B’way tuners beat heat and sell seats

Attendance, receipts outpace '99

Summer 2000 continues to significantly outpace last year’s biz on Broadway. The second week in August saw a tally of $12,692,763, handily beating the year-earlier week’s $10,346,518.

And you can’t credit inflation. Attendance jumped to 222,418 from 200,604 a year ago.

The reason could be bigger musicals and no tiny tuners, such as 1999’s low-grossing “Kat and the Kings,” “It Ain’t Nothing but the Blues” and, late in its extremely long run, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” Or is the upturn due to Gotham’s currently mild, city-friendly weather?

For the week of Aug. 7-13, B.O. improved from the previous session, rising $336,753, or 2.7%. Box office for “Beauty and the Beast” said it all: The musical’s total dropped a mere $12,641, Broadway’s biggest decline last week. Other shows in the minus zone — “Aida,” “Dirty Blonde,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Les Miserables” — registered small three- or four-figure declines.

The other 19 productions on the boards improved.

Closing sales

If there’s something negative to say about August B.O., it’s that closing notices were the most effective marketing tool. With only five weeks to go in its run, “Cats” produced another $51,585 to close at $643,905, performing at 97.62% cap. Closing Dec. 31, “Miss Saigon” also saw a marked improvement, rising $47,667 for a $493,595 final. Capacity was at 76.49%.

In its very last week of performances, “The Real Thing” jumped $68,509 to capture its best week ever: $372,794 on a gross potential of $494,138. Producers of the Tom Stoppard revival report that the show has recouped its original investment.

“Aida” and “The Lion King” sold out, with “Contact” and “Kiss Me, Kate” at 99%-plus capacity. Nearly as fabulous were the cap figures for “Cabaret” (95.53%), “The Man Who Came to Dinner” (96.64%) and “Rent” (97.75%).

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