Only five shows saw gains at the box office

A mid-November slump is business as usual for Broadway. Last week’s B.O. dip, however, was deeper than usual. The overall tally for 28 shows came to $14,164,049, down $781,337 or 5.23% from the previous session. Paid attendance fell an identical 5.23% to land at 219,141.

Only five shows saw gains at the box office.

Buoyed by good reviews, “Def Poetry Jam” defied the usual opening-week press-comp slump to post Broadway’s biggest increase. The Russell Simmons show jumped $53,745, up a whopping 65.9%. Yes, it grossed only $135,326, but with that top preview ticket expanding from $30 to $65, Broadway could be looking at the season’s most unlikely hit.

And all those bad notices have not translated into an early exit for “Hollywood Arms.” Considering most shows’ B.O. decrease last week, the $33,659 uptick for this Carol Burnett bioplay looks downright encouraging. Final tally came to $269,852, with room to grow into that $497,572 gross potential.

Other gainers included “Dance of the Vampires” ($764,901), “Metamorphoses” ($186,989) and “Prune Danish” ($319,280), which put in its best session to date.

Considering the B.O. climate, three shows’ tiny four-figure dips can be interpreted as simply marking time: “Flower Drum Song” ($633,708), “Frankie & Johnny” ($450,010) and “Proof” ($223,036).

Elsewhere, there was more than autumn leaves falling from those trees. Under the top 10, biggest slippage came from “Phantom of the Opera” ($454,590) with its $100,827 freefall, followed by the $96,527 plummet for “Beauty and the Beast” ($531,135) and the $68,743 slide for “Oklahoma!” ($561,965).

Smaller five-figure decreases affected “Cabaret” ($341,551), “Chicago” ($450,119), “The Goat” ($246,181), “Into the Woods” ($285,210), “Les Miserables” ($382,700), “Rent” ($389,629), “Say Goodnight Gracie” ($150,304) and “Urinetown” ($268,568).

Curiously, Kathleen Turner’s final week in “The Graduate” did not create a stampede to take a gander at her. Down $19,664, she grossed $317,174.

Broadway Inner Circle announced it would be offering premium-price tickets for Disney’s “Aida” and “The Lion King,” beginning Dec. 1. Other shows already in its high-priced circle include “Flower Drum Song,” “Hairspray,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Movin’ Out,” “The Producers” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

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