Reviews, sales spur longer stay at Lincoln Center Theater

Lincoln Center Theater’s Broadway staging of London hit “War Horse” is riding strong sales and positive reviews into a longer stay on the Gotham boards, with the limited engagement now galloping into an open-ended run.

“War Horse,” which opened April 14, was skedded to shutter June 26.

Move doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Although LCT’s Vivian Beaumont Theater is usually locked into a sked of multiple shows per season, the org has more than once allowed a successful show to camp out on the Beaumont stage for longer than initially envisioned. The company’s 2000 production of “Contact” and 2008 revival of “South Pacific” each occupied the venue for a run of more than two years.

LCT traditionally continues to produce Rialto fare while the Beaumont is occupied, shifting newer productions to a midtown commercial house.

The puppet-heavy, big-cast “War Horse,” a crowdpleaser about a boy and his steed, is an enduring hit for London’s National Theater, with the show playing in the West End since March 2009.

On Broadway, weekly grosses during previews were strong from the get-go. The play’s preview frames consistently logged between $600,000 and $700,000 per week — impressive tallies for a new non-musical in a nonprofit house.

LCT has not announced its Broadway offerings for the 2011-12 season.

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