B’Way B.O. blitzed

Blizzard fears chill auds, freeze tix sales

Broadway followed Wall Street in taking a big hit last week. After posting two abnormally high back-to-back sessions, B.O. fell a mighty $1,768,921 — or 14.4% — to make for a very chilly $10,436,039 week’s total.

Last year’s end-of-February sesh dropped a much gentler 4.2%.

Fear of the impending snowstorm, which did not arrive until Tuesday of this week, hurt weekend biz. The storm itself will not help sell tickets this session.

Of the 27 shows on the boards, only two were spared the damage: The previewing “Design for Living” rose $24,625 to close at $246,726; “Invention of Love,” in its first week of previews, played four perfs and had $96,135 to show. As always, “The Lion King” sold out, with a tiny $978 negative blip in its $1 million-plus cum. “Cabaret” held back the tide with a minor four-figure downtick.

Otherwise, ouch!

“Seussical” suffered most, plummeting $175,058 — or 36.8% — from the previous week, which had not produced great figures. The tuner closed at $273,173, its lowest session to date, on a gross potential of $755,427. It played 50.83% capacity, the lowest for any show on the boards, with its average ticket priced at $32.47, the lowest for any musical. On March 15, Cathy Rigby comes to the rescue a la Rosie O’Donnell when she takes over as the Cat in the Hat, replacing the forever-vacationing David Shiner.

“Annie Get Your Gun” came back to earth after orbiting on Reba McEntire’s rave reviews. It slid $164,389 to close at $575,169. “The Music Man” also saw damage. Off $155,415, the musical finished with $412,500, its weakest performance to date.

There were other major tumbles: “Aida” (down $111,901), “Chicago” (down $141,583), “Kiss Me, Kate” (down $117,591), “Les Miserables” (down $112,298) and “Riverdance” (down $112,302).

Small shows were not immune. Lily Tomlin’s “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” which finished at $146,189 on a gross potential of $312,786, recorded its own low-to-date. The one-person show dropped $68,989 — or 32% — from the previous week.

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