B’way weathers storm, boosts B.O. 7%

Shortage of new tuners dampens overall total

Broadway B.O. rose $731,295 — or 7% — over the previous week to produce a total of $11,031,607 for 27 shows. For the first time, however, the 2000-2001 season failed to outpace the previous season, which saw its tally for 28 shows hit $12,209,855 during the week of March 6, 2000.

The shortage of popular new tuners continues to dampen overall B.O., with four of Broadway’s biggest venues still empty. Then there is the weather, which has proved much less cooperative this winter.

Surprisingly, few shows with Monday perfs saw a decline in their overall box office figures despite the snowstorm that hit the East Coast last week. Only “The Phantom of the Opera” took a minor punch, dipping $15,317. Otherwise, there was good news for “Les Miserables” (up $32,66), “Rent” (up $48,189) and “Fosse” (up $65,260), which headlined Ben Vereen and Ann Reinking for a limited engagement.

Also up, “Annie Get Your Gun” gained $69,298 to finish with $644,467 on a gross potential of $910,495. Recovering from its lowest session to date, “The Music Man” rose $64,124 to close at $476,624 on its $640,616 G.P.

Comp stomp

Most of the B.O. slumps came from heavily comped shows in previews, including “A Class Act” (down $11,346), “Design for Living” (down $17,572) and “Judgment at Nuremburg” (down $26,214). In its first full week of previews, “Invention of Love” went from playing four perfs to eight, and had an additional $95,206 to show for it. The play wrapped the week at $191,341. The previewing “Follies” clocked in its first four perfs, which produced a tally of $207,649.

Most shows doing regular-perf duty simply marked time. Minor four-figures declines were recorded by “Cabaret,” “Proof” and “The Lion King,” which played to 101.20% capacity. “Cabaret” took second place at 96.20%, with “Beauty and the Beast” in third at 95.75%.

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