Biz off, better than ’05

Broadway grosses

NEW YORK — Broadway biz fell off for the first week of the new season (May 30-June 4), with nearly every show seeing a dip in grosses.

But at more than $18 million for the 31 shows on the boards, the tally still easily beats totals logged during the same time period in recent years. Over the past few weeks, the Rialto has finished out the season on a high note, topping more than $20 million during the previous two seshes.

So despite a B.O. dip, there’s still good news. The revival of “Faith Healer” ($440,885), for instance, announced it recouped its $2 million investment in eight weeks, and its now-extended limited run ends Aug. 13.

In the top 10, “Jersey Boys” and “The Color Purple” switched places in the Nos. 3 and 4 slots, behind “Wicked” and “The Lion King.”

“The Drowsy Chaperone” napped a bit, falling about $107,000. Producer Kevin McCollum said it’s just a pause for breath, precipitated by the expiration of a discount ticket offer, and wraps indicate grosses will bump back up this week.

In what might be a bad sign for a tuner struggling to connect with auds, “The Wedding Singer” dropped more than $100,000 as well. So did long-runners “The Producers,” “Chicago” and “The Light in the Piazza.”

“Tarzan,” meanwhile, dropped to 91% capacity, although it’s probably still too soon to tell whether that’s an indicator that the show’s rocky critical reception and Tony snub have eroded its box office traction.

Among the best play Tony nominees, frontrunner “The History Boys” essentially held steady, as did (although less happily) “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.” “Shining City” continued to do respectable-for-a-nonprofit, if not smashing, numbers.

“Hot Feet” continued to struggle near the bottom of the table.

The 23 musicals grossed $14,553,210 for 79.1% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 195,645 at 78.8% capacity.

The nine plays grossed $3,853,985 for 20.9% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 52,969 at 82.8% capacity.

Average paid admission was $74.39 for musicals, $72.76 for plays and $74.04 for all shows.

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