‘Urinetown’ splash

Musicals help Broadway B.O. bounce back

The post-Sept. 11 recovery continues as the margin of difference between 2000 and 2001 B.O. shrinks even further. With 25 shows now bringing the total tally to $11,714,168, those strong figures are only 8.1% under last year’s overall cume for 28 productions.

Last week, box office rose significantly from the previous session, up $1,007,491 — or 9.4%. Much of the bump came from plays in previews as “The Women” increased its perf sked and both “45 Seconds From Broadway” and “Noises Off” began previews on Oct. 16.

Another big plus: The direct-mail discount for “Urinetown” ended Oct. 14, creating a $112,075 splash at the box office as the show’s average-price ticket zoomed from $47.70 to $70, the third highest on Broadway after “Mamma Mia!” ($75.82) and “The Producers” ($79.33). Nearly sold-out, “Urinetown” closed with $352,825 against its gross potential of $366,012.

Happy tuners

In a switch from the past five weeks, musicals posted across-the-board gains, although no mega-increases in the “Urinetown” league.

Most of the tuner upticks were in the four-figure or low five-figure range, with three shows doing somewhat better than that: $754,770 for “Aida” (up $32,739), $410,534 for “Contact” (up $34,045) and $420,222 for “The Music Man” (up $34,222).

The much longer-running “Rent” and “Les Miz” saw smaller bumps, which gave them final tallies of $352,279 and $342,337, respectively. A year ago those numbers came to $401,258 and $429,519, representing a decline of 12.2% and 20.2% from October 2000.

In previews, “Thou Shalt Not” fell $14,610 to close with $305,938 on its potential of $461,144. The Harry Connick Jr. musical opens Oct. 25.

After Sept. 11, plays rebounded more quickly than musicals; however, last week’s numbers reversed that trend as plays were off slightly. Both “Proof” and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” dropped five figures to land at a still robust $324,255 and $363,979, respectively.

In their first week of previews, “45 Seconds From Broadway” and “Noises Off” grabbed $303,942 and $244,811, respectively. “The Women” added three more previews last week and had another $90,979 to show for it, closing out the week at $258,680 and already grabbing the second highest average ticket price ($50.57) on Broadway.

‘Death’ expensive

“Dance of Death” topped that with $51.32. In its first full session of regular perfs, the Strindberg play came in with a $357,931, falling $39,095 from its heavily comped opening-night week. “Hedda Gabler,” on the other hand, barely budged, down $1,829 from the previous week for a final $240,988.

Overall, the eight plays on the boards grossed $2.34 million. A year ago this week, the total came to $1.90 million for eight plays.

Once again, the sold-out shows were “The Producers” and “The Lion King,” with “Urinetown” at 99.2% capacity and “Contact” at 96.8%.

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