B’Way Easter feast

Usual slump doesn't come as B.O. jumps 16%

Good timing, Broadway!

The Easter holiday wrestled with daylight savings time, and the bunny won. It’s a tradition: The biannual clock change always creates a B.O. slump. But not this April.

Thirty shows brought in a record-setting $17,577,334, up $2,382,285 or 15.68% from the previous session. Eighteen productions did 90% capacity or better.

Over the past four years, the week leading up to Easter has produced between $15.19 million and $16.93 million at the box office. The previous record came in April 2000, when a whopping 36 shows graced the boards. Back then, paid attendance came to 304,253. Last week, it was 268,213.

Last week, five shows passed the $1 million mark. Sans Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, “The Producers” ($1,045,518) managed to be one of them. “Wicked” ($1,134,594) squeezed ahead of “The Lion King” ($1,131,543) to take the No. 1 spot. “Hairspray” ($1,011,788) and “Mamma Mia!” ($1,001,060) rounded out the million-dollar club. No surprise, they’re the same five shows that topped $1 million during New Year’s week 2004.

Further down the list, “Fiddler on the Roof” ($891,509) and “42nd Street” ($781,194) managed last week’s biggest increases, up $228,224 and $211,810, respectively.

Big bump for ‘Aida’

Although the advances were less spectacular below the Top Ten, a few shows enjoyed six-figure bumps: “Aida” ($721,657), “Little Shop of Horrors” ($543,459), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($696,699) and “Gypsy” ($594,786), which jumped $112,075 to do 90.9% capacity.

Another revival, “Wonderful Town” ($498,009), experienced a much smaller bounce, up only $42,107 to finish with 66% cap. With less room to grow, at 93.9% cap, “Avenue Q” ($418,245) kept its uptick to $25,009.

“Chicago” ($583,857) rose $62,689 while “Thoroughly Modern Millie” ($593,230) grew $98,991, their respective caps at 100% and 81.7%. In previews, “Assassins” ($343,610) did near cap biz, at 93.9%. And the final week of spring break pumped another $78,300 into “Rent” ($404,412), which performed at 90%.

During the winter months, most plays languished with grosses under $200,000. A new crop has produced significantly bigger numbers: “Sly Fox” ($415,907), “King Lear” ($324,136), “Twentieth Century” ($292,625), and in previews “A Raisin in the Sun” ($393,732) and “Jumpers” ($269,048), which put in its first eight perfs.

Is there a trend here? All of those shows are revivals.

As for new plays, the grosses remained stuck at winter levels: “Golda’s Balcony” ($137,062), the previewing “Sixteen Wounded” ($103,920) and “Match” ($175,885), which held its heavily comped preem on April 8.

How much is the Pulitzer worth? “I Am My Own Wife” ($170,336) saw its receipts rise $48,660 after winning the prize. The play’s highest grossing sessions remains Xmas week 2003 when it brought in $204,550.

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