Broadway began the slow process of picking itself up out of the fall doldrums last week as a bit of sales momentum returned to the box office — even as the head count of total theatergoers stayed about on par with the prior frame.
“The Book of Mormon” ($1,759,612) claimed the top spot on the chart, as has happened in the past during the Rialto’s slower weeks when the show can benefit from its relatively small house to help keep demand high. Last week, “Mormon” was still a hot enough ticket to command a whopping average ducat price of $201.05.
“Mormon” played to capacity houses last week, as did “Kinky Boots” ($1,584,027; pictured, above) and a resurgent “Pippin” ($962,677), climbing by almost $120,000 (or about 14%) compared to the prior sesh. “The Lion King” ($1,743,149), “Motown” ($1,425,653) and “Matilda” ($1,171,253) also played to near-full houses.
Of the newer productions on the boards, previewing musical “Big Fish” ($690,188) got bigger, playing its first full week of eight previews and filling houses to about 89% of capacity. Two new productions — “A Night With Janis Joplin” ($144,461 for three previews) and “The Winslow Boy” ($88,627 for five) — joined the fray, while “The Glass Menagerie” ($424,420) played seven previews — one fewer than the previous week because co-star Zachary Quinto had to be at the Emmys on Sunday — and had a bit less money to show for it.
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In a week that incorporated press previews and a heavily comped opening night, Orlando Bloom topliner “Romeo and Juliet” ($471,441) remained on par with the previous sesh. It remains to be seen how the show’s mixed reviews will affect sales.
Most individual productions posted increases last week, with overall sales climbing by about $950,000 to $19.5 million for 25 shows currently running. Attendance came in at 195,355, which was very slightly less than the prior week, but the newer offerings and enduringly popular faves helped keep overall consumer interest high enough to push average price paid per ticket up by $5 to $99.80.
The few setbacks posted at specific shows were mostly negligible, although “Annie” ($412,001) has emerged as the show hit hardest by the fall, playing to houses last week that were, on average, less than half full. “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($718,957) also continued to slip, and after several weeks of struggling, “Soul Doctor” ($143,750) looks like it could use a physician itself.
If all goes well, Broadway sales should continue to pick up over the coming weeks, if only because more and more productions will start up as the fall season begins to kick into high gear.