Broadway theatergoers will be getting more options soon as four shows add Thursday matinees to their playing schedules. Hits like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Mamma Mia! and Phantom of the Opera will begin performing on Thursdays afternoons at 2 p.m. on April 3, while Matilda will add certain Thursday daytime shows in May and June.
The productions will still play the standard, union-regulated eight performances a week, and will subtract a showing that has been performing weakly — either Wednesday afternoon or evening. Aaron Lustbader, general manager for Phantom and a partner in Foursight Theatrical, initiated the schedule change.
Wednesday has traditionally been the only matinee day during the week for Broadway shows. The change was brought about in an effort to increase audiences for these long-running productions. Overall attendance has been good, but has leveled off. Since the largest percentage of audiences for these shows is visitors, adding an additional daytime performance will give attendees another potential slot to fill in their limited vacation time. Productions in London’s West End have long played matinees on a variety of weekdays to give tourists more chances to see as many shows as possible in a short period.