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Few fireworks on Broadway

Summer holiday frame sees box office drop

The Fourth of July fireworks helped contribute to a fizzling Broadway B.O. last week, with sales sliding at the majority of shows on the boards.

Only a few individual productions could triumph over the holiday weekend’s distractions to post gains, including “Fences” ($1,164,529), which hit yet another new high in the second-to-last week of its limited engagement. Although many of the top grossers took big (but, for them, manageable) hits, “The Lion King” ($1,583,358) brought in its highest tally outside of the annual holiday boom of the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s weeks.

Meanwhile, last-minute biz brought new crowds out to “Next Fall” ($257,274), up a whopping 43% in its final frame on the boards. “Race” ($221,779), with the new cast topped by Eddie Izzard and Dennis Haysbert in place, stepped up slightly.

Otherwise, productions all over the Rialto saw sales slip. A few of the 2009-10 season’s offerings proved particularly unstable, with “American Idiot” (down $175,000 to $694,354) and “Million Dollar Quartet” ($452,772) sliding by 20% each. “Come Fly Away” ($515,296) saw its B.O. altitude fall 26%, playing to auds at 43% of capacity.

Also contributing to the overall downturn were the temporary absence of “A Little Night Music,” on hiatus until later this month, and the permanent loss of “Red” and “Hair,” both among the shows which shuttered June 27.

Despite all that, there were still seven shows holding onto their spots in the millionaires’ club, with “The Addams Family” ($1,201,155) and “Promises, Promises” ($1,116,060) joining fellow 2009-10 alum “Fences” on the list.

Overall Main Stem sales were off $3.5 million to $18.8 million for 26 shows on the boards. Attendance fell nearly 30,000 to 218,878 or 81% of capacity.

That’s significantly less than the 89% logged during the same frame last year — but with only 24 productions open at the time, there were even fewer seats to fill.

It’s often not until the post-Fourth weeks that summer business on Broadway kicks into high gear, so producers can likely look forward to upticks in the coming weeks.

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