Broadway blooms over spring break

Tourists and families boost box office

It’s spring break at schools around the country, which means Broadway box office is decidedly in session.

Nearly every production on the boards saw sales rise, many of them significantly — particularly those with big-time appeal for tourists and families. Along with the usual suspects, some newer offerings gave a few clues as to their potential ability to pull in a crowd.

Take “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” ($986,297), benefitting from the pairing of topliner Daniel Radcliffe with a well-known tuner title. Show reported full houses and came close to the $1 million mark in its first week playing a full sked of eight previews.

In its first week on the Main Stem, London hit “War Horse” ($653,919 for seven previews) also logged notably strong numbers, particularly for a production presented by a not-for-profit. Attendance for the Lincoln Center Theater show came in at 99%.

“Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” ($739,803) dipped only slightly, despite the fact the frame included the heavily comped opening night and a number of press perfs. Robin Williams starrer “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” ($637,756) continued to post healthy numbers for a nonmusical with an unfamiliar title, while soon-to-open “The Book of Mormon” ($620,528) once again played to aud capacity of more than 100%.

Also new to the boards last week was “The Motherfucker with the Hat” ($271,872 for six previews), which has the marketing advantage of cast member Chris Rock but must still contend with a title that’s unprintable in most publications.

Among the longer running Broadway offerings, the usual top-grossing attractions — “Wicked” ($1,670,779), “The Lion King” ($1,612,549), lately “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,405,868) — staked out spots high up on the Top 10. Also getting a strong leg up from vacationing visitors and families were “Mary Poppins,” up 25% to $1,057,164, and “The Phantom of the Opera” ($996,324).

Chipping in another chunk of change to the Broadway pot was the already-over limited run of “Kathy Griffin Wants a Tony” ($676,203 for seven shows), proving Griffin’s fan base will indeed follow her to the Rialto.

Overall, Broadway sales climbed $3.7 million to $22.2 million for 31 shows currently running. Attendance came in at a robust 88%.

With the scheduling of spring breaks staggered throughout the month of March, look for the Broadway bounty to roll into this week’s B.O. frame as well.

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