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B’way continues to heat up in July

Most shows were up; 'Dirty' sees big increase

Broadway continues its recovery from the Fourth of July doldrums. Receipts were up $632,054, or 4.04%, for a record-setting tally of $16,268,710. That’s up about $800,000 from the mid-July 2004 total. Paid attendance then came to 233,403; last week it was 239,051.

Most shows were up, although there were negligible dips for the twin behemoths “Wicked” ($1,297,582), down $4,674, and “Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($994,240), down $15,823. Both shows continued at 100%-plus.

More significant was the $18,512 slide for “The Pillowman” ($308,415), which is not following in the footsteps of “Doubt” ($550,109). The John Patrick Shanley play saw its receipts increase $22,310, setting yet another house record at the Walter Kerr, but saw its capacity shrunk to 91% from its usual 99.9%-plus. Discounts from the show’s original direct-mail campaign ended the previous week. Capacity at the Martin McDonagh play shrunk to 75.1%.

There was also minor slippage at “Jackie Mason: Freshly Squeezed” ($109,212), “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ($217,900), on its seven-perf sked, and “Movin’ Out” ($457,856), which a year ago was doing $210,000 more a week.

In the top 10, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” ($851,970) saw the week’s biggest increase, up $91,162, to put in its second highest-grossing session to date and its best capacity numbers: 98.1%. Doing 99.8% in mid-July, “The Phantom of the Opera” ($814,857) continues to be reborn each week. Receipts there were up $37,748 from the previous week. From a year ago, receipts have grown a whopping $180,000.

Under the top 10, “Spelling Bee” ($468,314), up $17,689, set another house record at Circle in the Square. Direct-mail ticket discounts ended the previous session.

“All Shook Up” ($512,916) and “Avenue Q” ($458,343) had small four-figure upticks. Elsewhere, there were bigger but still modest five-figure gains for “The Light in the Piazza” ($541,511), “Sweet Charity” ($521,101), “Chicago” ($491,087), “Fiddler on the Roof” ($445,062) and the previewing “Lennon” ($342,338), which played to 51.7% capacity, earning a $68.95 average-price ticket. Gross potential looms at $793,462.

Summer tourists aren’t supposed to like plays, but there were upticks at “Glengarry Glen Ross” ($435,032), “Steel Magnolias” ($160,039) and “Primo” ($311,699), which did seven perfs instead of the previous week’s four. Receipts gained $162,733 on the strength of strong reviews as well as more perfs.

“The Blonde in the Thunderbird” ($71,713) found another $27,041 despite its heavily comped preem night and an $11.02 average-price ticket. Just for the record: Those numbers don’t make the Suzanne Somers solo show the lowest-grossing production in recent memory. During its opening (and closing) week in early May 2004, “Prymate” made $41,093.

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