'Evita,' 'Newsies' among the season's solid new hits on Broadway

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Image Credit: Richard Termine

Though last week’s Broadway box office was led by perennial hits like Wicked and The Lion King, a handful of newcomers have joined the club of weekly $1 million grossers: The new Ricky Martin-starring revival of Evita grossed slightly more than $1.5 million for the week ending April 15, just shy of The Book of Mormon’s personal-best $1.6 million haul, while Newsies pulled in a little over $1 million. Disney’s star-free musical is faring far, far better than the 1992 movie that inspired it — and seems certain to extend well past its official limited run, which goes through August.

Two shows that fell slightly short of the $1 million club are worth noting: Sister Act grossed $951,357 last week, nearly $350,000 more than it was earning before former TV star Raven-Symoné took over three weeks ago as showgirl-turned-nun Deloris van Cartier. The Matthew Broderick-led Gershwin musical Nice Work If You Can Get It is still in previews and collected $891,064 last week.

Two more new musical productions are faring decently this spring though neither can claim blockbuster status. The season’s other Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice revival, a star-free production of Jesus Christ Superstar, earned $836,258, about 62 percent of its potential gross. And audiences seem to be falling slowly for the indie-style musical Once, which took in $715,396 (nearly 74 percent its potential) despite playing at the more modestly sized Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Meanwhile, the Audra McDonald-topped Porgy and Bess ($615,553) and the smaller-scaled Godspell ($364,992) are both hauling in just under half what they could be earning.

Among non-musicals, the biggest draws remain two star-studded revivals: Death of a Salesman, which earned $856,960 (nearly 98 percent of its potential gross) and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, which took in $836,204. But other new dramas appear to be struggling: Seminar, now starring Jeff Goldblum, grossed $192,234, less than half its earnings during Alan Rickman’s final week in the Theresa Rebeck comedy two weeks ago. Venus in Fur ($280,799) and Other Desert Cities ($275,015) both collected roughly 40 percent of their potential grosses; the former is now playing to half-full houses and will really need some love from the Tony nominations committee next month to survive through the summer.

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