Bountiful Broadway

Shows set record for post-Labor Day session

Is this a big comeback? Or merely light at the end of the September tunnel?

Twenty-three Broadway shows set a record of $10,977,710 for this time frame — or any other post-Labor Day session in the always B.O.-challenged month of September.

Next best was $10.04 million, in which 22 shows clocked in during Sept. 18-24, 2000. Last week, receipts rose $1,683,533, an 18.11% increase, from the previous week that saw the anniversary of Sept. 11 as well as the observance of Yom Kippur. Paid attendance was comparable to two years ago: 173,619 last week as opposed to 181,402 in 2000.

All shows but two improved. Linda Gray’s one-week stint in “The Graduate” for the vacationing Kathleen Turner didn’t radically affect biz. Down $9,516, the redux comedy grossed $231,967 for 8 perfs after the previous week’s 7.

More significant, “Les Miserables” did not share in the other shows’ big bounce. Down $249, the longest-running production on Broadway fell to $234,896.

Musicals see increases

There were some major six-figure increases giving needed lucre to four big musicals as well as one bubbling under the top 10, namely “Chicago,” which jumped $115,975 for a final $362,527.

On the surface, “Into the Woods” appears to have enjoyed a similar $93,787 boost. But much of that increase can be attributed to the show’s eight perfs, up one from the previous session. The Sondheim revival took in only $276,486, putting it just ahead of the $273,043 for “The Boys from Syracuse,” the lowest-grossing tuner on Broadway.

As for other musicals under the top 10, five-figure upticks provided heftier final bounties for “Beauty and the Beast” ($408,987), “Cabaret” ($363,422), “Rent” ($348,612) and “Urinetown” ($298,481).

Plays have seen better days on Broadway, but not many. Up $39,819, “Frankie and Johnny” put in its best week to date with a phenomenal $457,073.

Back in black

After two money-losing weeks, “Metamorphoses” and “Proof” look to be back in the black with their respective cumes of $191,246 and $215,097, with the latter drama bounding $74,332 over the previous session.

Going from four to a full eight perfs, “The Goat” rose $100,662 as Sally Field and Bill Irwin put in their first full week of duty: The final count of $182,959 is very much in the neighborhood of their predecessors, Mercedes Ruehl and Bill Pullman. Reviews on the new team are expected Sept. 30.

In its first two weekend previews, Michel Legrand’s “Amour” drew $42,449. Set problems caused a 15-minute delay at the Saturday evening performance. The producers canceled this week’s Tuesday evening and Wednesday matinee performances and, in a statement, explained that some set pieces had been “returned to the scene shop for modification.” Previews resume with Wednesday’s evening performance.

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