B’way tries to shake lull

Grosses down nearly $500K on week

NEW YORK — Broadway continues to follow its seemingly celestially-programmed seasonal spiral downward, with most shows losing coin last week. Broadway grosses were down $476,930 to take $7,728,566.

Bucking the downward trend were the larger hit tuners such as “Phantom of the Opera,” upping its take by $75,410 to take $633,891, and “Miss Saigon” which flew higher by $20,822 taking a total gross of $405,299.

Elsewhere, the sounds were not sweet and the picture not pretty: “The Sound of Music” led the slide, taking a $102,450 trip down the scales. Legit phemon “Art” dropped by $64,097, taking $254,573. And percussive hit “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk” slipped by $66,029 taking $217,583 last week.

Nor was the news uplifting at the venerable “Cats,” which lost some more life last week when it fell $52,505, taking only $323,039 of a possible $806,185.

It was clear that the kids were back in school, for even at “Rent,” which is seemingly impervious to tourists, grosses were down by $59,728.

While this is not good, it’s hardly disastrous: Most Broadway producers are aware of the seasonal slump that begins after Labor Day and runs until mid-November. The shows most affected are those living day to day on their margins, like the “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Titanic” and “Sound of Music.” “Pimpernel,” down $62,768 last week, was recently rescued by the deep-pocked Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Radio City Entertainment and original co-producer Ted Forstmann.

The fate of “Titanic” is less clear. The show was down $25,600 and grossed $372,625 of a potential $715,255. Insiders speculated that it would likely finish its run at year’s end. A spokeswoman for the show said otherwise, pointing to a sold out weekend; while acknowledging a dip in overall Broadway grosses lately for most shows, she said “Titanic” is going “gloriously full speed ahead.” A call to “Titanic” company manager Steve David was not returned.

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