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B’way’s little nap

Amid falling receipts, 'Journey' keeps rising

Broadway took its usual nap between Memorial Day and the Tonys fete. Actually, it was a slightly deeper B.O. sleep than usual, as receipts fell $1,724,838, or 11.40%, from the previous week.

Twenty-nine shows produced $13,408,261, with paid attendance coming in at 213,627. Although last week’s combined grosses set a record, the latter number is down 10,000-25,000 from recent Broadway seasons.

Clear away the noise about the old season’s record $720 million tally: Fact remains that few productions in Week One of the 2003-04 season look poised for a long run beyond the June 8 Tony Awards.

A paltry four shows improved on the Memorial Day session — and two of those apparently benefited from imminent closings.

‘Love’ works

“Look of Love” ($221,912) and “Salome” ($431,259) improved about $6,000 each, with the Al Pacino starrer only $18,000 under its gross potential for six performances.

More meaningful for the long run was the $16,837 bounce delivered to “Nine” ($628,570), which operated just $15,000 under its gross potential.

Even bigger news is the continued success of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” ($603,178), up $49,451 and the first play to land on the Top 10 chart (No. 8) this year. Its cume for the first session of 2003-04 topped any play’s weekly gross from the 2002-03 season. (Old record holder: “Long Day’s Journey” taking in $553,727 during May 18-25.) Amazingly, the show’s average price ticket of $84.38 is currently second highest on Broadway, just under the $84.72 recorded for “Hairspray” ($969,876), which sold out, as did “Nine.” “Journey” might have hit 100% cap, too, but Vanessa Redgrave was out one perf due to the death of her mother, Rachel Kempson.

Nosedives

All other shows saw declines, some huge. For the first time in its one-year-plus run, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” ($529,908) fell off the Top Ten chart completely, dropping $174,934 to the No. 11 spot.

Now the longest-running show on Broadway, “The Phantom of the Opera” ($524,567) went to No. 12 despite a $60,136 plunge at the box office.

That decline looks robust compared with the six-figure plummets afflicting “Aida” ($498,264), “Beauty and the Beast” ($390,149), “42nd Street” ($588,491), “La Boheme” ($486,085), “Man of La Mancha” ($481,070) and “Rent” ($280,069).

Under the Top 10, five-figure retreats put several shows within close range of their weakest numbers to date: “Cabaret” ($297,909), “Enchanted April” ($143,158), “Life (x) 3” ($231,473), “Say Goodnight, Gracie” ($91,941), “Urinetown” ($246,189) and “Year With Frog and Toad” ($147,984).

Add to that list the B.O.-baffling drama known as “Take Me Out” ($186,792), which slid $47,682, despite winning a ton of awards last month. Will the Tony help?

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