Broadway Box Office: Keira Knightley Debuts as Sales Gain Steam

With two new plays joining the Broadway fray — including Keira Knightley making her Broadway debut in “Therese Raquin” — overall sales ticked upward following a week that saw box office get knocked by everything from the U.N. to the Pope.

The United Nations’ General Assembly was still going last week (it ended Oct. 3), and tourists may have skipped visiting the city over the weekend due to worries over the local fallout of Hurricane Joaquin. Despite all that, box office at many shows rose (although not by much), and attendance climbed.

Knightley’s first week on the boards in the Roundabout Theater Company’s production of “Therese Raquin” ($227,826 for five previews) started relatively modestly, playing to audiences at about 65% of capacity, as did Matthew Broderick outing “Sylvia” ($124,200 for two previews), playing to 71% capacity. That’s to be expected in a so-so autumn week where those two new offerings found themselves in competition with a slew of new Broadway arrivals, including ‘The Gin Game” ($351,748 for seven) with James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson and musical “Dames at Sea” ($229,783).

Recent opener “Spring Awakening” ($402,258) climbed somewhat in the wake of the generally glowing reviews it earned last week, although it remains to be seen just how much of a sustained boost the critics will provide the show. The parade of October openings begins this week with “Old Times” ($344,384) with Clive Owen and “Fool for Love” ($236,855) with Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda — both shows essentially holding steady despite accommodating press performances last week.

Up in to week’s Top 10, “The Lion King” ($1,892,393) led the way, with “The Book of Mormon” ($1,489,412) and “Hamilton” ($1,481,172) neck-and-neck and “Wicked” ($1,454,570) hot on their heels. A little further down the chart, Tony champ “Fun Home” ($747,651), in one of Broadway’s smallest venues, played to essentially full houses.

Cumulative Broadway sales rose by about $1 million to $21.2 million for 28 shows now runnings, while attendance stepped up by 6,000 to 210,902. Look for figures to continue to pick up in the coming week, as three shows — Estefan musical “On Your Feet!,” “Allegiance” and “King Charles III” — start previews.

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