B’way B.O. seeing mid-July fireworks

Griffith entry jazzes up 'Chicago' perf on B'way

Broadway continued its recovery from the Fourth of July week to set a record for this mid-month frame. Twenty-three shows brought in $13,799,929, up $531,124 or 4% from the previous post-holiday session.

Last year, week eight of the season brought in a slightly less stellar $13.3 million despite having seven more productions on the boards. Understandably, paid attendance lagged in the frame at 205,683, down 16,000 from product-heavy 2002.

Broadway’s current success can be attributed to a slew of B.O. blockbusters, a whopping seven of which sold out. “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” ($673,705) and “Nine” ($772,375) put in their best weeks to date, with average price tickets at $88.67 and $89.82, respectively. That’s top of the pack, making for house records at both the Plymouth and the Eugene O’Neill.

Meanwhile, “Mamma Mia!” ($1,035,380) had its top-grossing session of 2003, while “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” up $127,110 to$724,055, experienced the week’s biggest rebound.

Critics don’t take a look for another two weeks, but audiences are already packing the theater: Melanie Griffith in “Chicago” ($661,393) raised the temperature there by $56,527 in her first full week of perfs. All eight sold out, setting a house record at the Ambassador.

Under the top 10, there were a few other significant five-figure increases at the box office: “Beauty and the Beast” ($618,716), up $81,157; “The Phantom of the Opera” ($642,208), up $47,049; “Rent” ($379,667), up $47,791; and “Man of La Mancha” ($513,599), up $56,103 but calling it quits Aug. 31 to avoid the September blahs.

Seeing smaller B.O. upticks were “Big River” ($207,445), “Cabaret” ($342,887), “Enchanted April” ($180,170), “Say Goodnight Gracie” ($99,770) and “Take Me Out” ($322,679), which continues to perform a good six figures above its pre-Tony-win level.

Down $2,086, “Urinetown” ($297,649) took one of the week’s uncharacteristic tumbles.

In previews, tuner transfer “Avenue Q” ($143,314) increased the workload from three to eight perfs, with an additional $96,266 to show for it.

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