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Attendance bump 11% on B’way

'Producers' slips, still tops

Broadway’s biz continues to outpace last year’s B.O. figures by a few bucks. Last week, total receipts came to $14,237,337 as opposed to $13.79 million a year ago. Attendance, however, shrank about 5,000 from 2001, with last week’s total at 242,873. Compared to the previous week, it was win-win: Receipts up 3.38%, attendance skyrocketing 10.61%.

Eighteen of the 31 shows now running improved, with “Thoroughly Modern Millie” joining the ranks with its first week of previews.

Big question: How is the top-grossing show on Broadway holding up without Matthew and Nathan? Well, “The Producers” remains on top even though there’s some slippage as fewer of those $480 tickets got sold. The hit tuner dropped $141,507 but still managed $1,154,004 against its $1,042,163 gross potential. Average price ticket went from $94.12 the previous week to $84.99 last week.

“Oklahoma!” registered the other big drop of the week due to its heavily comped opening week. Receipts fell $130,399 to land at $635,167 for seven performances against its $894,463 gross potential. Producers reported $1,115,741 in sales for the show’s first three days post-opening, with the advance now standing at $12.53 million.

Performing at 92.2% capacity, “The Crucible” continues to build as it gained a mighty $125,225 to close with $633,988.

As for other new shows, “The Goat” marked time for the second week in a row. The Edward Albee grossed $205,403, up a mere $1,168. After steady increases, “Metamorphoses” shrank $18,969 to gross $253,299. Albee and Ovid register with respective gross potentials of $418,779 and $346,638.

With lots of opening-week comps in the mix, “Sweet Smell of Success” went from seven to eight perfs and found another $49,201 to close with $629,169 against its $904,253 gross potential.

With 12 (count ’em 12!) plays now on Broadway, the long-running “Proof” and “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” appear to be taking a hit from all the new competition. The Charles Bush dropped $40,846 to gross $259,329 while the David Auburn fell $11,452 to wind up with $261,842.

As for the solo ladies, “Bea Arthur” did $115,534; “Elaine Stritch,” $285,652.

Shows in previews presented a very mixed bag at the box office. Doing a full performance sked, “The Graduate” added three perfs and had another $138,548 to show for it. The Turner/Biggs/Silverstone starrer brought in $437,071, which is just $58,000 under its gross potential.

Other plays in previews also saw improvement, although not nearly as dramatic. “Topdog/Underdog” rose $24,790 to close at $94,407 (gross potential, $517,766) while “Fortune’s Fool” jumped $30,190 to finish with $188,446 (gross potential, $518,606). Both “Dog” and “Fool” put in eight perfs each.

“Smell of the Kill” went from five to a full eight albeit heavily comped performances, with its opening set for tonight. The new killer comedy brought in $84,736 against its gross potential of $326,330.”Thoroughly Modern Millie” did its first seven previews, which produced $337,577. Capacity figures were high, at 91.0%, but average price ticket came in at $33.60, the lowest on Broadway for a tuner.

“The Producers” and “Mamma Mia!” did just a smidgen under 100% capacity, with only “The Lion King” going over the top.

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