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Broadway ‘Pippin’ Starts Strong in Spring Break Week

Tourists fuel box office as four new productions hit the boards

Spring break is a great time to be a Broadway show — but not so much if you’re a new title. For proof, take a look at last week’s Main Stem box office.

Four productions joined the fray during the week ending March 24, and the one that did the strongest biz was also the one with the most familiar name.

That’d be “Pippin,” the revival of the 1972 tuner that logged $199,935 from two previews, playing to near-capacity houses and posting an average price paid per ticket of more than $100. Curiosity always runs high for the first perfs of a new show, but even taking that into account, those numbers remain an encouraging sign for the transfer of the well-received Boston staging.

The other three new offerings on the boards had less success in pulling in ticketbuyers. At $199,627 for four previews, Lincoln Center Theater’s preem of “The Nance,” the new play by Douglas Carter Beane, likely attracted some traffic thanks to the presence of Nathan Lane, a solid box office draw among Broadway avids. Two other nonprofit outings — “The Assembled Parties” ($109,183 for five previews), the new Richard Greenberg play starring Judith Light, and “The Big Knife” ($105,646 for five), a Clifford Odets revival toplined by Bobby Cannavale — couldn’t make much of a dent in a week that saw the Main Stem’s big-name hits turn most ticketbuyers’ heads.

The frame’s Top 10 was a carbon copy of the week before it, with Tom Hanks-powered “Lucky Guy” ($1,270,733) and “Motown: The Musical” ($1,015,331 for seven), both in previews, nestled snugly among habitual top dogs including “Wicked” ($1,940,002), “The Lion King” ($1,892,803) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,661,180). “Cinderella” ($1,122,624), which opened earlier this month, also held on to its perch in the millionaires’ club.

One of the largest bumps of the week was at “Annie” ($941,132), which stepped up in a tourist-heavy frame  rife with the family auds that make up its target audience. Meanwhile, the Rialto transfer of Brit hit “Matilda” ($834,560 for seven previews) posted solid numbers as well. Taken with “Cinderella,”  it all suggests that during some weeks at least, there is indeed enough of a market to support three new titles with little-girl appeal.

Also doing healthy biz for a new musical was “Kinky Boots” ($852,171), playing its first full frame of eight previews.

Among recent openers, “Hands on a Hardbody” ($211,083) upticked slightly — likely propelled by some prominent upbeat reviews — while “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ($357,127), which also opened last week, slipped thanks to a comp-heavy opening night. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” ($358,395), which bowed the prior frame, rose.

Overall Broadway box office climbed almost $900,000 to $21.7 million for 27 shows on the boards. With the Street flush with vacationing visitors, attendance climbed around 9,000 to 222,408.

Last week was the second of what’s usually three weeks of rolling academic spring breaks, so next week’s numbers should remain robust as well. By then, Broadway will have moved into April, with its flurry of openings helping to attract attention to the Rialto in the weeks prior to the Tony noms.

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