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Broadway biz down in pre-holiday slump

'Night' shines bright, while 'Fela!' gets fuel

Holiday parties, travel plans and Christmas shopping took their traditional bite out of Broadway grosses last week, with all but a small handful of shows seeing significant drops.

The street’s most resilient entry was “A Little Night Music,” which opened Dec. 13 to mixed reviews, albeit generally containing positive notes for stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury. The musical revival scored perfect 100% attendance, grossing $938,469 to become the sixth-highest earner of the frame.

Perennial top-grosser “Wicked” was off by a negligible 1%, adding $1,604,791 to its $433.4 million cume the same week it became the 20th longest-running show in the Rialto record books.

Seasonal return engagement “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” fell by 13% but hung onto its spot in the millionaire’s club with $1,107,916.

Pointing up the early trickle of holiday tourists, family-friendly shows “The Lion King” ($1,489,984) and “Shrek the Musical” ($841,292) posted slight upticks. Afrobeat tuner “Fela!” ($571,489) continued to build on its strong reviews with a 10% hike, while “Ragtime” ($540,830) also showed some improvement with a 4% bump.

Total receipts for the week ended Sunday were $19,707,043 for 29 shows. While grosses were consistent with the same week last year, when 31 productions were running, attendance for the current session was off by close to 16,000. Week 30 is invariably a down period on Broadway prior to the upsurge in Main Stem theatergoing over Christmas and New Years.

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