Warmer weather fails to heat Broadway

It wasn’t just the weather. Broadway’s box office continued to inhabit the storm cellar despite balmier weather last week.

Twenty-three shows brought in $11,096,332, down a big $1,228,884 or 9.97% percent. Paid attendance came to 171,437, which compares with 195,779 a year ago and 188,299 in 2003 for the first week of February. Even without the new “special ticket prices,” Broadway back then produced richer tallies: $12.55 million in 2004 and $11.82 million in 2003.

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” ($545,490) put in its first eight previews, playing to 72.5% capacity. Considering the general decimation of Broadway, its biz was decent, if not boffo. Gross potential at the Imperial is $946,981.

The only two shows to improve their receipts over the previous week were “Gem of the Ocean” ($295,381), which gained $71,834 and closed Feb. 6. Also, “Good Vibrations” ($335,506) grew $66,466 on the strength of a full eight-perf sked. The previous week, the new Beach Boys tuner put in seven, one of which was a heavily comped party perf (Jan. 27). Downbeat reviews helped limit capacity to 63.1% last week.

But that was not the lowest cap numbers on Broadway. The faltering “Brooklyn” ($194,908) dipped an ominous $56,151 and played to only 47% capacity.

Down $30,571, “Dame Edna” ($230,181) did 52.9%. Off $53,017, “Rent” ($243,723) did 52.1%.

The musical-revival genre continues to suffer. “La Cage aux Folles” ($443,057) took the biggest hit last week, down $128,186 and playing to 60.8% after only two months on the boards.

By comparison, the “Fiddler on the Roof” ($521,935) revisit almost looks robust in its second year. Receipts there were off $47,857.

In its second week out of the shoot, “Little Women” ($415,579) didn’t let its newness get in the way of a $37,432 drop.

Down five figures each, “Beauty and the Beast” ($452,382), “Avenue Q” ($430,042) and “Chicago” ($340,781) put in their lowest-grossing numbers for winter 2005.

Plays were not immune to the downward trend. “Democracy” ($253,086) plunged $49,019, performing at 60.6% capacity.

“Brooklyn Boy” ($160,893) kept the damage to $2,674 in the face of heavily comped critics previews and preem night.

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