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Broadway Box Office Sustains Its Summer Sizzle

'Lion King' leads Top 10; 'First Date' and 'Forever Tango' gain momentum

Last week’s Broadway box office chart didn’t give anyone much to talk about. And a lot of producers will tell you that there’s nothing wrong with that.

After all, with tourist-fueled sales continuing to drive overall attendance up past 90% of total available seats, the Top 10 was once again filled with titles that each topped a million. Not many shows farther down the list had much to complain about either, since most productions posted gains and the few individual dips across the Rialto were barely noticeable.

The Lion King” ($2,155,758) led the way, beating “Wicked” ($2,088,425), which added to its own tally with a ninth perf (rather than the usual eight) in order to take advantage of the seasonal tide of out-of-towners. Once again the Top 10 last week was evenly balanced with five old-timers, including “The Book of Mormon” ($1,738,664) and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,173,574), and five shows that opened just last spring, such as “Kinky Boots” ($1,612,845) and “Motown” ($1,483,470). “Pippin” ($1,079,397), doing a huge numbers for a show in a relatively small theater (990 seats), broke another box office record at the Music Box Theater.

Most of the titles in the Top 10 hit 100% capacity or came close. But sold-out crowds weren’t just limited to the millionaires, with “Newsies” ($953,590) and “Chicago” ($723,859) playing to packed houses as well.

Among the summer’s additions to the Rialto slate, previewing new musical “First Date” ($443,723) logged a healthy rise thanks to the return of star Zachary Levi, who had had to miss a week’s perfs due to a commitment at Comic-Con the prior sesh. “Forever Tango” ($483,889), the dance revue that aims to attract international crowds with a rotating roster of Latin music names, continued to pick up momentum in its third week.

Beatles tribute show “Let It Be” ($369,391) didn’t break $400,000, but it remains to be seen how well the production, which opened last week, will do in a frame that doesn’t accommodate press perfs and opening night comps. New musical “Soul Doctor” ($152,026 for seven previews), meanwhile, continued to have trouble turning heads in a Broadway landscape packed with better-known names.

One production, Manhattan Theater Club’s extended run of “The Assembled Parties” ($361,826), played its final perf. In the coming weeks the show will be followed out the door by other plays throwing in the towel ahead of the post-Labor Day downturn, including Lincoln Center Theater’s “The Nance” ($363,658), entering its second-to-last week, and strong seller “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” ($706,215), which closes Aug. 25.

Main Stem cume hit $24.2 million for 25 shows on the boards, with attendance stepping up slightly to 229,968.

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