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Broadway Box Office: ‘Shuffle Along’ Shuffles Off as ‘Cats’ Calls Crowds

Broadway box office took a dip last week in what could be the first of several weeks of gradually tapering sales on the way down to Labor Day — especially now that some productions are starting to exit for good, including just-closed “Shuffle Along,”  while “The Humans” has gone on a hiatus. Even so, many individual titles registered upticks, and newcomer “Cats” — which opens Sunday — continued to look strong after its robust bow.

The overall decline in sales was due largely to big dips at “The Lion King” ($2,310,911), “Hamilton” ($2,046,711) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,347,238), which each played an extra ninth performance the prior week but last week went back down to the standard eight. Some productions might play nine perfs in the coming weeks — “Wicked,” for instance, will play nine over the week ending Aug. 6 — but as other shows shutter or end their limit runs, the overall Broadway tally looks to be deflating on its usual late-summer decline.

Shuffle Along” ($865,912) played its last and didn’t see much of a boost in its receipts, although it did play to full houses all week. “The Humans” ($554,398) barely budged in its last week at the Helen Hayes, and will be up and running at its new home, the Schoenfeld, staring Aug. 9. Meanwhile, “Cats” ($853,633 for six) made a powerful showing in a week of just six previews, playing to audiences at 96% of capacity.

On a show-by-show basis, nearly every production climbed last week — in particular “Wicked” ($1,896,987), one of Broadway’s most consistent draws for city visitors — or posted losses small enough to be considered negligible. Broadway’s cumulative tally slipped by about $600,000 to $26.6 million for 29 shows, with attendance reported at 250,613 or 83% of the Street’s overall capacity.

Those numbers are down from the same week last year (when there was one fewer show running), which caused some people in the industry to wonder how much of an impact the Rockettes’ new summer attraction, “New York Spectacular,” is having in siphoning off business. The coming weeks could provide some insight on that front — especially if Broadway sales get a notable bounce after the “Spectacular” ends its run Aug. 7.

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