‘Priscilla’ Hits It Big At Broadway Box Office This Week

New York Times
October 17, 2011, 5:59 PM
A Good Week for ”˜Priscilla’ at the Box Office

The Broadway musical “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” which opened to mixed reviews in March and had one of the rockiest summers at the box office for new productions, had its highest-earning set of performances last week since late May, according to box office data released on Monday by the Broadway League, a trade group for theater owners and producers. “Priscilla” earned $860,673, about 59 percent of the maximum possible gross last week; the show earned $920,741 during the playing week that included Memorial Day weekend, while it reached a low point of $547,180 in early September.

The producers of “Priscilla” revamped their advertising and marketing strategies this fall, including highlighting the involvement of producer Bette Midler, and also began offering an unusual money back guarantee through group sales offers to help the musical through the fall. September and October are traditionally slow months at Broadway box offices ”“ shows often close soon after Labor Day to avoid a fall slump ”“ but “Priscilla” sales have been improving fairly steadily. According to the Broadway League database, “Priscilla” has earned more money since Labor Day than another new musical, “Sister Act,” and two recent winners of the Tony Award for best musical, “Billy Elliot” and “Memphis.”

The producers of “Billy Elliot” ”“ which had a respectable gross of $814,662 last week ”“ have already announced that the musical will close in January, and Broadway rumor mill has it that “Priscilla” and “Sister Act” (which grossed $746,753 last week) might close then as well. There is no official word on the future of those two musicals other than they have tickets on sale well into 2012, but the improving fortunes of “Priscilla,” at least, give it a better hold on the Palace Theater than it had in late summer. (The owner of the Palace owner is the Nederlander Organization; its president, James L. Nederlander, is one of the “Priscilla” producers and helped recruit Ms. Midler to the producing team.)

Another new musical showing hardy endurance this fall is “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” which grossed $1,574,705 last week ”“ its best weekly dollar amount since mid-August. The production has set records for the most expensive Broadway show in history ($75 million) and the longest period of preview performances (nearly six months, during which the script was substantially overhauled) before opening in mid-June to largely negative reviews. But the musical, which has a score by Bono and the Edge of U2, has proved popular with group ticket-buyers, according to Broadway group sales agents, and appears to be a solid draw for tourists.

Overall, Broadway musicals and plays grossed $21.3 million last week, compared to $19.6 million during the previous week and $20 million for the comparable week last season. The top-five grossing shows last week were “Wicked” ($1.68 million), “The Lion King” ($1.67 million), “Spider-Man,” “The Book of Mormon” ($1.33 million), and “Jersey Boys” ($1.07 million).

Now about that contest:

5 FINALISTS will win:
A pair of tickets to PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT on Broadway.
The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be announced on stage at the end of the show.

Round-trip travel for two from New York to Australia’s Northern Territory,
five nights hotel accommodations and a touring itinerary for your stay.**

BETTE MIDLER proudly presents the most OUTRAGEOUSLY FUN musical on Broadway: PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT! This spectacular show tells the story of three best friends on the wildest road trip ever. With over 500 dazzling costumes and a hit parade of dance-floor favorites including “It’s Raining Men” and “I Will Survive,” PRISCILLA promises the two happiest hours on Broadway! Plus, it’s got a great story about standing up for your friends and being true to yourself. So glam it up and enjoy the ride!

Visit Ticketmaster.com or call 877-250-2929 and use code FAB5
Or, bring a printout of this email to the Palace Theatre,
1564 Broadway (between 46th & 47th Streets).

Premium tickets are also available:
$177 (weeknights) or $202 (weekends)

CLICK HERE for Tickets

*Offer valid on select Orchestra, Mezzanine and Balcony seats and subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid on prior purchases and cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions. All sales final; no refunds or exchanges. Regular prices: Orch/Front Mezz for $127, Rear Mezz for $92 and Balcony for $52. Telephone and internet orders are subject to standard service fees. A $2.00 theatre facility fee is included in the price of the ticket. Limit 8 tickets per order. Other blackout dates may apply. Offers expire November 20, 2011 and January 1, 2012 respectively but may be revoked at any time. Photo by Gavin Bond; Illustration by Maciej Hajnrich.

**Blackout dates and restrictions may apply.

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