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Box Office: ‘Betrayal’ at $4.70 a minute; Duke Ellington

Mary Bridget Davies, center, and Taprena Michelle Augustine, from left, De'Adre Aziza, Allison Blackwell and Nikki Kimbrough in
Mary Bridget Davies, center, and Taprena Michelle Augustine, from left, De'Adre Aziza, Allison Blackwell and Nikki Kimbrough in "A Night with Janis Joplin." Photographer: Joan Marcus/Boneau/Bryan-Brown via Bloomberg

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Pop music was a fine draw on Broadway last week, as shows devoted to Janis Joplin and Harlem jazz added good news to a down week at the box office.

After weeks of saturation advertising, the Mike Nichols-directed revival of “Betrayal” with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Spall opened to a wild range of reviews, from five stars in Bloomberg to a withering pan from the New York Times.

The reviews are likely to have little impact on the show’s limited run, which is all but sold out even with premium tickets going for $423.00 (or $4.70 for each of the show’s 90 minutes).

The critics were mostly positive about the star of “A Night With Janis Joplin,” at the Lyceum, sending it to a respectable $433,141 -- just shy of 85 percent of its seats, according to figures released Monday by the producers’ trade group, the Broadway League.

In previews, “After Midnight,” a newcomer celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at Harlem’s Cotton Cub, filled close to 93 percent of the seats at the Brooks Atkinson.

Another revival, “The Glass Menagerie,” had its best week yet, selling $734,661 of tickets and leaving no seats to be had.

The addition of two new shows didn’t help the Broadway cash register. Total receipts were $23,158,295, down $880,000 from the week before, according to the league.

Off-Broadway

“Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark” dropped $67,438 to $789,538, the tenth consecutive week below its $1 million running costs. “Big Fish,” the biggest new musical of the season to date, fell $90,172 to $751,326 -- more evidence that the show has an uphill battle to survive.

Same goes for John Grisham’s Broadway debut with the adaptation of his courtroom thriller “A Time to Kill.” The Rupert Holmes play opened to mediocre reviews and dropped $3,611 to $247,168, slightly more than one-third of its potential.

Off-Broadway saw the much-lauded opening of John Kander and Greg Pierce’s new musical, “The Landing” at the Vineyard Theatre.

Coming a day after another musical -- “Fun Home” at the Public -- also had audiences scooping up tickets, the shows served as a reminder that some of the most interesting work is happening far below 42nd Street.

Muse highlights include Greg Evans on TV and Washington Scene.

To contact the writer of this column: Jeremy Gerard in New York at jgerard2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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