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Spring buoys B’way but B.O. lags behind 2000

Total gross dips nearly 10% below last year's perf

The potent combo of spring break and nice weather sent the B.O. soaring 13.5% over the previous week — up $1,500,253 — for a total of $12,531,860. However, a cloud on the horizon remains as box office figures a year ago this session stood at $13,404,530 for 28 shows, compared with 29 now on the boards.

For the second week in a row, total gross has dipped nearly 10% below last year’s performance. Prior to this month, the current season’s figures had been outpacing those in 2000 by nearly 15%.

Most shows improved, with the $119,246 gain for “Annie Get Your Gun” being the biggest for productions doing regular-perf duty. It closed at $763,713 on a gross potential of $910,495. “Les Miserables” experienced the other six-figure jump, up $109,285 for a close of $554,184 on its $753,761 potential. Other significant upticks were seen at “Aida” (up $96,164), “Kiss Me, Kate” ($83,571), “The Phantom of the Opera” (up $98,200) and “Riverdance” (up $80,964).

In its first full week of regular performances, “A Class Act” expanded by $49,890 for a finish of $189,643, its G.P. looming far overhead at $474,553. It performed at 77.01% of capacity.

In previews, “Follies” went from four to eight perfs and had an extra $182,986 to show for it. The revival closed at $390,635 at the 1,018-seat Belasco Theatre.

With the kids out of school and Cathy Rigby in the cast, “Seussical” rose $67,298 to finish with $357,417 on its potential of $755,427. “Rent” also enjoyed the rush of students, who brought the show’s cap to 100.32%. For some reason, the vacationing teachers who teach those students did not flock to the oft-taught classic “Jane Eyre,” which fell $10,040 to close at $255,252 on its potential of $595,549.

Other shows that lost minor ground include the previewing and heavily comped “Design for Living,” which opened Thursday; “The Rocky Horror Show”; “The Lion King,” which sold out nonetheless; and “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life,” which played only four perfs.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” put in its first three previews, which produced a total of $148,554. Clocking in a full eight previews, “Bells Are Ringing” rang up $263,839.

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