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New offerings gain steam on Broadway

'Mormon,' 'War Horse' among shows catching on

The spring break boom dwindled last week as academic vacation periods finished up, but new additions to the Broadway slate and the spiraling momentum of a couple of just-opened shows helped keep the overall sales tally steady.

Coming off the slew of rave reviews it earned the prior frame, “The Book of Mormon” ($891,410) hit its highest B.O. tally since it began previews in late February (although attendance percentages have always been strong). Also done with its comp-heavy opening week, Daniel Radcliffe topliner “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($972,524) climbed as well.

Meanwhile, the previewing Lincoln Center Theater staging of London hit “War Horse” ($657,246) continues to show considerable horsepower, logging notably strong numbers for a little-known title (at least here in the States) with no stars in a nonprofit house.

Among other previewing shows, “Catch Me If You Can” ($662,623) caught a little more wind in its sails in the run-up to its Sunday opening, while “Sister Act” ($518,355) played its first seven-perf frame. Just-opened play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” ($459,237) was down in a week that included its comped opening night, but expect sales to rise again thanks to strong notices for the Robin Williams topliner.

With 38 productions crowding into the 40 Broadway theaters, competish for ticketbuyers is intense — which leaves some offerings struggling to attract crowds. “High” ($94,829), the new play in which Kathleen Turner plays a tough-talking nun, had it the toughest in its first full week of eight previews, although the initial bow of play “Born Yesterday” ($137,391 for five perfs) also was off to a slow start. Two productions from last season, “Million Dollar Quartet” ($336,302) and “La Cage aux Folles” ($282,683), each played to aud capacities of less than 50%.

Chris Rock starrer “The Motherfucker with the Hat” ($239,221), new tuner “Baby It’s You” ($299,096 for seven perfs) and new additions “Jerusalem” ($90,736 for two) and “The People in the Picture” ($87,141 for four) also were among the offerings vying for biz.

Overall, Broadway cume was up about $95,000 to $22.1 million. That’s a seemingly hefty dip when compared against the $24.5 million logged during the same sesh last season, but that week saw sales boosted by the Passover and Easter holidays. This year, both holidays fall late in April.

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