Broadway's fall season launched a bit early this year, with Orlando Bloom topliner "Romeo and Juliet" bowing to strong numbers in a late-summer week that saw overall sales continue to slow in advance of the post-Labor Day dropoff.
Co-starring Condola Rashad ("The Trip to Bountiful") opposite Bloom as the doomed teen lovers, "Romeo and Juliet" played two previews and pulled in $207,375. That's a healthy showing for a play, if not quite in the record-breaking region of stage stints from movie names such as Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington.
Otherwise, as city tourism continues to trickle away in the face of late-August start dates for an increasing number of schools and universities, overall Broadway B.O. continued to deflate with declines reported at the majority of titles on the boards. Heck, even "The Lion King" dipped below the $2 million mark for the first time in seven weeks, although that musical's chart-topping tally of $1,875,882 hardly seems something to cry about.
There was slippage across the board, from the Top 10 -- led by its usual trio of "Lion King," "Wicked" ($1,708,781) and "The Book of Mormon" ($1,698,210) -- all the way down to "Forever Tango" ($206,708) and "Soul Doctor" ($187,435), each of which came in behind "Romeo and Juliet" despite playing a full week of eight perfs. The seemingly indefatigable "The Phantom of the Opera" ($1,068,863) kept its head above $1 million but "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" ($966,952), another musical that tends to rise and fall with the tourism tides, slid under it.
The only shows to post gains last week were "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" ($565,571), rising a bit in its final week on the boards; "The Trip to Bountiful" ($481,516), also upticking, perhaps due to a bit of last-minute sales for the final stretch of perfs for one of the play's stars, Cuba Gooding Jr.; and Beatles revue "Let It Be" ($321,418), logging a bump so minor the show remained essentially on par with its B.O. from the prior sesh.
Overall Broadway cume slid $1.2 million to $20.6 million for 24 shows on the boards, with attendance down by around 6,000 to 198,020, or 82.5% of total capacity. Average ticket price came in at a relatively robust $104, indicating still-strong demand from the theatergoers that did turn out last week.
Sales will likely continue to slip this week, with the big drop on its way in the back-to-school frames immediately following Labor Day. But "Romeo and Juliet" reps the vanguard of the fall lineup, to be followed Sept. 5 by the start of previews for "The Glass Menagerie" starring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto.
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