Heat wave puts chill on B’way’s box office

Broadway B.O. feeling heat

Heat waves can sometimes send people running into air-conditioned movie theaters. That sudden urge to get cool did not, however, help Broadway’s box office. Instead of continuing its traditional recovery from the July 4 lull, legit B.O. retreated $55,414, or 0.34% from the previous session.

Fifteen of 29 shows took a dip; then again, 11 did better than 90% capacity. Overall, the $16,213,296 tally was a record setter for the mid-July sesh. Even the 238,239 in paid attendance was up from previous years.

Also on the plus side, mighty “Wicked” ($1,307,492), up $9,910, set another house record at the Gershwin.

The solo show “Primo” ($363,806) enjoyed the week’s biggest increase, up $52,107, 16.7% from the previous week. That’s good enough biz to warrant an extension to Aug. 14.

School’s out on both ends of the spectrum: The one for tots, “Beauty and the Beast” ($716,364), rose $26,526; the college crowd caused “Rent” ($424,899) to grow even more, up $42,798.

“The Light in the Piazza” ($559,138) put in its best week to date, playing to 91.4% capacity at Lincoln Center. Up $17,627, the new tuner pulled into the No. 11 spot on the B.O. chart.

Elsewhere under the top 10, most of the upticks in receipts were smaller in dollars. But at least the following shows were up: “Avenue Q” ($467,749); “Chicago” ($484,032); and “Steel Magnolias” ($168,672), which closes Sunday.

‘Blonde’ bust

The now-famous $11.86 average-price ticket for “The Blonde in the Thunderbird” ($75,860) created a hummingbirdlike $4,687 uptick over the previous heavily comped preem week. The QVC-inspired show closed Saturday.

Down $20,144, “All Shook Up” ($492,802) played to 77% capacity, but at the cost of the week’s lowest average-price ticket for a tuner: $46.90. Other tuners also dipped: “Fiddler on the Roof” ($422,627) and “Sweet Charity” ($507,185) were off by five figures; “Movin’ Out” ($456,405) and the previewing “Lennon” ($339,713) kept the damage to four figures.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” ($467,260) was off $1,054, but played to 102.8% capacity. Thanks to premium-price tickets, its receipts were about $11,000 over gross potential.

The summer heat had more adverse affect on the plays: Most were down, including “Glengarry Glen Ross” ($419,664); “The Constant Wife” ($275,081); “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” ($178,925 on a seven-perf sked); and “The Pillowman” ($296,443), which recently sent out another direct-mail. Receipts there were off $11,972.

Even the more popular “Doubt” ($532,594) took a sizable tumble, down $17,515. Capacity there came to 89.1% after weeks at 99.9%. “Glengarry” and “Pillowman” did 70%-plus each, while “Woolf” shrunk to 45.9%.

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