'Man' on top

Broadway registered a small 2.9% increase at the box office, which was good enough to buck the typical downward trend for mid-July B.O. In 1999, the same session recorded a 6.2% decline, with the total box office coming in at $10,015,650. Last week, it stood at a slightly mightier $12,907,706.

“The Music Man” sounded off with its best week to date. Thanks to an upswing of $44,618, the tuner closed at $659,473 on a gross potential of $732,133. Capacity was 90.02%, with the average price ticket — $68.85 — the highest on Broadway.

Biggest jump was the $59,785 gain for “Saturday Night Fever,” which didn’t quite close the gap between its $516,930 closing and its $901,190 gross potential.

Other better-than-average performances came from “The Phantom of the Opera” (up $40,352), “Swing!” (up $38,595) and “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan” (up $38,899), which played its final performance on July 23.

Small upticks in biz brought “Aida” and “Contact” just under 100% capacity, with “The Lion King,” as usual, the one sold-out show.

Of the 27 shows now on the boards, only six took a dip. To be expected, the previewing (and heavily comped) “Man Who Came to Dinner” recorded the biggest drop, of $34,315. It finished at $222,677 on a gross potential of $349,943.

“Kiss Me, Kate” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” slumped $23,284 and $18,855, respectively, with “Chicago,” “Dirty Blonde” and “Jackie Mason” weighing in with only slightly less cash in the till from the previous week.

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