Lights dim on B’way

Legit B.O. dives 17% but two tuners rise

September is Broadway’s cruelest month, and the 2001 version is shaping up to be no less ornery than usual. Overall B.O. came to $9,603,505, dropping a stupefying $1,982,710 — down 17.1% — from the previous week.

Of the 23 shows on the boards, only two improved: the previewing “Urinetown” and, naturally, “The Producers.” Otherwise, the lone piece of good news came via comparisons to last year’s Labor Day week, when total tally arrived at a slightly more anemic $9,547,077 for the same number of productions.

A few shows set records, all of the worst possible kind: Lowest figures to date were scored by “Blast!” ($232,820), “Contact” ($359,826), “Kiss Me, Kate” ($331,673), “The Music Man” ($310,231) and “The Rocky Horror Show” ($120,424).

“Aida” toppled by $111,330 for a final $760,340, having put in a few weaker weeks in February.

“Rent” and “Les Miserables” fell to $305,112 and $340,173, respectively — not good, but slightly higher than this session a year ago, when those figures came to $304,262 and $301,431, respectively.

After announcing an engagement through end of the year, marching-band tuner “Blast!” just posted a closing notice for Sept. 23.

In total, half a dozen shows had six figure drops, with the biggest freefalls attributed to “Beauty and the Beast” (down $160,523), “Blast!” (down $158,457) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (down $119,705).

Elsewhere there was some cheer in minuscule declines. “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” with the recently ensconced Valerie Harper, dipped a minor $244 to close with $277,478. And Mary-Louise Parker exited “Proof” after a long run, with a final $408,133 to show for it. Those figures represented the play’s third best week, after $422,123 for the previous session and $413,857 for the holiday week of Dec. 25-31.

In previews, “Urinetown” improved $26,487 to close at $157,910 on its gross potential of $326,484.

“The Lion King” and “The Producers” were the only sold-out shows, with the former falling $1,958 over the previous session. The Mel Brooks show gained $747.

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