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B’way takes chill pill as heat wave hits B.O.

Grosses down, only eight shows improved

Gotham’s heat wave must have sent at least a few potential theatergoers running out of town. Broadway saw its overall gross wilt by $388,526 — down 2.9% — for a final total of $12,837,401. On the bright side, those mid-August figures are nearly $600,000 above those of the record-setting summer of 2000, though there are 26 shows on the boards right now compared to 23 a year ago. Only eight shows improved, including the brand-new “If You Ever Leave Me.” The comedy opened Aug. 6 and grossed $149,957 for the week, up $6,574 over the previous session. It’s Broadway’s biggest bargain, with an average ticket price of only $35.14. Gross potential at the Cort Theater is $434,440, with “Leave Me” doing 49.4% capacity there.

Also registering minor improvements were “Blast!” (up $19,745), “Cabaret” (up $10,773), “Contact” (up $3,153), “The Producers” (up $6,980), “Rent” (up $16,578) and two shows about to close: “Riverdance” (up $27,858) and “Fosse” (up $23,414).

Missed target

“Annie Get Your Gun” saw the biggest drop of the week, down $86,730 to land at $446,421, the show’s lowest figures since Crystal Bernard took over from Reba McEntire.

Robert Sean Leonard’s first week in “The Music Man” produced a decline of $84,083, bringing the total to $506,066, which is in the territory of Eric McCormack’s first sessions in the tuner last May.

Luke Perry left “The Rocky Horror Show” on Aug. 4, with Jarrod Emich back as Brad. Grosses fell $42,728 last week followed by the previous week’s $47,858 decline. Tally now stands at $199,771 on a gross potential of $440,964.

Sizable declines were also seen at the long-running “Les Miserables” (down $39,985) and “Chicago” (down $44,545).

‘Major’ in step

The Roundabout’s “Major Barbara” basically marked time, with a minor $4,319 downturn at the box office. B.O. came to $268,930, which is only $4,000 under last August’s tally for the Nathan Lane starrer “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

“42nd Street” held its own, falling a mere $2,643. On a potential of $1,009,892, the revival actually grossed $886,119 –good enough to achieve 101.1% capacity, with the average ticket at $68.08.

Higher averages were seen at “The Full Monty” ($69.61), “The Lion King” ($70.51) and “The Producers” ($78.55). The latter two sold out while the strip tuner did 89.6% capacity.

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