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‘Mormon,’ ‘Succeed’ look good in first weeks

Spring offerings bring new coin to Broadway

The Broadway lineup has officially kicked off its springtime expansion, with four shows beginning previews last week — and two of them, “The Book of Mormon” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” posting particularly encouraging numbers.

“The Book of Mormon” ($460,268 for four previews), the blasphemous comedy by a team of creators from “South Park” and “Avenue Q,” played to an average aud capacity of 98%, with its average paid ticket price landing at a robust $110. It remains to be seen whether the buzz-attracting and potentially controversial tuner can sustain that forward momentum, but on the basis of its first half-week on the boards, the show could prove a B.O. blessing.

Also logging a strong tally is Daniel Radcliffe topliner “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($162,403), topping the $150,000 mark from just a single preview performance. Such a stellar first-night is actually more common than not for a big potential crowdpleaser with a notable star in the cast, and it’s anyone’s guess how long those numbers will keep up. But to judge from the 100% attendance from that one perf, auds are curious.

Also doing relatively well was the lone first preview of the Billy Crudup-led revival of play “Arcadia,” pulling in $74,305 and hitting 92% of aud capacity. John Leguizamo’s latest, “Ghetto Klown” ($384,100), played its first six previews to decent numbers for a solo show.

The frame also got a boost from Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s final week of appearances in “American Idiot” ($1,301,949), helping to propel the tuner into the No. 4 spot in the Top 10. Just ahead of it, “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,559,341) nudged aside “The Lion King” ($1,541,341) to swing onto the second rung, below “Wicked” ($1,660,095).

There were week-to-week gains at a number of longer-running shows, particularly the high-profile tourist magnets such as “The Phantom of the Opera” (up almost $150,000 to $862,700).

Those rises at individual productions were countered by dips at other shows, not to mention the absence of top-dollar draw “The Merchant of Venice,” which ended its extended run Feb. 20. Another play currently in previews, “That Championship Season” ($659,735), has now taken the place of “Merchant” as the top-selling non-musical on the boards.

Overall, Rialto B.O. was up $800,000 to $17.8 million for 25 shows currently running. Those numbers are poised to keep going up in the coming weeks as more productions begin previews and tourism boosts from spring break kick in.