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Broadway Box Office: ‘Wicked’ Hits a Milestone

With the theater industry holding its breath ahead of the Tony Awards nominations announcement May 3, the Broadway box office got a bit of a boost last week as spring break at New York City public schools helped to fuel an upward trend — while perennial crowdpleaser “Wicked” surpassed its latest milestone.

Weighing in at No. 3 on the week’s Top 10, “Wicked” ($1,625,910) surpassed $4 billion at the worldwide box office last week, the production confirmed. Consistently one of the Street’s top earners alongside titles like “The Lion King” ($1,950,539) and “The Book of Mormon” ($1,332,910), “Wicked” clicked past its worldwide highwater mark not long after the show surpassed $1 billion in sales from the Broadway production alone. (“Lion King” holds the title for worldwide gross, with $6.2 billion as of late 2014.)

Meanwhile, the overall Broadway totals got a bump from spring-break week at New York City public schools. Crowdpleasers and familiar family fare tended to register the largest gains, including “On Your Feet!” ($969,147), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($892,752) and “Fiddler on the Roof” ($854,640). “The Color Purple” ($879,248) climbed in its penultimate week with Jennifer Hudson in the cast.

The largest rise of the week, however, was posted at “Waitress” ($907,936), in the wake of the prior week’s critics performances and opening night. Given its largely positive reviews, box office seems likely to continue to rise. Ditto “Shuffle Along” ($708,267), which predictably slipped in its comp-heavy opening week, but looks sure to bounce back following favorable notices.

Some productions, meanwhile, will be hoping for Tony nominations to help drive some momentum — particularly at soft-selling musicals including “Bright Star” ($369,471) and “Tuck Everlasting” ($340,152 in its opening week). Lupita Nyong’o play “Eclipsed” ($269,110) could also use a bit of help — although “The Humans” ($412,929), currently the apparent frontrunner for the new play Tony, broke the $400,000 mark for the first time since it began performances in January.

Overall attendance climbed by about 10,000 to 292,998 (or 82% of total available occupancy), driving Broadway’s cumulative total for the week up by $1.2 million to $28.3 million for 37 shows. Now, with the Tony eligibility cutoff behind us, the topic of conversation is the Tony nominations — and how much of a box office boost the season’s shows will get in their wake.

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