B.O. boost; Disney musicals up

The Easter Bunny was kind to Broadway, bringing a basket full of grosses that hit $22.9 million in Week 45 (April 2-8), up 19% from $19.2 million the prior week.

With the holiday coinciding with academic spring breaks, it was a good time to be a family show. All four Disney tuners, for instance — "The Lion King" ($1,310,816), "Mary Poppins" ($1,275,138), "Beauty and the Beast" ($944,373) and "Tarzan" ($863,172) — ranked in the top 10, with "Tarzan" seeing a bump of more than $215,000, the highest of the week.

Long-runners, of course, also got tourist-pumped boosts, with "Hairspray" ($855,176), "Chicago" ($665,092), "The Producers" ($660,786) and "Rent" ($548,554) stepping up their receipts by 30% or more.

Among new musicals, "Legally Blonde" ($794,498) sashayed onto the boards with a strong first week of perfs, playing to 97% capacity. "Curtains" ($806,741) continued to build, while "The Pirate Queen" ($704,024) managed to hit its top tally so far despite a heavily comped press week and a soggy critical reception.

A few of the spring's many plays also attracted attention, with "A Moon for the Misbegotten" ($577,296) up an impressive $175,000 during its press week. "The Year of Magical Thinking" ($422,076) drew 98% capacity crowds, and "Inherit the Wind" ($416,728) posted solid sales as well.

Other non-tuners had a tougher time of it. At "Talk Radio" ($278,990), perfs were just over half full, and "Journey's End" ($150,827) was still struggling to bring in auds, with just 35% attendance.

In its first full week of previews, "Frost/Nixon" ($267,283) played to houses filled to just over 65% capacity.

Only show on the Rialto to see a dip at the box office was "Grey Gardens" ($237,144), with star Christine Ebersole out for the week.

Next week, Broadway sales may normalize a bit after the holiday. But tuners "LoveMusik" and "110 in the Shade" will join the fray, and replacement star Fantasia joins "The Color Purple" this week, which could bring in some extra coin, as well.

The 25 musicals grossed $20,075,218 for 87.6% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 254,425 at 92.8% capacity.

The eight plays grossed $2,852,565 for 12.4% of the Broadway total, with attendance of 42,771 at 72.3% capacity.

Average paid admission was $78.90 for musicals, $66.69 for plays and $77.15 for all shows.


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