Broadway ‘Business’ takes a dive

Most shows stay steady, but closings take a toll

Broadway’s overall cume may have taken a fall last week (Jan. 23-29, 2012), but things weren’t so bad for the individual shows on the boards.

Although total Rialto receipts fell by about $2 million, a lot of that can be accounted for by the absence of two shows that closed during the prior frame, “Follies” and “The Mountaintop.”

The only really big slide of the week was taken by “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (deflating nearly 50% to $682,879), but even that had been expected, since last week was the first to see topliner Nick Jonas step into the role that Darren Criss (“Glee”) played for three B.O.-busting weeks. Whereas the brevity of Criss’ stint prodded fans to buy now, Jonas’ six-month run doesn’t offer the same urgency, especially at the end of what is traditionally a tough month for the Rialto.

In general, most of the shows on the Main Stem had a relatively steady week. Most productions, in fact, upticked, and the other declines weren’t terribly dramatic.

“The Book of Mormon” ($1,445,407) for instance, rose a bit to break yet another house record at the Eugene O’Neill Theater. Show managed to climb to the second rung on the Top 10 — an indicator that while demand at other, older hits may sag a bit this month, last season’s “Mormon” continues to ride its wave of must-see hype.

Coming in right behind “Wicked” ($1,503,461), “Mormon” outpaced both “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,417,922) and “The Lion King” ($1,382,353).

One of the biggest bumps was seen at “Porgy and Bess” ($921,404), continuing to look strong despite wintertime sales challenges and reviews that were all over the map.

In fact, the majority of shows on the Rialto posted gains, although most were fairly modest. The heftiest rise of the sesh was at “Chinglish” ($366,258), climbing more than $100,000 thanks to last-minute biz prior to its Jan. 29 closing.

Also exiting last week were “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” ($614,214) and “Relatively Speaking” ($338,355). With three shows off the table, Broadway’s overall cume may well slide downward again this week.

Still, with an attendance of 205,816 at 26 shows, last week was a lot more active on the Rialto than the same frame in 2011, which brought in about 150,000 theatergoers to a smallish slate of 19 productions.

The 18 musicals grossed $14,169,509 for 81.4% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 160,982 and an average paid admission of $88.02.

The eight plays grossed $3,244,585 for 18.6% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 44,834 and an average paid admission of $72.37.