B’way back on track

Grosses are on target over Columbus holiday

Did tourists return to town? Or did New Yorkers take up the slack? Looking at those reportedly endangered long-running musicals, B.O. figures presented a mixed picture.

Despite current events, Columbus Day weekend gave Broadway its typical bounce at the box office — no more, no less. With a right-on-target 16.3% increase, total receipts for 21 shows came to $10,534,191, up $1,477,216 from the previous Yom Kippur session.

Last year, the three-day holiday week brought a 15.8% uptick, with the final gross about $1 million higher for 24 productions. This year, only two shows took a dip, “The Producers” and “The Lion King,” but that didn’t stop either of them from selling out.

In 2000, the Columbus Day weekend provided “Les Miserables” with one of its heftier increases, up a whopping 35% over the previous session. This year, the more modest $23,000 uptick represented a tiny 7% bounce. The longest-running show on Broadway took in $328,026 last week, about $100,000 shy of last year’s biz in early October.

“The Phantom of the Opera” finished with $437,862, up $31,176 — or 7% — from the previous session. A year ago it rose 10% to close with $606,330.

More resilient, “Chicago” jumped $67,686, up 23% to finish with $487,331. A year ago that final figure was $522,914.

“Rent” nearly replicated last year’s October holiday biz. Up $64,680, the tuner grossed $381,265, vs. the $398,637 it made in 2000.

Up 18.6%, “Kiss Me, Kate” grossed a final tally of $516,118, its best week since late April 2001.

Plays tended to get more punch out of the holiday. “Hedda Gabler” defied the usual trend of taking a B.O. dip during its opening-night week. The Kate Burton starrer made an additional $49,110 to finish with $197,188 on its gross potential of $499,569.

In its final full week of previews, “Dance of Death” marked time, up $595 for a still-impressive close of $419,839.

Forget the show’s terrorist subplot. Valerie Harper is creating a B.O. bonanza, with a near record $362,698 earned for “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.” Those figures represent the comedy’s best session since New Year’s Eve week 2000. when it nearly hit $400,000.

Up $36,176, “Proof” returned to its pre-Tony Award levels, taking in $351,842 last week.

The recently opened “Urinetown” improved $19,789 to close at $240,663 on its potential of $326,484. Performing at 99.1%, the tuner had an average price ticket of $47.79, the lowest of any Broadway musical on a regular-perf sked.

In previews, “Thou Shalt Not” soared $83,437 to close with $320,430 on its potential of $461,144.

And it’s officially a winner: With only four previews under its belt, “Mamma Mia!” grossed $470,274 on a potential of $469,217, with its average price ticket already Broadway’s second highest, now at $78.59. “The Producers” came in at $79.30.

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