The Easter Bunny brought a whopper of a basket to Broadway last week, as the overlap of the holiday with Gotham schools’ spring break schedule resurrected sales so boffo they wouldn’t be out of place during the year-end yuletide weeks that are the Rialto’s most profitable frames.
It’s not as if Broadway didn’t see the bounty coming: A trio of tourist-magnet titles — “Wicked” ($2,769,554), “The Lion King” ($2,543,377) and “Newsies” ($1,069,367) — each tacked on an extra performance to accommodate heightened demand, and they drew plenty of extra coin because of it. But it was some of the productions that played traditional eight-show weeks that really made jaw-dropping jumps.
The oldest show on the boards posted the largest leap in percentage terms. The 26-year-old “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,517,305) spiked an enormous 58% and climbed to No. 6. The enduring title has turned into one of the New York landmarks that tourists must see along with the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
Family-friendly fairy-tale title “Cinderella” ($1,412,944) climbed 50% compared to the prior frame, bolstered by a cast currently led by Fran Drescher and Carly Rae Jepsen.
The week’s holiday boom also helped punch up sales at “Rocky” ($1,022,747) by 35%, following a string of less impressive frames. Among other recent spring openers, Idina Menzel starrer “If/Then” ($1,104,188) also muscled its way back into the millionaires’ club, as did play “All the Way” ($1,067,173), attracting out-of-towners thanks to topliner Bryan Cranston’s TV profile.
“Bullets Over Broadway” ($974,076), a title city visitors would recognize from the Woody Allen movie on which it is based, stepped up by about 20%, while “Les Miserables” ($1,396,410) and “Aladdin” ($1,225,128) continued to gain steam. “The Bridges of Madison County” ($345,270), however, still struggled to attract attention, barely upticking at all.
Neil Patrick Harris starrer “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” ($815,295 for seven) was one of the only shows not to report a gain last week, but that’s attributable to the critics’ perfs that the week accommodated ahead of its April 22 opening. Michelle Williams topliner “Cabaret” ($692,319) was up only a bit but still achieved a solid tally for a nonprofit production in a relatively small house.
Among plays, Denzel Washington starrer “A Raisin in the Sun” ($1,212,665) remained the top seller on the chart. Daniel Radcliffe topliner “The Cripple of Inishmaan” ($463,064) hit numbers that would look only so-so if it weren’t for the fact that grosses were tamped down by a combination of the production’s low-price ticket accessibility initiative and a week that included the show’s press perfs and opening. B.O. for the title looks certain to rise in the wake of strong reviews.
Overall Broadway attendance climbed nearly 39,000 to a jam-packed 327,321, or 94% of total capacity. Streetwide cume jumped $6.75 million to $35.4 million for a crowded slate of 37 shows.
Look for sales to slide back down next week in a post-spring-break hangover — at which point all the season’s new titles will await the publicity boost of the Tony nominations that will be announced April 29.