‘Boys’ buoys B’way

B.O. looks good for fall

Broadway seems to have shaken off its back-to-school doldrums a little early this year, with total grosses rising by more than $1.1 million to $15,076,630.

Helping buoy this year’s fall figures, of course, is a top ticket price of $110 for many big tuners (which didn’t become widespread until late 2005), and this week’s sesh is bolstered by the boffo final week for “The History Boys” ($799,293). Still, tally looks like a solid rise for the frame: Since 2002, Rialto sales have hovered in the $11 million-$12 million range during the last week of September.

“The Times They Are a-Changin'” ($342,274) was the one new entry on the boards, kicking off its initial week of previews with middling sales.

In its second week, the revival of “A Chorus Line” ($740,884) dipped just a hair but remained strong. Meanwhile, nonprofit productions of “Heartbreak House” ($232,195) and “Lousing Louie” ($164,098), also in their second weeks, gained minimal traction.

But the majority of the 24 shows on Broadway saw increases at the B.O. “The Lion King” ($972,501), which has suffered a few slow weeks lately, clawed its way back into the top three, taking the third slot behind “Wicked” ($1,383,737) and still-hot “Jersey Boys” ($1,166,937).

“Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($891,641) rose about $95,000 last week, while over at “Chicago” ($812,457), replacement star Usher pulled in his biggest numbers yet for the show.

Below the top 10, “Hairspray” ($548,495) and “The Producers” ($534,251) both climbed back up from their dips below $500,000. Newer additions to the Rialto, such as “Tarzan” ($577,748), “The Wedding Singer” ($473,626), and “Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me” ($459,963), continued to plug along.

And bringing up the rear, “Jay Johnson: The Two and Only” brought in just $53,424 in its opening week, even though it played to 75% capacity crowds — making the average paid admission for the ventriloquist act about $15, a price more at home Off Off Broadway than on it.

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