‘Idol’ winner boosts ‘Color Purple’

By GORDON COX

Fantasia turned into a box office fantasy for “The Color Purple.”

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“American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino’s first week in the starring role of “Purple” shot weekly sales for the Broadway tuner up by a staggering $366,598 to $1,183,722. The take reps the musical’s highest tally ever for an eight-perf week.

Barrino’s stint in the show got a massive publicity boost from an announcement on top-rated reality TV competish “Idol,” plus a segment on Oprah Winfrey’s daytime chatfest….

“Purple’s” bump helped balance a down week overall along the Rialto, which normalized after a bountiful frame pumped by Easter-week sales. Total receipts fell to $22.5 million, down from $22.9 million.

“Tarzan” ($698,041) had the largest downswing of the week, dropping by more than $165,000, but the show was just one of several — “The Lion King” ($1,197,233), “Hairspray” ($747,667), “Chicago” ($561,841), “The Producers” ($544,430) and “Rent” ($440,851) — to fall off by more than $100,000. (Full Story)

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