With the Holidays approaching, Broadway is hoping that Santa will bring more ticket sales and not more of the lumps of coal brokers and...

With the Holidays approaching, Broadway is hoping that Santa will bring more ticket sales and not more of the lumps of coal brokers and box offices have been receiving lately.

Gross ticket receipts on Broadway, for the week ending November 23, dropped again, but fortunately not by too much, managing to record a slightly respectable $16,602,725 for the past week. The tally was down slightly from the previous reporting period of $16,629,333, but the season to date is still ahead of last year at this time: $456,461,008 compare to $417,524,720. But then again, last year at this time theaters were marred by the stagehands strike. Ticket sales for Young Frankenstein at the Hilton are not included in these figures, but that show is not doing too well, either, as it plans to close in January.

The shows continuing to post ticket sales above the high-water mark of a million dollars are: Wicked at the Gershwin; Billy Elliott: The Musical at the Imperial; and Jersey Boys at the August Wilson. Leading in the ten plays currently on Broadway are: All My Sons at the Schoenfeld, followed by Speed The Plow at the Barrymore and The Seagull at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Three productions saw more than 95 percent attendance: South Pacific at the Vivian Beaumont at almost 100 percent and “Jersey Boys” at almost 99 percent, which beat the attendance percentage at “Wicked,” which hit 98 percent for the first time. At the opposite end of the spectrum however, five productions saw less than 50 percent attendance.

Compared to last week’s figures, “Billy Elliott: The Musical” saw the largest increase in ticket sales of any production, followed by Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Marquis. The two biggest drops in sales were seen by Gypsy at the St. James and “All My Sons.” The drop for “Sons” was seen in spite of the fact that it leads the pack when looking at figures for plays.

Broadway lights dimmed on November 25 for the loss of a leader, while the lights were extinguished for a production that barely got off the ground:
• Gerald Schoenfeld, 84, the chairman of the Shubert Organization died on Tuesday at the age of 84. The organization owns more theaters than any other company: 17 in all. According to Playbill, Mr. Schoenfeld was the man routinely referred to as the most powerful man on Broadway.
• David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” opened to previews at the Belasco Theatre on October 31 and held its Opening Night on November 17 and closed on the 23rd.

The best bargain ticket this past week was “Dividing The Estate,” playing at the Booth Theatre, with an average paid admission of $50.02.

In other news, another casualty of the faltering economy will be “13,” playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. It will shutter its doors in January with only 22 previews and 105 performances for the season.

Broadway Gross Ticket Sales Week ending November 23, 2008
All data provided by The Broadway League

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Broadway Gross Ticket Sales
Week Ending November 23, 2008

Weekly GrossTotal Atten.Prev.Perf.Total CapacityAvg. Ticket PriceAtten. %
A Man For All Seasons
(American Airlines)
All My Sons
American Buffalo
August: Osage County
(Music Box)
Avenue Q
Billy Elliot
Dividing the Estate
(St. James)
(Neil Simon)
In the Heights
Irving…White Christmas
Jersey Boys
(August Wilson)
Mamma Mia!
(Winter Garden)
Mary Poppins
(New Amsterdam)
Pal Joey
(Studio 54)
South Pacific
Speed the Plow
Spring Awakening
The 39 Steps
The Lion King
The Little Mermaid
The Phantom of the Opera
The Seagull
(Walter Kerr)