B’way back on top

Denzel's Shakespeare stint selling well

Finally, Broadway has moved back into record-setting territory. Twenty-eight shows brought in $14,587,903, up $2,010,749 or 15.99% from the previous session. A year ago, Broadway took in $14.48 million. Paid admissions, however, have continued to lag: 221,791 last week vs. 225,011 a year earlier.

Previewing productions showed definite promise.

New to the block is the Denzel Washington starrer “Julius Caesar” ($545,149), which looks like a Billy Crystal-size hit. The production’s first eight previews at the Belasco Theater landed somewhere between what “700 Sundays” did in its first four previews ($492,474) and its second six previews ($635,476) at the larger Broadhurst Theater. In comparison, “A Raisin in the Sun” with Sean Combs produced somewhat less in its first eight previews ($393,732), but went on to consistently gross more than $600,000 per week in spring-summer 2004. The average ticket price on “Julius Caesar” came to an inspiring $80.98, the third highest on Broadway after “Wicked’s” $83.64 and the $102 for “700 Sundays.”

No ‘Doubt’

Performing its first six, “Doubt” ($241,812) also came to Broadway, where its gross potential stood at $414,299. The John Patrick Shanley play had an average ticket price of $56.25, vs. $58.80 for “The Glass Menagerie” ($319,855), which saw its receipts increase slightly, up $8,197.

“All Shook Up” ($416,081) continued with its seven-preview sked, its receipts growing $49,216. It played to 85.3% capacity, its numbers pumped by a low $41.58 average ticket.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ($97,847) put in only two weekend previews.

Under the top 10, the movement was all upward except for the endangered “Democracy” ($155,399), down $27,605, and “Good Vibrations” ($264,336), down $6,786. “Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance” ($205,274) also looked wobbly, her gross off $9,554.

At Manhattan Theater Club, “Brooklyn Boy” ($205,333) fell $17,286 due to a comped student matinee.

Otherwise, there were plumper tallies all around.

Biggest gain came to “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” ($622,965), which rose $140,363 in its first full week of regular perfs. Its gross pushed “Fiddler on the Roof” ($608,203) off the top 10 chart despite a $70,356 bounce there.

Five-figure increases also benefited “Movin’ Out” ($530,931), “Chicago” ($515,707), “Avenue Q” ($481,607), “Rent” ($386,631), “Little Women” ($348,417), “Brooklyn” ($232,185) and “La Cage aux Folles” ($479,106), which gained the most of this bunch, its receipts up $89,077.

Up $4,847, “Twelve Angry Men” ($253,684) continued its extended run under the Roundabout umbrella.

Big mama

“Little Women,” currently playing at Broadway’s Virginia Theater, will take to the road Aug. 30. Producers Ken Gentry, Randall Wreghitt and Dani Davis have announced a 30-city tour with headliner Maureen McGovern. Currently starring in the Broadway production, the actress will reprise the role of Marmee on the road. “Little Women” is set to play San Diego’s Civic Theater (Aug. 30-Sept. 4), then continue with dates in San Jose, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla; and Washington, D.C., among other cities.

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