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‘Producers,’ ‘Sawyer’ spark B’way B.O.

Mel Brooks tuner ticket average at whopping $73.74

With last week’s total edging up to $14,046,695, Broadway essentially marked time, as 14 shows increased their B.O. while 17 saw theirs fall. One show, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” began previews, bringing the total number of productions to a seasonal 32. Overall, biz improved $247,385, up 1.1% from the previous week.

“Tom Sawyer” and “The Producers” prevented the $14 million-plus total from dipping below the previous week’s cume, with the Mark Twain musical grossing $254,833 for eight previews.

As for “The Producers,” the new Mel Brooks tuner played eight instead of the previous session’s seven previews, gaining $147,514 to finish with $975,849, the second highest total on Broadway. “The Lion King” topped it at $999,754. Capacity on “The Producers” registered at 99.41% — just under the 101.15% for “The Lion King.”

High ticket average

But how big a hit is “The Producers” really going to be? More significant than its cap or gross numbers is the show’s average ticket price. Still in previews, with 16 days until opening night, “The Producers” is weighing in with a mighty $73.74 ticket average, the highest for any show on Broadway. Here, “The Lion King” comes in second place, with its still-roaring $68.91.

As for shows doing regular-perf duty, there were no big B.O. swings in either direction. “Riverdance” fell $51,470, while “Annie Get Your Gun” rose $20,940. Every other show was somewhere in between.

Among other musicals, pop star Aaron Carter put in his first five perfs in “Seussical” with box office climbing slightly, up $11,324 to close at $347,571. “Jane Eyre” dropped $15,126 to finish with $241,910. And “A Class Act” slid $38,722 for a final wrap of $167,705 on a gross potential of $474,553. Average ticket price was $38.70, lowest for any Broadway musical doing regular perfs.

In addition to “The Producers,” there were near-capacity numbers for “Aida” (99.49%), “Cabaret” (97.95%), “Contact” (97.59%) and “Fosse” (96.70%), starring Ben Vereen and Ann Reinking. Vereen left the hoofer show Sunday and Bebe Neuwirth joined it Monday.

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