B’way feels doldrums; ‘Cats’ flexes its claws

'Real Thing's' demise brings summer numbers down

August is less than awesome, as most shows showed little movement in either direction.

Overall B.O. dropped $453,738 — or 3.5% — from the previous week, most of the decline attributable to the closing of “The Real Thing” on Aug. 13. Otherwise, 10 of the 23 shows currently running on Broadway actually gained at the box office, while the total cume continued to run more than 20% higher than summer 1999. Last week saw final figures of $12,239,025 in contrast to $10,190,835 a year ago.

Again, the sold-out productions were “Aida” and “The Lion King.” Just a fraction under 100% were “Contact” and “Cats,” which jumped $23,161, the biggest gain of the week for any show. Other improvements were slightly less sizable: “Phantom of the Opera” (up $17,125), “Jekyll & Hyde” (up $14,887), “Swing!” (up $14,553), “Saturday Night Fever” (up $13,695) and “Jesus Christ Superstar” (up $13,689).

With just two weeks remaining in its run, “Jesus Christ Superstar” posted a bargain-basement average ticket price of $38.51, with “Saturday Night Fever” and “Copenhagen” not far ahead at $40.91 and $44.96, respectively. The Michael Frayne play grossed $250,180, on a potential of $457,151, bringing the total back to its opening week (Apr. 10-17) level of $236,856.

More evidence of the summer doldrums came with less-than-dramatic drops for “Kiss Me, Kate” (down $40,199), “The Music Man” (down $32,970) and “Miss Saigon” (down $31,097).

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