Biz up; ‘Boys’ bows out

B'way Grosses

NEW YORK — Broadway seems to have shaken off its back-to-school doldrums a little early this year, with total grosses rising by more than $1.1 million to $15,076,630 for Week 18 (Sept. 25-Oct. 1).

Helping buoy the fall figures is a top ticket price of $110 for many big tuners (which didn’t become widespread until late 2005).

The sesh also was bolstered by the boffo final week for “The History Boys” ($799,293). Still, tally looks like a solid rise for the frame: Since 2002, Rialto sales have hovered in the $11 million-$12 million range during the last week of September.

“The Times They Are a-Changin'” was the one new entry on the boards, kicking off its initial week of previews with middling sales.

In its second week, the revival of “A Chorus Line” dipped just a hair but remained strong. Meanwhile, nonprofit productions of “Heartbreak House” and “Lousing Louie,” also in their second weeks, gained minimal traction.

But the majority of the 24 shows on Broadway saw increases at the B.O. “The Lion King,” which has suffered a few slow weeks lately, clawed its way back into the top three, taking the third slot behind “Wicked” and still-hot “Jersey Boys.”

“Monty Python’s Spamalot” rose about $95,000 last week, while over at “Chicago,” Usher pulled in his biggest numbers yet for the show.

Below the top 10, “Hairspray” ($548,495) and “The Producers” ($534,251) both climbed back up from their dips below $500,000. Newer additions to the Rialto, such as “Tarzan” ($577,748), “The Wedding Singer” ($473,626), and “Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me” ($459,963), continued to plug along.

And bringing up the rear, “Jay Johnson: The Two and Only” brought in just $53,424 in its opening week, even though it played to 75% capacity crowds — making the average paid admission for the ventriloquist act about $15, a price more at home Off Off Broadway than on it.

The 20 musicals on the chart grossed $13,827,621 for 91.7% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 145,150 at 67.5% capacity.

The four plays grossed $1,249,010 for 8.3% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 21,451 at 85.8% capacity.

Average paid admission was $95.26 for musicals, $58.23 for plays and $76.43 for all shows.

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