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March can be cruelest B’way month

Broadway sees B.O. slump

On Broadway, March always comes in like a lamb, never like a B.O. lion. Last week was no exception, as 25 shows brought in $12,577,154, down $2,515,508 or 16.67%.

A year ago, the early-March time frame did only marginally better, producing $12.85 million in receipts. Paid attendance then was 200,168 vs. last week’s 193,661.

Broadway has certainly seen worse numbers for early March. Two years ago, the musicians’ strike KO’d a weekend of performances.

Last week, only two shows increased their receipts. Up $2,759, “700 Sundays” ($783,704) moved into the No. 4 slot on the B.O. chart, ahead of “The Producers” ($710,101), “Hairspray” ($642,146) and the previewing “Spamalot” ($753,039), which saw its gross cut due to benefit tickets.

“The Glass Menagerie” ($311,658), the week’s other gainer, did a full eight after the previous session’s five previews, its gross up a nifty $52,094. Last-minute replacement Christian Slater went into the show March 4, four days ahead of sked.

Otherwise, freefalls at the box office were more the rule than the exception. Biggest hits were sustained by “Fiddler on the Roof” ($537,847) and “La Cage aux Folles” ($390,029), down $250,780 and $192,273, respectively.

Under the top 10, six-figure plummets also beset “Movin’ Out” ($482,787), “Little Women” ($311,310), “Rent” ($311,145), “Brooklyn” ($186,242) and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” ($482,602), which counted many preem comps and critics’ tickets in its $179,609 drop.

In comparison, the beleaguered “Good Vibrations” ($271,122) appeared almost stable with its minimal $23,127 slide. But playing to 56.8% capacity, it looks none too secure.

Down $13,451, “Brooklyn Boy” ($222,619) barely budged. “Twelve Angry Men” ($248,837) put in one of its weaker grossing sessions, off $60,948. “All Shook Up” ($366,865) fell $52,132, playing to 81.9% capacity thanks to an average price ticket of $38.17, the lowest on Broadway.

“Chicago” ($451,781) and “Avenue Q” ($446,804) dipped $76,996 and $43,033, respectively.

“Democracy” ($183,004) slipped $82,511, its receipts off 31.1% from the previous week, to hit the bottom slot of the chart. Only four shows lost a greater percentage of their B.O. strength from the previous week: “Fiddler” (31.8%), “La Cage” (33%), “Little Women” (35.3%) and “Brooklyn” (36.9%).

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