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Broadway Box Office: ‘Cats’ Starts Out Purring

The new revival of “Cats” pounced on Broadway last week, launching to healthy sales in a window that saw a few titles dial up to nine-show weeks in order to take advantage of summer tourist traffic.

Cats” ($603,553 for four previews) played its first performances and pulled in about $150,000 per performance, attracting audiences at 94% of capacity in the 1,371-seat Neil Simon Theater. That’s a promising sign: If sales hold, a full week of eight performances would land “Cats” a solid perch in the millionaires’ club. One other show joined the Broadway ranks last week, although to more modest results: The return of “Motown” pulled in $424,198 for eight performances.

Meanwhile, a few productions took advantage of the mid-July tide of city visitors by adding an extra ninth performance to their weeks. “The Lion King” ($2,513,984), “Hamilton” ($2,282,207) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,486,802) all got nice bumps from the gambit, but even the shows that didn’t add an extra performance climbed — particularly “The Crucible” ($613,098), the starry revival that closed Sunday, as well as “On Your Feet!” ($793,370), “The Color Purple” ($790,483) and “Something Rotten!” ($745,373) — the latter of which played its last before the departure of Tony winner Christian Borle (among others) from the cast.

Overall Broadway box office climbed $2.3 million for $27.1 million for 30 productions. Attendance kicked up by about 22,000 to 257,711, or 83% of the overall seating capacity for the week.

To judge by the trends from prior summers, this week often — but not always — marks the peak of hot-weather business before a gradual decline down to Labor Day. We’ll know in a few weeks whether the same holds true this year.


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