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B’way B.O. reports post-holiday hangover

Paid attendance came to 208,039, but tuners up

A big New Year’s holiday made for a big tumble on Broadway last week.

Twenty-seven shows brought in $14,079,707, down a huge 31.15% or $6,370,153 from the previous week. Can’t blame too much of that decline on “Cabaret,” “The Caretaker” and “Take Me Out,” all of which shuttered Jan. 4. That trio accounted for only a third of the dollar drop.

Was it the cold snap? Paid attendance came to 208,039. The first full week of the new year traditionally welcomes about 10,000 more theatergoers than that. In 2003, 30 shows saw 236,261 paying customers and a heftier $14.8 million at the B.O.

The overall weakness can be seen in the top 10 list, which put “Henry IV” ($509,232) in the No. 9 spot. While it’s nice to see a class act up there, when’s the last time Shakespeare made the chart?

Tuners going strong

“The Producers” ($1,372,735), “The Lion King” ($1,106,482), “Wicked” ($1,018,069) and “Mamma Mia!” ($935,786) weathered the cold, but “Hairspray” ($855,697) fell to 86.8% capacity. But its average ticket price of $86.26 remained the second highest on Broadway, after the $99.56 for the Mel Brooks tuner, which had its best non-holiday week.

Compared with a year ago, “The Phantom of the Opera” ($499,198), “Rent” ($338,780) and “Urinetown” ($271,210) were up a few bucks. Under the top 10, “Aida” ($497,285) and “Beauty and the Beast” ($469,654) were off by five-figure sums, while “42nd Street” ($479,155) and “Thoroughly Modern Millie” ($471,067) had a good six figures knocked off their early-January 2003 tallies.

As for newer fare, “Gypsy” ($459,666) fell a scary $320,032 from the previous week. Off $89,158, “Avenue Q” ($403,970) still managed one of its higher grossing weeks and looks safe for the winter.

Other tuners took in somewhat fewer dollars: “Little Shop of Horrors” ($396,068), “Never Gonna Dance” ($350,598) and “Taboo” ($281,333), the lowest grossing musical on the boards.

Which brings us to plays.

‘Cat’ loses its meow

While the Bard rocked, Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” ($373,809) put in its weakest numbers to date.

As for non-revivals, who would have thought “I Am My Own Wife” ($186,046) would be the highest-grossing new play on Broadway? It slid just $12,039 from the holiday week. “Golda’s Balcony” ($181,582) also took a modest drop, down $18,457.

The other numbers weren’t pretty: “Anna in the Tropics” ($167,289) and “The Retreat From Moscow” ($164,786).

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