‘Priscilla’ queens over Broadway

Tuner one of a few shows that fight declining B.O.

New York– The dregs of February and early March can be a rough time on the Rialto, and this year was no different, with ticket sales in Week 41 (Feb. 28-March 6) showing week-on-week declines at nearly every production on the boards.

Among those fighting the tide was Main Stem tyro “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” ($657,804), which bowed with a full week of previews and played to auds that averaged about 79% of capacity. Tuner is one of a slew of new productions of musicals working to carve a niche for itself in an unusually crowded spring, including “The Book of Mormon” ($604,594 for seven previews), which played to an encouraging 95% of capacity, and revival “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” ($624,842 for seven).

Among previewing plays, “Arcadia” ($321,143) added coin by bumping up to a seven-preview week, while John Leguizamo solo outing “Ghetto Klown” ($328,933) held at six previews. “That Championship Season” ($549,219), which opened Sunday, was off thanks in part to its heavily comped opening night.

Overall, declines were inevitable, with a lot of the larger-scale musicals posting the steepest drops. “Mary Poppins” ($658,483), “Rain” ($334,521) and “La Cage aux Folles” ($277,675) were each off by about a third vs. the previous sesh, while the plummet at “American Idiot” (down by about $900,000 to $395,275) was exacerbated by the exit of B.O. draw (and Green Day frontman) Billie Joe Armstrong.

The 18 musicals grossed $12,503,269 for 83.1% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 154,012 at 74.2% capacity and average paid admission of $81.18.

The eight plays grossed $2,538,803 for 16.9% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 37,511 at 76.4% capacity and average paid admission of $67.68.

Average paid admission was $78.54 for all shows.