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Broadway B.O. slips in season’s first week

Pre-kudos doldrum

The first week of the new season is rarely pretty, and it was no exception this year. B.O. fell an ugly $1,525,673 — or 10.3% — to land hard at $13,242,697. In 1999, Week One declined a nearly identical 10.4%. Last week, attendance dropped 24,299 — or 9% — for a total of 242,144.

Of the 33 shows, only four improved. As usual, “The Lion King” sold out, registering an uptick of $1,453. There were also small jumps for “Contact” (up $5,984), “True West” (up $3,399) and “Uncle Vanya” (up $3,639).

A few long-running productions took sizable hits during the week leading up to the Tonys: “Annie Get Your Gun” dropped $110,170 and “Rent” fell $110,500.

Rookies decline

New shows were hardly immune to the plunge: “Aida” saw her steepest descent to date, dipping $97,078 to close at $655,812 on a gross potential of $714,083. Still, the Disney tuner managed a 98.77% capacity. Only “The Lion King” (101.23% cap), “Cats” (98.91%) and “Contact” (98.93%) did better.

“The Real Thing” can put good use to its Tonys. The Tom Stoppard play slid $54,292 for a final $219,381 on a gross potential of $494,138 while it performed at 49.35% capacity. Playing in that same questionable neighborhood were “The Ride Down Mt. Morgan” (51.18% cap), “The Wild Party” (53.03%) and “Swing!” (49.66%), which swung $342,837 on its $782,586 g.p. The dance show saw a downturn of $88,076.

Minor declines were cause for celebration. “Dirty Blonde” slipped only $2,162, while dancer “Saturday Night Fever” nearly stood still, down a mere $2,830. However, the BeeGees musical scored a final $423,595, which is well below its gross potential of $901,190.

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