B’way’s hot summer

Even off 10%, July 4 sesh hits record sum

Broadway grosses fell 10% to $16,069,360 last week, but that total was without four shows that closed the previous week, and it still demolished the previous record for the traditionally tepid July 4 weekend. Frame continued the wickets’ hottest summer in recent years, coming just after the four weeks of June earned a total of $70 million.

Though the record does not account for inflation, last week’s gross clearly overpowered 2004’s Independence Week take of $14.7 million and 2003’s $12.8 million.

Also, the four shows that closed the previous week — “La Cage aux Folles,” “Brooklyn,” “Mark Twain Tonight” and “On Golden Pond” — brought in a total of $1,047,675 during that week, which is almost three-fifths of the $1,788,286 hit Broadway took the following week.

Attendance was down 9% to 238,943, which bested the July 4 week in both 2004 (234,017) and 2003 (202,476).

Still, 23 of the 29 returning shows took losses. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” had the biggest gain the previous week but had the biggest loss last week by far, dropping $168,002 to $835,148.

Other shows suffering big losses were “Fiddler on the Roof” (down $70,585 to $460,798), “Beauty and the Beast” (down $56,047 to $661,340) and “Hairspray” (down $51,241 to $752,875).

The biggest gainer was “Wicked,” which rose $25,167 to $1,290,478, the show’s best week ever and a Gershwin Theater house record. Last week was the first time “Wicked” had a full week in three cities at once (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles), and the trio combined to earn $4.2 million.

Also setting house records were “Monty Python’s Spamalot” (up $21,180 to $989,524) and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (up $14,073 to $451,332).

“The Glass Menagerie” rose $7,446 to $194,023 in its final week. “The Constant Wife” ($274,432) and “The Lion King” ($1,203,554) were up a hair as well to round out the six shows that saw increases.

Also closing were nonprofit productions “A Streetcar Named Desire” (down $24,802 to $293,214) and “After the Night and the Music” (down $24,615 to $156,837).

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