Broadway box office returns suffered miserably this past week from the usual exodus of Labor Day tourists and the return of students to classes,...

Broadway box office returns suffered miserably this past week from the usual exodus of Labor Day tourists and the return of students to classes, but were made much worse when New York City was deluged by the tail end of two hurricanes.

Overall the figures were abysmal, although still faring better than the same week last season. This week saw $13,119,538 in tickets sales compared to last year’s $12,482,904. Virtually all productions were hurting even the perennial successes of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre with an 11 percent drop and Jersey Boys at the August Wilson dropping 8 percent. Mamma Mia! at the Winter Garden experienced a tolerable 12 percent drop.

Those hurting the worst were productions with a big draw to families, now that students have returned to school. Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam had a whopping 46 percent drop in attendance, Spamalot at the Shubert Theatre saw a 40 percent drop, The Little Mermaid at the Lunt-Fontanne dropped more than 30 percent, Legally Blonde at the Palace fell 26 percent, and Hairspray at the Neil Simon and Spring Awakening at the O’Neill declined 19 percent. That range translates to a loss compared to the previous week of more than $492,000 for “Poppins” to almost $170,000 for “Spring Awakening.”

Experiencing the smallest loss in ticket sales was South Pacific at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, less than one percent. The only production to show a gain in sales was The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic, which had a bump of almost $108,000 as it was three performances short the previous week.

The new production of Equus at the Broadhurst opened with two previews and a strong audience at 93 percent attendance and more than $270,000 in ticket sales. It is set to open on Sept. 25. A Tale of Two Cities at the Al Hirschfeld, in its third week of previews, didn’t fare as well, with sales falling by 23 percent.

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Broadway Gross Ticket Sales
Week Ending September 7, 2008

Production
(Theatre)
Weekly Gross Total Atten. Prev. Perf. Total Capacity Avg. Ticket Price Atten. %
A Tale…Cities
(Hirschfeld)
$316,227 5,969 8 0 1,420 $52.98 52.5%
August: Osage County
(Music Box)
$407,075 5,060 0 8 979 $80.45 64.6%
Avenue Q
(Golden)
$237,760 4,562 0 8 796 $52.12 71.6%
Boeing-Boeing
(Longacre)
$368,085 6,019 0 8 1,077 $61.15 69.9%
Chicago
(Ambassador)
$392,435 5,919 0 8 1,080 $66.30 68.5%
Equus
(Broadhurst)
$271,604 2,264 2 0 1,212 $119.97 93.4%
Grease
(Atkinson)
$372,538 4,757 0 8 1,072 $78.31 55.5%
Gypsy
(St. James)
$537,689 8,202 0 8 1,707 $65.56 60.1%
Hairspray
(Neil Simon)
$315,507 6,775 0 8 1,428 $46.57 59.3%
In the Heights
(Rodgers)
$754,176 8,434 0 8 1,344 $89.42 78.4%
Jersey Boys
(August Wilson)
$1,043,538 9,359 0 8 1,222 $111.50 95.7%
Legally Blonde
(Palace)
$355,830 6,751 0 8 1,691 $52.71 49.9%
Mamma Mia!
(Winter Garden)
$926,839 11,510 0 8 1,498 $80.52 96.0%
Mary Poppins
(New Amsterdam)
$447,850 6,687 0 8 1,797 $66.97 46.5%
Rent
(Nederlander)
$715,182 9,198 0 8 1,181 $77.75 97.4%
South Pacific
(Beaumont)
$919,818 8,311 0 8 1,041 $110.67 99.8%
Spamalot
(Shubert)
$318,167 4,829 0 8 1,441 $65.89 41.9%
Spring Awakening
(O’Neill)
$257,541 4,459 0 8 1,090 $57.76 51.1%
The 39 Steps
(Cort)
$196,403 4,130 0 8 787 $47.56 65.6%
The Lion King
(Minskoff)
$991,099 11,139 0 8 1,654 $88.98 84.2%
The Little Mermaid
(Lunt-Fontanne)
$662,814 8,416 0 8 1,518 $78.76 69.3%
The Phantom of the Opera
(Majestic)
$591,749 8,461 0 8 1,617 $69.94 65.4%
[title of show]
(Lyceum)
$106,905 2,354 0 8 922 $45.41 32.2%
Wicked
(Gershwin)
$1,351,513 14,214 0 8 1,809 $95.08 98.2%
Xanadu
(Hayes)
$261,194 3,365 0 8 596 $77.62 70.6%