'Hairspray,' 'Mermaid' see box office bump

NEW YORK — Academic spring breaks and Easter weekend helped give Broadway a boffo boost in Week 43 (March 17-23), with almost every show on the boards on the rise and a half-dozen offerings seeing week-to-week sales jump by more than $200,000 each.

Up about $265,000, “Hairspray” ($917,832) got the biggest bump, while “The Little Mermaid” ($1,186,297), “Mary Poppins” ($1,162,183) and “Mamma Mia!” ($1,001,739) all climbed $200,000 or more, too.

Estimates for “Young Frankenstein” went up to $1.35 million, while previewing musical “Cry-Baby” ($332,999), going from a one-perf frame to its first eight-show week, logged a $263,000 jump.

Elsewhere there were other solid, six-figure leaps at “Chicago” ($669,591), “Legally Blonde” ($857,369) and “In the Heights” ($601,455), among others.

Full houses weren’t uncommon, with “Hairspray”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” ($741,607), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($907,942), “Grease” ($780,477), and all three Disney offerings registering auds of 100% capacity or more, along with “Wicked” ($1,503,737) and “Jersey Boys” ($1,116,266).

Previewing revival “Gypsy” ($652,477) gained steam, while tuner “Passing Strange” ($313,560), well reviewed but still working to build momentum at the B.O., finally broke the $300,000 mark. “Xanadu” ($249,675) fell just shy of a quarter million dollars.

Total Rialto cume was up around $3 million to $20.8 million for 30 productions reporting (or $22.1 million, including estimates for “Frankenstein”).

The 25 musicals grossed $18,386,709 ($19,736,709 estimated) for 88.3% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 239,442 at 94.1% capacity and average paid admission of $76.79.

The six plays grossed $2,429,475 for 11.7% of the Broadway total, with an attendance of 36,643 at 73.5% capacity and average paid admission of $66.30.

Average paid admission was $75.40 for all shows.

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