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This past week saw a cooling off at the Broadway box office, with ticket sales at $17,589,760 for the week ending January 17, compared to $18,754,209 for the previous week. Comparing this point in the season with the 2008-09 period, however, ticket sales are still ahead at $677,962,676 to $675,668,483. Attendance figures for the year are running at 84 percent compared to 81 percent in 2009.
(This story was updated Tuesday, January 19, at 12:22pm)
Musicians with the Cleveland Orchestra went on strike Monday to protest pay cuts and other contractual issues, but the group reached a tentative agreement by Tuesday morning. Terms of the new labor agreement were not disclosed. The dispute arose as the orchestra and many other classical music entities struggle with weakening ticket sales and the economy. The New York Times reported that the orchestra had been operating at a deficit for about 10 years, and management was asking that orchestra members take a pay cut of 5 percent for a year. The orchestra's union countered by proposing to freeze salaries at their current rate for a year.
From last season to this season, Broadway's box office ran almost neck-and-neck the past week: $660,604,992 at this point in 2009 to $660,372,916 currently. That helps when looking at the past week's numbers which expectedly took a post-holiday nose dive from $28,089,912 to $18,754,209. That figure still beats the same week last season, which posted $17,331,019. Keep in mind too, the closing of four productions, "The 39 Steps," "Burn The Floor," "In the Next Room" and "Ragtime," contributed to the much lower box office.
The long-awaited Broadway musical production of "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark," which now counts former Live Nation Chairman Michael Cohl among its producers, is being delayed yet again.
Continued funding issues reportedly have pushed the scheduled previews for the show from late February back to at least the fall, and now producers are refunding money for tickets purchased. The show's Web site earlier today, however, was still listing the February 25 start date for previews and tickets still being on sale. Tickets were also still being hawked earlier today on Ticketmaster's Web site.
The Great White Way will get a heavy infusion of punk rock this year as Green Day brings the musical version of its album "American Idiot" to St. James Theatre in New York City. Producers Tom Hulce and Ira Pittelman announced the show's Broadway debut earlier this week.
Previews for the stage musical will begin March 24, with opening night booked a month later on April 20. A performance schedule and ticketing information for the open-ended production have not yet been announced. However, fans can sign up for e-mail announcements on the official 'American Idiot' On Broadway site.
Broadway ticket sales started the New Year on solid ground with revenues for the week ending January 3 reaching $28,089,912, up more than $300,000 from $27,755,973, which was what box offices generated last year at this time. The total fell a bit short from the 2007-08 total of more than $28.3 million, but was well ahead of the previous week’s box office total of $24,334,027.
Ticket prices for cultural arts events have grown too expensive, and producers must find creative ways to lower them, according to Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In a piece published by the Huffington Post, Kaiser laments that too many people are being priced out of seeing the arts, and many of them are turning to the internet to view free performances by legendary talents.
Another great holiday week on Broadway with ticket sales hitting a high note of $24,334,02, a huge jump from the previous reporting period of $19,707,043. To date, this season comes close to last season with of $613,528,795 compared to $615,518,000 last year. Overall attendance hit 238,974 with seven productions reaching 95 percent or better attendance. Five shows achieved 100 percent or better of their Gross Gross Potential: Wicked at the Gershwin, The Lion King at the Minskoff, Billy Elliot at the Imperial, A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr and Jersey Boys at the August Wilson in that order.
Hollywood Media Corp. (HMC) announced today that it's selling its Broadway ticketing division, which includes Broadway.com, to Key Brand Entertainment, Inc. (KBE) for cash, stock and other concessions that total about $45 million.
Broadway.com sells tickets to shows on Broadway and London's West End, and also offers package deals for hotels and restaurants, and it reports on theater news. In addition to Broadway.com, KBE will also receive Theatre Direct.
Overall, this was a solid week on Broadway: there was $19,707,043 in ticket sales, down from $20,817,705 for the week ending December 13. However, there are now 29 shows on the Great White Way, down from 30. Comparing this point in the season with the same time last season, ticket sales posted $589,194,767 this year, up from $588,294,234 last year.