Exit the King” ($645,886) and “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” ($451,420), both of which nabbed acting Tonys, saw upticks in biz, as did the post-award casualties, “Guys and Dolls” ($570,937) and “Reasons to Be Pretty” ($261,639).

Overall Broadway sales rose $2.4 million to about $22.1 million for 32 shows on the boards, up nearly 12%. The prior year’s post-Tony tally climbed 8% to $20.5 million, with this year’s attendance of 271,068 for the week slightly below the 275,000 logged in 2008.

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