Labor Day offers upswing before fall downturn

Most Broadway shows saw modest increases at the box office last week, getting a Labor Day weekend boost before the upcoming back-to-school downturn.

Heading into its final frame on the boards, “Rent” ($796,662) was up a hefty $160,000 as auds turned out to catch the show before its Sept. 7 closing. “Monty Python’s Spamalot” ($642,920) benefited from holiday traffic by climbing a healthy $125,000, while “Gypsy” ($757,129) stepped up by almost $100,000.

Other tourist-friendly tuners posting gains included “Mary Poppins” ($939,867), rising more than $60,000, and “Chicago” ($604,213), capping off a relatively robust summer by playing to 93% capacity. Tony-winning play “August: Osage County” ($551,883) bumped up about $45,000.

The street’s total cume, however, was off, falling $180,000 to $17.2 million for 24 shows on the boards (or about $18 million including estimated grosses for “Young Frankenstein”). Drop can largely be attributed to the absence of recently shuttered “Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy,” as well as the fact that “The Phantom of the Opera” ($483,917) played only four perfs due to a scheduled upgrade of the Majestic Theater’s sound system.

Also off was “Grease” ($570,245), which played only seven perfs due to an air conditioner malfunction that scuttled the production’s Sunday night show.

Otherwise, losses were mostly unremarkable.

The only previewing tuner on the Rialto, “A Tale of Two Cities” ($412,356), played to 72% capacity auds in its second week of previews, on the way toward a Sept. 18 opening.

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