B'way sees downturn; 'Fortune,' 'Graduate' buck trend

Can the city bring back its Spend Your Regards to Broadway subsidy program?

Daylight-saving time took its usual king-size bite out of the box office: Last week, 33 shows brought in $13,048,066, down $2,074,725 or 13.72% from the previous session. (Comparisons to last year are moot, since the time-change in April 2001 coincided with the Easter holiday, which helped to soften the blow.)

Despite the overall downturn, three new plays posted gains. As proof of the value of the Pulitzer Prize, “Topdog/Underdog” saw a spectacular triple increase over the previous week’s numbers. Up $161,041, Suzan-Lori Parks’ two-hander took in $242,908, making it the fifth highest-grossing play on Broadway. With 13 straight plays now on the boards, that’s downright boffo for a non-star package that had been doing only five figures in previews. Last week’s wrap is reported at just under $700,000!

Also new to the boards, “Fortune’s Fool” grossed $266,992, up $38,474 from its previous opening-night session. Likewise, “The Graduate” continued to climb. Up $21,596, the movie redux did $453,133, just $40,000 under its gross potential.

Downturn at B.O.

Other new plays were down five figures each: “Metamorphoses” took in $220,886; “The Goat,” $122,507; and “Smell of the Kill,” $50,129.

“Noises Off” recorded its lowest grossing session to date. Off $99,101, the Michael Frayn revival came up with $255,141, doing just 60% capacity.

The Sept. 11 aftermath aside, other shows also hit their respective B.O. bottoms: “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” made $226,117; “Proof,” $211,729; and “Contact,” $277,457.

Six-figure declines were registered at such top-grossing tuners as “Aida,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “42nd Street” and “Oklahoma!”

The longest-running shows, however, were hardest hit: Down more than $200,000 each, “Les Miserables” and “The Phantom of the Opera” grossed $347,053 and $464,165, respectively. Those figures are comparable to non-holiday biz the two tuners did in January/February. Same is true of “Rent,” which fell $98,539 to close with $318,715. Meanwhile, “The Full Monty” dropped $97,459 to end with $368,215, which is a little lower than its January/February averages.

In comparison, the $61,753 drop recorded by “Urinetown” looks minor, but the tuner’s total now rests at just $207,944, with capacity at a borderline 56.1%.

“Into the Woods” started previews, with $102,277 to show for two previews.

“The Lion King” managed to sell out, with “The Producers” doing 99% and “Mamma Mia!” at 97.2%.

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