Producers scramble Broadway week by adding matinees on Thursday

Catching a Wednesday matinee on Broadway is so last year. The hot thing now is Thursday afternoon shows. Three shows making the move are Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Mamma Mia! and The Phantom of the Opera. Matilda the Musical may experiment with the idea this summer.

Catching a Wednesday matinee on Broadway is so last year. The hot thing now is Thursday afternoon shows.

Three shows making the move are Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Mamma Mia! and The Phantom of the Opera. Matilda the Musical may experiment with the idea this summer.

The change means families will be able to get to see another matinee, a lifeline for family-friendly shows. And with the city bracing for summer tourists, offering a Thursday matinee lets theatre lovers cram in more shows if they come for a long weekend.

For performers, it means more flexibility and an end to five-show weekends. Elena Ricardo, who plays Sophie in Mamma Mia!, now has Sundays completely off and can go to church and brunch. “I can’t wait,” she said. “I hope other shows catch on to this as well.”

Pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, who plays Cinderella, now has her Wednesday nights free and she said she will use the time to work on her next studio album.

“A lot of the producers I’m booking time with are happier when I’m saying, ’Let’s start at 6’ versus ‘Let’s start at 10 in the morning,”’ she said. “I personally always preferred going to a matinee. I don’t know what it is — maybe having a lazy dinner afterwards — but for me the perfect New York day is catching up with friends, a matinee and then a dinner somewhere.”

The Thursday step is the latest to scramble the traditional eight-show Broadway week that has seen the addition of shows on normally dark Monday, earlier curtains on Tuesday night, the scrapping of two shows on Sunday and even nine-performance weeks during holidays.

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