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Two dozen shows draw B’way best

Boards boom to $14.8 mil, includes eight sellouts

Two dozen shows brought in a record-setting cume of $14,758,690 last week — an especially impressive feat considering that recent past seasons have seen 29 to 30 productions on the boards during the late-June session.

The figure built on the previous week’s tally, with the overall total up $256,177 or 1.77%. Paid attendance came in at 223,831, up 1,000 from a year ago when there were five more shows up and running.

Blame it on a lack of competition? Shows broke the house records at no fewer than four theaters: “Chicago” ($602,618) at the Ambassador, “Gypsy” ($903,525) at the Shubert, “Nine” ($688,997) at the Eugene O’Neill, and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” ($657,133) at the Plymouth.

That quartet joined “Hairspray” ($1,004,035), “The Lion King” ($1,116,842), “Mamma Mia!” ($1,105,449) and “Movin’ Out” ($793,157) to make for eight sold-out shows! Not bad for a non-holiday week. Christmas 2002 propelled six shows to capacity. Or think of it this way: One-third of all Broadway shows went clean last week.

A class act all the way, “La Boheme” ($832,134) saw the biggest increase, up $99,765 in its last session. The show’s final weekly cume was its sixth best over a 28-week run.

The Sunday closing date worked no wonders, however, for “Life (x) 3” ($258,049), which dropped $16,288. There were similar five-figure decreases at “42nd Street” ($730,692), “Man of La Mancha” ($564,743) and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” ($723,629). “Aida” ($620,928) fell an insignificant $4,954.

Under the top 10, everything else experienced equally minor to middling gains: “Beauty and the Beast” ($647,949), “Cabaret” ($348,666), “Enchanted April” ($191,986), “Master Harold … and the Boys” ($279,416), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($632,928), “Rent” ($396,019), “Say Goodnight Gracie” ($100,199), “Take Me Out” ($336,301) and “Urinetown” ($323,092).

This week, several shows will be dark the Fourth of July, performing this past Monday or July 6. How has the theater fared in the recent past during Broadway’s least favorite holiday week? Receipts dropped 7.04% in 2002, 2.4% in 2001 and 9.86% in 2000.

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