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Road to recovery

B'way back to full sked but tuners still struggle

The show goes on, sort of.

Broadway resumed its eight-performance schedule last week, making for a $4,340,086 surge — or 118.9% increase — over the previous session’s catastrophic plummet to $3,647,734. Total tally came to $7,987,820 for 24 productions. However, the real story comes to light if Week 17 (Sept. 17-23) is compared to Week 15 (Sept. 3-9), when overall B.O. for 23 shows came to $9,603,505.

For most shows, especially the long-running tuners, business was not back to normal, as last session’s B.O. represented a $2,063,197 decrease — off 21.4% — from two weeks ago. Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 17-19) hampers biz as does this week’s Yom Kippur (Sept. 24-26). And as any veteran producer knows, September is historically Broadway’s worst month of the year even under ideal conditions.

As for the good news, several shows reported dramatically improved business going from the weekday to weekend perfs, with the latter providing soldout biz for “Contact,” “The Lion King,” “The Producers,” “Proof,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Stones in His Pockets,” “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” “Urinetown” and “Dance of Death,” latter in previews.

The six shows that received labor concessions last week — “Chicago,” “The Full Monty,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Rent” — all fell significantly below their break-even mark. So did the long-running “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Music Man” and “Rocky Horror.”

In September, less than break-even biz is not unusual for long-running shows. Two weeks ago both “Rent” and “Les Miz” did marginally better business than they had a year ago to that date. However, last week, the Jonathan Larson show grossed only $236,744 (down $68,368 from Week 15), while “Les Miz” took in just $167,196 (down $172,977 from Week 15).

Disney’s “Aida” registered Broadway’s biggest drop from two weeks ago, off $281,451 to close at $478,889 on its gross potential of $929,611.

Six productions actually showed improved business from two weeks ago. Unfortunately, four of them — “Blast!” (up $18,917 from Week 15), “Rocky Horror” (up $61,667), “Stones in His Pockets” (up $65,318) and “A Thousand Clowns” (up $1,264) — closed Sunday. The fifth, “Urinetown” (up $30,832 from Week 15), opened Thursday. Despite its heavily comped preem week, the edgy tuner took in $188,742 on its gross potential of $326,484. Biz reportedly rose considerably on Friday. Also, “Kiss Me, Kate,” with its last-minute reprieve, saw its B.O. rise $12,527 for a final $344,200.

With tourists still avoiding New York, metro theatergoers went to see plays but skipped those long-running musicals. In a radical turnabout from biz as usual, plays “Dance of Death” and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” each outgrossed “Les Miz,” “Music Man” and “Rent.” In previews, “Dance of Death” grossed a lively $338,842 for a full eight perfs, while “Hedda Gabler” did $108,670 for six.

The long-running “Allergist’s Wife” exhibited remarkable resilience. Its $253,390 gross last week was not its poorest performance to date. For a full eight perfs, the production recorded weaker sessions in late August and early April.

“Proof” tumbled $176,820 from Week 15, when Mary-Louise Parker left the cast. Now starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, the drama collected $231,313, which is slightly under its previous B.O. low of $246,424 for the week of April 2-8.

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