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Broadway Box Office: ‘Paramour’ Keeps Flying, But ‘The King and I’ Tumbles

The theater industry may be in the final throes of activity before the Tony Awards nominations are announced May 3 — but right now, the brand-new big-earner at the Broadway box office won’t even be eligible for a Tony this year. That’s “Paramour,” the Cirque du Soleil production that, initially at least, is making good on the promise it showed last week (and is opening in May, after this season’s eligibility cutoff date). But countering that sales spike was a massive dive at “The King and I,” which sank following the departure of its Tony-winning star Kelli O’Hara.

“Paramour” ($1,018,942 for six previews) joined the millionaires’ club thanks to boffo sales from just six performances. That’s a very good sign, although word-of-mouth needs to hold steady in order for the show to maintain those kinds of numbers.

Meanwhile, it was tough going at “The King and I” ($553,790), which plummeted a huge 45% immediately following O’Hara’s exit. Whether the revival can fully recover remains to be seen; Broadway favorite Marin Mazzie joins the cast May 3.

The drop at “King and I,” however, represented the only major loss of the week. Most of the fluctuations at individual shows weren’t terribly notable, and the cumulative sales tally held steady at $27.1 million for 37 shows now on the boards. Attendance upticked to 282,990, or 79% of the total seating capacity for the week.

“Paramour” joined a Top 10 where infant juggernaut “Hamilton” ($1,813,024) rose to second behind teenaged juggernaut “The Lion King” ($1,995,760), with “Wicked” ($1,660,014), “Aladdin” ($1,433,167) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,325,465) rounding out the titles that topped $1 million apiece.

Now fresh out of previews, “American Psycho” (up a bit to $534,224) and “Waitress” ($746,871) accommodated press performances and heavily comped opening nights last week. “Waitress” seems sure to rebound after an opening-week dip, particularly after the largely favorable reviews the show garnered; “American Psycho” earned more divided notices, but seems to have received enough thumbs-ups to spur some momentum, too.

Starry previewing musical “Shuffle Along” ($809,033) slipped a bit, but that’s attributable to the three performances that topliner Audra McDonald missed due to illness. “Long Day’s Journey into Night” ($389,107) — with Jessica Lange, Michael Shannon and Gabriel Byrne — gained a bit of pre-opening buzz, particularly for some of the performances, while “Tuck Everlasting” ($332,230), opening tomorrow, stayed soft.

With “Fully Committed” ($364,764), the one-man comedy starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, opening tonight, the industry is now in the final countdown to nominations — and the outcome of that May 3 announcement will either give hope to struggling shows, or make them consider throwing in the towel.

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