Xmas clips B’way B.O.

Saturday Christmas stifles Broadway take

NEW YORK — There was no year-end bonus for Broadway.

With Christmas falling on Saturday, the lucrative weekend perfs were adversely affected. A few shows even skipped a matinee in favor of a seven-perf sked this week. Thirty-one shows brought in $15,929,885, down $14,349 (0.09%) from the previous session. By comparison, Christmas week 2003 and 2002 saw respective cumes of $19.1 million and $21.3 million, thanks to a midweek holiday.

The slippage from the previous week would have been more pronounced without “Good Vibrations” ($255,720), which did its first seven previews.

A few shows bucked the overall trend to find more dollars in their stockings.

Up $165,881, “The Lion King” ($1,328,128) reclaimed the No. 1 spot, pushing aside “Wicked” ($1,266,203), which had been atop the heap for 23 straight weeks. An added $10 apiece ticket prices pushed the Disney show to its best week to date. “Wicked” missed its B.O. peak (Nov. 22-28) by less than $8,000.

In the No. 12 slot, “Avenue Q” ($547,331) set a house record at the Golden Theater. (Star John Tartaglia will play his last perf Jan. 30.) Gaining $49,603, “700 Sundays” ($787,205) put in its top-grossing session.

“The Phantom of the Opera” ($855,144) succeeded in nearly replicating its 2003 holiday numbers, off only $4,000 from a year ago. All those movie ads could be having a spillover effect: Up $186,643, “Phantom” gained more than any other show on the boards last week.

A handful of shows managed to increase their receipts despite putting in one fewer perf. Shows seeing more money for less work included “Hairspray” ($810,923); “Movin’ Out” ($655,903); “Fiddler on the Roof” ($631,651); and “Bombay Dreams” ($505,651), up $90,932 in its penultimate week.

Under the top 10, the reduced seven-perf sked took its toll on “La Cage aux Folles” ($540,236); the previewing “Little Women” ($416,332); “Pacific Overtures” ($274,935); and “Democracy” ($344,712), which dropped $91,637.

Less affected were “Rent” ($399,338) and “Twelve Angry Men” ($323,976), which experienced respective decreases of only $8,017 and $7,241.

Shows that kept to their eight-perf skeds weren’t necessarily spared the holiday blues. Five-figure downticks were recorded at “Gem of the Ocean” ($205,342); “The Rivals” ($204,977); “Dracula” ($200,002); and “Brooklyn” ($220,834), which fell $54,581, putting it only $20,000 above its reported stop-clause number.

Sometimes there’s no comfort in numbers. The four lowest-grossing shows featured only five performers: “Whoopi” ($142,200); “Golda’s Balcony” ($138,445); “Mario Cantone: Laugh Whore” ($136,994); and “‘night, Mother” ($90,994), which fell $69,266.

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