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Families flock to Broadway during holiday week
Gross ticket sales on the Great White Way fell 6.2 percent through the Fourth of July week as many shows played altered schedules due to the holiday. According to figures posted by The Broadway League, receipts totaled $22.4 million across Broadway's 28 running productions through the week ending July 8, down from $23.9 million the previous week.
The holiday seemed to draw families to New York City as family favorites were among the top grossing shows. "The Lion King" reclaimed the top spot as the highest grossing show on Broadway with sales totaling just under $2 million through Sunday and an audience at 99.6 percent capacity. It was a good week for "Wicked," which had sales of $1.9 million, but with a decrease of $112,441, it was the only family production with sales down through the holiday week. According to J. William Bruce, sales-rep at Applause-Tickets.com, "Wicked" played a normal schedule of eight shows, but moved the Wednesday evening show to Sunday evening, which may have caused the drop in ticket sales, Bruce told TicketNews in a recent email.
Other family favorites also had a moneymaking week. Ticket sales for "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" jumped to $1.7 million and despite an increase of $25,314, "Mary Poppins" still couldn't manage to break the $1 million mark.
For the second week in a row "Mamma Mia" had the greatest increase in sales of any Broadway show with receipts totaling $847,933 through Sunday, up $97,512 and capacity at 84.3 percent. According to Broadway.com, "The Book of Mormon" broke the house record at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre for the 37th time with ticket sales of $1.6 million. Their success doesn't come at much of a surprise as the show played to a packed house at 102.6 percent capacity, according to Playbill.com.
"Porgy and Bess" saw an increase of $91,034 with sales of $553,531 — last week the show had one of the greatest losses. The show's star, Tony Award winner Audra McDonald made her return on July 3 after a near three week absence, which likely helped sales return to normal, Bruce told TicketNews.
While it was an overall successful week for Broadway's musicals, "Evita" unfortunately found out what happens when star Ricky Martin takes a vacation. Ticket sales for the show fell from $1.2 million to $643,663, a loss of $547,538 or nearly half of their overall sales.
"Peter and the Starcatcher" had a tough week with sales down $166,917 to $520,608. According to Bruce, star Christian Borle's departure from the show may have contributed to the decrease. Tony-winner Borle left for the filming of season two of NBC's SMASH. Matt Saldivar of "A Streetcar Named Desire" has replaced Borle as Black Stache.
Also contributing to the overall drop in ticket sales, Broadway said goodbye to two more shows this week. "Anything Goes" played its final performance on July 8 with sales of $483,885, down $18,876 over the previous week. Broadway's lowest-grossing show "The Columnist" also closed July 8 with sales down $24,393 with receipts totaling just $202,489.