Producers of Broadway's "Cinderella" are glad they called her, maybe: Carly Rae Jepsen, who joined the cast of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Feb. 4 alongside Fran Drescher, helped drive up the show's box office by 25% vs. the prior week.
Of course, there was nowhere to go but up at "Cinderella" ($633,396) -- and at almost every other show on Broadway, which got sacked by the Feb. 2 Super Bowl and by all the distracting local festivities that led up to it. Pulling in crowds last week at around 55% of total capacity (and logging sales at less than 40% of gross potential), "Cinderella" hasn't exactly exploded with its new stars. But the real test of Jepsen's and Drescher's drawing power will come as the springtime tide of tourism rises, particularly around academic spring breaks.
With overall Broadway cume inflating about 7% to $17.8 million for 26 shows on the boards, a couple of individual productions reaped additional benefits from last-minute sales. "A Night With Janis Joplin" ($342,185) gained almost 50% in its closing week, while "After Midnight" ($647,925) logged a decent rise in topliner Fantasia Barrino's final perfs in the show. (k.d. lang steps into the Cotton Club tuner Feb. 11.) "Twelfth Night/Richard III" ($914,033) was already a hot property in the wake of critical raves, but it continues to pick up sales as its Feb. 16 closing approaches.
Otherwise it was business as usual in a slow winter week that kicked off with yet another blizzard but at least didn't finish with the snowpocalypse that had at one point been predicted for the weekend. Auds remained devoted to "The Book of Mormon" ($1,608,197), which topped the chart thanks to an effective combo of consistently high demand plus the low ticket supply of the relatively small Eugene O'Neill Theater. "Mormon" and "Twelfth Night" were the only two productions last week to play to packed houses.
"Motown" ($1,005,080) stepped back up into the millionaires' club, joining "Wicked" ($1,493,721), "The Lion King" ($1,397,103) and "Kinky Boots" ($1,284,663), while frequent millionaire "Matilda" ($926,219) was one of the few titles to log a decline, although not much of one.
Among Broadway's newer offerings, "Beautiful" ($832,495) continued to look solid, but previewing musical "The Bridges of Madison County" ($377,124) could use a boost that could come from the reviews the show earns in the wake of its Feb. 20 opening. Recently opened Debra Messing starrer "Outside Mullingar" ($331,915) upticked a bit, while "Bronx Bombers" ($134,027), still struggling to make it to second base with Rialto auds, downgraded slightly in a week that accommodated press perfs and a comp-heavy opening night.
Overall Broadway attendance last week crept up by about 5,000 to 188,421, or 80% of the Main Stem's total capacity.
The annual Broadway Week promotion of two-for-one ticket sales ended Feb. 6, so the coming week won't have that to fuel attendance. But a couple of shows coming online -- including Bryan Cranston topliner "All the Way" and megamusical "Rocky" -- could add significant coin to the pot, and the Rialto stands to benefit, too, from a Friday-night Valentine's Day, the holiday that often brings a date-night bump to Broadway.
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