Overall, ticket sales were down this week with a total of $16,629,333 compared to the previous week’s box office total of $17,125,791. The gross receipts for the season to date are $439,858,283, looking positively flush when compared to the same time last season, $413,226,732. In addition, only two of the 33 productions currently on Broadway, Wicked at the Gershwin and Jersey Boys at the August Wilson, hit the million-dollar mark this past week at $1,305,090 and $1,072,512 respectively.
Last year’s strike of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees’ (IATSE) began on November 6, crippled most of the Broadway productions for many weeks, resulting in low box office totals. Performances of 27 shows were struck, impacting Broadway and the city’s economy.
Now this year’s economic downturn has caused attendance at many shows on Broadway to slip in the past month. According to USA Today, since attendance began to drop in mid-October, average capacity has dropped from 80 percent to 71 percent. With less people buying tickets to shows, shows have begun to close their doors. The first one to go was “To Be or Not To Be” at the Friedman, which closed its doors on November 16. March will see the closing of the revival of Gypsy playing at the St. James starring Tony Award winner Patti Lupone, fulfilling its original contract according to Playbill. Another award winner, Hairspray playing at the Neil Simon will close its doors January 4.
But as always, there are bright spots; in this upcoming holiday season, Billy Elliot: The Musical had a gala Opening Night on November 13, delighting audiences and living up to expectations. A possible tradition-in-the-making is White Christmas, in previews at the Marquis and scheduled to open November 23. Perennial favorite Pal Joey is in previews at Studio 54 and opens December 11.
The Seagull playing at the Walter Kerr saw the largest increase in attendance, 4 percent over the previous reporting period. Looking at dollar increases, Speed The Plow at the Barrymore saw an increase of almost $42,000 over the previous week while the biggest loss was seen by Grease at the Atkinson, a drop of $113,000.
There are more bright lights to be expected on Broadway in the coming weeks and months. For fans of the South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, it was reported on Fox News that a musical version is in the works for 2009 simply titled Mormon Musical.
Broadway Gross Ticket Sales Week ending November 16, 2008
All data provided by The Broadway League
Broadway Gross Ticket Sales
|Weekly Gross||Total Atten.||Prev.||Perf.||Total Capacity||Avg. Ticket Price||Atten. %|
|A Man For All Seasons
|All My Sons
|August: Osage County
|Dividing the Estate
|In the Heights
|Speed the Plow
|The 39 Steps
|The Lion King
|The Little Mermaid
|The Phantom of the Opera
(This story was edited on Wednesday, November 19, 2008, at 4:31pm EST)