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Box Office: ‘Kinky Boots’ Marches Closer to ‘Mormon’ Top

"Kinky Boots," at the 67th Annual Tony Awards. Photographer: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Theatergoers took time away from the beach and U.S. Open tennis in the seven days before Labor Day to help Broadway set sales records.

“Kinky Boots” sold the fewest tickets in nearly three months, yet hit its highest-ever gross, $1.7 million. That’s thanks to the average ticket price jumping $3 from its previous record, to $147, according to figures released from the Broadway League, a trade association.

That’s more than triple the $42 average ticket to the dud “Soul Doctor,” about the singing Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

The top “Kinky” seat goes for $349, second only to the $477 premium tickets to “The Book of Mormon.” The average ticket for Scott Rudin’s blockbuster hit was $199. The average for “Kinky” has doubled since previews began in March.

The stratospheric premiums help explain why box-office grosses are up while Broadway attendance continues to decline: In the first 14 weeks of the season, it’s down 8 percent from the same period last year.

“Matilda” also set a record, $1.34 million, as other girl-friendly musicals sagged. “Annie” dropped $26,000 to $721,000, its worst week since April. “Cinderella” fell $5,000 to $807,000, its lowest since March.

“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” was little changed at $970,000, its second week below $1 million since opening in June 2011.

“Let It Be” closed after 56 previews and performances with nary a shout. It did $386,000, less than a third of its potential. “Romeo and Juliet” with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad took in less than its half its potential, $489,000 over seven previews. It opens on Sept. 19.

Broadway overall sold $20.5 million, down $108,000 from a week earlier.

Muse highlights include Jeffrey Burke on Jonathan Lethem’s new novel and Martin Gayford on Europe’s coming art season.

To contact the reporter on this story: Philip Boroff in New York at pboroff@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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