Booming Box Office in Broadway’s Easter Basket

Holiday tourism drives up sales for a boffo spring break finale

The Easter holiday is all about resurrection, and Broadway box office rose to the occasion. Sales spiked last week during the Easter-Passover frame, driving a full 13 productions above the $1 million mark as holiday visitors packed the town. Ten shows pulled in full-house crowds.

Producers clearly knew the tide of spring-break tourism was coming, with three tuners each skedding an extra perf and ringing in additional coin because of it. “Wicked” ($2,633,547 for nine performances) topped the list, coming in ahead of a nine-show week at “The Lion King” ($2,385,081), while “Newsies” ($1,191,552) also played a ninth perf and regained a spot in the millionaires’ club.

Two previewing titles, Tom Hanks-powered play “Lucky Guy” ($1,250,712) and tuner “Motown” ($1,164,191), continued to show their box office muscle. Star-driven “Lucky Guy” is poised to log such boffo numbers throughout its limited run; the question is whether “Motown,” starting so strong out of the gate, can keep it up throughout its open-ended engagement.

Meanwhile, “Annie” ($1,294,508) gained a little ground on “Cinderella” ($1,414,541) and tourist-magnet “The Phantom of the Opera” climbed whopping 50%.

A full eleven productions were in previews last week, with “Matilda” ($960,998), “Kinky Boots” ($893,741) and “Pippin” ($728,161) all logging capacity attendance or close to it. It’s a good time for these shows to be attracting crowds, since big auds mean more word-of-mouth generated to help launch longer-term runs.

The first week of Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster starrer “Orphans” ($659,391) might look a little underpowered compared to fellow play “Lucky Guy,” it’s still a solid tally for a non-musical with an unfamiliar title. Whether B.O. will remain at that level or higher after the tourists depart remains to be seen. Lincoln Center Theater’s Nathan Lane previewer “The Nance” ($392,189) posted healthy numbers, too, especially for a nonprofit run.

Recent opener “Hands on a Hardbody” ($321,043) climbed, but still has yet to reach a tally that would seem able to sustain a long stay, while “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ($411,052) also upticked, fueled by the familiar title and star Emilia Clarke, whose day job, “Game of Thrones,” is coming off a wave of season premiere publicity.

Along with “Orphans,” two more plays joined the fray: “The Testament of Mary” ($191,134 for six previews) and “The Trip to Bountiful” ($161,233 for two). One show, Scarlett Johansson topliner “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” ($721,456 for seven perfs), shuttered.

Overall Broadway cume jumped $6.8 million to $28.5 million, while attendance leapt to 269,430, filling a whopping 93.5% of all available seats.

Box office won’t be as high for Broadway this week, but all those previewing shows are queued up to keep the spotlight on the Main Stem all this month as the avalanche of new openings proceeds.

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