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B’way beats Wall St.

'Hairspray' fuels uptick; only 8 shows dip

Broadway did not take its lead from Wall Street last week. B.O. rose $718,199, up 5.17%, to finish with $13,302,460. Attendance also enjoyed a bounce, up 7.36%, with 221,465 paid admissions. That’s down about 15,000 from what Broadway has enjoyed mid-July the past two years. But the Dow should be so lucky.

Nearly half of last week’s uptick came from the addition of “Hairspray,” which raked in $300,128 for its first four performances. Also in previews, “I’m Not Rappaport” went from four to a full eight but had only $73,061 to show for it. The gross potential looms at $416,791. Herb Gardner’s Tony-winning play (1986) opens this Thursday.

Of the 28 other shows on Broadway, only eight took dips. Beneath the top 10, minor decreases were registered by “The Full Monty” ($335,778), “The Goat” ($158,599), “Metamorphoses” ($198,340), “Private Lives” ($311,241) and “Topdog/Underdog” ($249,190). Not so insubstantial was the $63,674 freefall for “Noises Off,” which greeted the arrival of Jane Curtin & Co. in their first week on the job. The Michael Frayn comedy grossed $192,603. Reviews to the rescue?

Critical raves for Anne Heche in “Proof” may have reversed a downward spiral there. Up $10,348, the David Auburn drama grossed $175,631. With few recent reviews under its belt, “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” did business as usual with its new cast, headed by Rhea Perlman. Up $9,551, the Charles Busch comedy came in with a very healthy $234,560.

In its final week, “Fortune’s Fool” rose $33,061 to go out with its best session ever: $285,837.

Biggest jump at the box office came from “Into the Woods,” which scored another $82,398 to close at $486,526, putting it back in the No. 10 slot.

Further down the B.O. chart, there were four-figure upticks for “Cabaret” ($416,680), “Morning’s at Seven” ($123,825) and “Urinetown” ($355,268), which performed at 96.6% capacity and only $31,000 under its gross potential. Somewhat heftier five-figure increases greeted “Chicago” ($382,980), “Les Miserables” ($388,012) and “Rent” ($349,096).

How are those long-running tuners holding up? Compared to this time-frame a year ago, they’re down $80,000-$90,000 (“Chicago” and “Rent”) to $110,000 (“Les Miz”). “Cabaret,” on the other hand, is off a mere $16,000 from its 2001 level.

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