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Spring Breakers Propel ‘Motown’ on Broadway

Tourists push eight shows above the $1 million mark, including 'The Phantom of the Opera'

Spring breakers weren’t just a big deal at SXSW last week – they made a splash on Broadway, too. Vacationing families helped push Main Stem box office high enough that eight shows ended up topping $1 million each.

Motown” ($1,029,883 for seven previews) was the new kid on the block, with a score chock-full of familiar tunes helping to attract crowds that filled the Lunt-Fontanne Theater. The tuner couldn’t, however, match fellow previewing title “Lucky Guy” ($1,294,233), the play that’s grossing like a hit musical thanks to the marquee presence of Tom Hanks.

The usual suspects, of course, also had spots in the millionaires’ club — “Wicked” ($1,950,727), “The Lion King” ($1,776,767), “The Book of Mormon” ($1,667,180) and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” ($1,264,081) — with “Wicked” coming within spitting distance of $2 million. But for real proof that tourists were in town, look to “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,065,032), the longrunner that, with a title that almost qualifies as a New York landmark, often sees sales jump in visitor-heavy frames.

The newly opened “Cinderella” ($1,102,496) maintained its foothold above the $1 million mark for another week, suggesting the show could well become a consistently strong earner. The second week of previews for “Matilda” ($835,432 for seven) may not have made it to millionaire status, but the show still posted numbers that were notably strong for a Brit hit that, while based on a Roald Dahl tale, has much less name recognition Stateside than “Cinderella.”

The season’s third offering with strong appeal for young girls, “Annie” ($814,915), climbed a bit but not much, despite the influx of tourists. Whether that’s a worrying barometer of future sales remains to be seen, but it bears watching.

One of the frame’s other previewing musicals, “Kinky Boots” ($714,331), may not be breaking any records it’s still in a healthy place, drawing crowds of about 97% of capacity.

Play “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ($396,866), which opens Wednesday, rose a bit, perhaps thanks in part to the iconic title, while producers of tuner “Hands on a Hardbody” ($196,151), which opens Thursday, are probably praying for rave reviews as the musical remains stalled at the box office.

Overall Rialto cume climbed around $2.8 million to $20.8 million for 23 shows on the boards. Attendance jumped by 17,000 to 213,592.

And it’s not over yet. Productions enjoying the seasonal boost can look forward to another strong couple of seshes, since the rolling schedule of academic spring breaks is poised to continue for the next two weeks.

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