Biz down; ‘Caesar’ 625g

Broadway hot for May, but off from prior week

With nearly every midtown theater occupied, Broadway had no problem setting a record for the early May frame during Week 49 (May 2-8). Thirty-six shows brought in $17,228,111. The bad news: Total receipts were off $994,202 from the previous week. Paid attendance came to 257,346. These lofty numbers stack up against $14.5 million and 226,137 in May 2004, and $13.9 million and 225,123 in May 2003.

Although most shows went south, “Glengarry Glen Ross” ($400,745) had no trouble bucking the downward trend. Buoyed by rave reviews, receipts there jumped $111,106 coming off the revival’s preem week. Gross potential looms at $673,276.

Other upticks were less spectacular. Under the top 10, “Julius Caesar” ($625,292) grew $31,336, setting a house record at the Belasco. For the fourth straight week, “On Golden Pond” ($268,230) continued its upswing, counting another $27,395 in its coffers. “Avenue Q” ($463,457), “Steel Magnolias” ($209,872) and “Freshly Squeezed” ($124,356) scored minor bumps.

So, too, did “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” ($313,492), which achieved the rare feat of increasing receipts $4,061 during its heavily comped preem week. The middle-school tuner played to 83.8% capacity, earning a nice $68.40 average-price ticket.

For some shows, late April/early May can be as tough at the box office as September or January. Huge six-figure decreases plagued “The Producers” ($761,681), “Hairspray” ($651,228), “Fiddler on the Roof” ($439,395) and new vehicle on the block “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” ($663,764), which was off the most: down $200,673 and losing nearly 25% of its previous week’s gross.

The 23 musicals grossed $12,860,262 for 74.6% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 193,258 at 77.7% of capacity.

The 13 plays grossed $4,367,849 for 25.4% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 64,088 at 69.1% of capacity.

Average ticket prices were $66.54 for musicals, $68.15 for plays and $66.95 for all shows.

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