The mercury in the Broadway thermometer was hitting bottom for the week ending March 2, as box office returns slumped to a low of...

The mercury in the Broadway thermometer was hitting bottom for the week ending March 2, as box office returns slumped to a low of $14,835,794. Young Frankenstein is not reporting returns, but with Variety’s estimate of $971,000, the total gross for the week is more like $15.8 million. Only two productions, Wicked and Jersey Boys, exceeded the million-dollar mark with 100 and 95 percent houses respectively. Hairspray’s attendance dropped like the temperature by almost 25 percent and The Little Mermaid by 22 percent.

On the plus side, the revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with an all-black cast, resonated with audiences this week, even though it’s still in previews at the Broadhurst Theatre. The play was among the top ten in box office receipts and one of the few productions with more than 90 percent capacity houses, the only one of ten plays to do so well.

Leonard Bernstein left an indelible mark on Broadway with his music written for West Side Story and On the Town. He died in 1990, but beginning in May, the Boston Pops salutes Bernstein’s 90th birthday anniversary with dancers and singers in a series of concerts featuring selections from his memorable Broadway showpieces. They are not alone; according to the official Bernstein website, theatres and dance companies across the country in New York City, Philadelphia, Dallas, and San Francisco plan to salute him. In England, his opera Candide will be presented by the English National Opera beginning June 13 for 23 performances. The New York City Opera will present 14 performances of Harold Prince’s production of Candide from April 8 – 20, replacing the previously scheduled Ragtime. For celluloid fans, Bernstein wrote one movie score, for On the Waterfront starring another legend, Marlon Brando.

OPENING NIGHT:
Passing Strange opened at the Belasco Theatre on March 28. It didn’t do much for its bottom line, however: it reported just $118,100 in box office returns, filling fewer than 32 percent of its seats.

IN PREVIEWS:
Besides the aforementioned Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, In the Heights at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, and another revival, South Pacific, at the Vivian Beaumont.

CLOSED:
The Farnsworth Invention at the Music Box closed March 2.

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Broadway Gross Ticket Sales Week ending March 2, 2008
All data provided by The Broadway League

Production
(Theatre)
Weekly Gross Total Atten. Prev. Perf. Total Capacity Avg. Ticket Price Atten. %
               
A Chorus Line
(Schoenfeld)
$303,853 5,167 0 8 1,069 $58.81 60.4%
August: Osage County
(Imperial)
$520,824 7,289 0 8 1,419 $71.45 64.2%
Avenue Q
(Golden)
$281,303 4,842 0 8 796 $58.10 76.0%
Cat…Roof
(Broadhurst)
$621,154 8,545 8 0 1,168 $72.69 91.4%
Chicago
(Ambassador)
$345,883 5,227 0 8 1,080 $66.17 60.5%
Come…Sheba
(Biltmore)
$222,041 3,900 0 8 650 $56.93 75.0%
Curtains
(Hirschfeld)
$457,669 6,649 0 8 1,422 $68.83 58.4%
Grease
(Atkinson)
$496,458 7,036 0 8 1,072 $70.56 82.0%
Hairspray
(Neil Simon)
$502,689 8,079 0 8 1,428 $62.22 70.7%
In the Heights
(Rodgers)
$385,305 8,781 8 0 1,344 $43.88 81.7%
Is He Dead?
(Lyceum)
$157,190 3,216 0 8 922 $48.88 43.6%
Jersey Boys
(August Wilson)
$1,056,150 9,304 0 8 1,222 $113.52 95.2%
Legally Blonde
(Palace)
$493,050 8,153 0 8 1,691 $60.47 60.3%
Mamma Mia!
(Cadillac Winter Garden)
$627,264 8,750 0 8 1,498 $71.69 73.0%
Mary Poppins
(New Amsterdam)
$717,952 10,582 0 8 1,797 $69.62 73.6%
November
(Barrymore)
$428,021 5,773 0 8 1,058 $74.14 68.2%
Passing Strange
(Belasco)
$118,100 2,199 2 5 1,010 $53.71 31.1%
Rent
(Nederlander)
$384,286 7,032 0 8 1,181 $54.65 74.4%
Rock ‘n’ Roll
(Jacobs)
$292,598 4,580 0 8 1,074 $63.89 53.3%
South Pacific
(Beaumont)
$154,065 1,999 2 0 1,051 $77.07 95.1%
Spamalot
(Shubert)
$592,130 8,109 0 8 1,441 $73.02 70.3%
Spring Awakening
(O’Neill)
$460,570 6,700 0 8 1,090 $68.74 76.8%
Sunday…George
(Studio 54)
$419,366 7,505 0 8 1,004 $55.88 93.4%
The 39 Steps
(American Airlines)
$273,358 5,237 0 8 740 $52.20 88.5%
The Farnsworth Invention
(Music Box)
$251,862 4,503 0 8 1,005 $55.93 56.0%
The Homecoming
(Cort)
$162,456 3,006 0 8 1,082 $54.04 34.7%
The Lion King
(Minskoff)
$972,136 11,583 0 8 1,654 $83.93 87.5%
The Little Mermaid
(Lunt-Fontanne)
$832,619 9,395 0 8 1,518 $88.62 77.4%
The Phantom of the Opera
(Majestic)
$568,008 9,337 0 8 1,607 $60.83 72.6%
The Seafarer
(Booth)
$214,188 3,744 0 8 788 $57.21 59.4%
Wicked
(Gershwin)
$1,360,610 14,472 0 8 1,809 $94.02 100.0%
Xanadu
(Hayes)
$162,635 2,651 0 8 596 $61.35 55.6%

By Carol-Ann Rudy