B’Way B.O. hopping

Easter weekend raises total grosses 12%

It’s Christmas in April. Broadway enjoyed the three-day Easter weekend, with total grosses jumping $1,885,455 — or 12.52% — over the previous session to finish with an astounding $16,933,545. It was also a vast improvement over Big Bunny week 1999 when the cume came in at $13,292,379 for 34 shows. There are now 36 productions running on Broadway.

The tourists went for the tried and true. Besides the usually sold-out “Lion King,” “The Phantom of the Opera” also went clean. “Cats” played 99.38% capacity, with “Fosse” and “Les Miserables” doing 97.61% and 97.63% cap, respectively.

Those out-of-towners were also in a religious mood: “Jesus Christ Superstar” improved the most, rising $265,431 to resurrect itself at $769,136 after capturing arguably the season’s worst reviews. It performed at 99.05% capacity.

Newcomers “Contact” and “True West” also flirted with sold-out status. The Susan Stroman dance show did 97.79%, which brought its weekly total to $575,704. The average ticket price of “Contact” ($68.97) was topped only by that of “Cabaret” ($69.09). The Sam Shepard drama performed at 96.97% cap, finishing the week at $284,926.

Several other new shows also saw a bounce. “The Green Bird” soared $32,209 to perch at $227,421 on a gross potential of $490,126. “Copenhagen” sparked another $30,828 for a $276,684 finish. Gross potential for the nuclear drama hovers at $457,151. “The Real Thing” enjoyed a similar upswing, climbing $22,645 to close at $276,395. GP: $494,138.

On the down side, “The Wild Party” looked very tame. After previous session’s heavily comped previews, the tuner failed to rise last week, instead falling $17,381 to finish at $274,418 on a gross potential of $588,499. It played 57.49% capacity.

Postscript: The lights will dim on Broadway at 8 tonight in honor of producer Alexander H. Cohen, who died Saturday at the age of 79.

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