With the Holiday Season in full swing, Broadway continues to struggle with slowing ticket sales, and prospects for the New Year are muted as...

With the Holiday Season in full swing, Broadway continues to struggle with slowing ticket sales, and prospects for the New Year are muted as several shows prepare to close in January and February.

Broadway’s gross ticket sales continued their downturn for the week ending December 14, dropping to $19,744,753 from the previous week’s tally of $20,376,854, according to data provided by The Broadway League and Playbill. This week’s winners list includes an upset, with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Marquis in the number one slot, toppling Wicked at the Gershwin to second place. “Wicked” has dominated the Broadway ticket sales figures for months.

The remaining million dollar grossers this week are, in order of performance, Billy Elliot: The Musical, Jersey Boys and the Lion King.

With musicals taking the top slots in grosses, the best-selling plays can be found lower on the list. Heading the roster of high-grossing plays is All My Sons at the Schoenfeld at $605,004, followed by Speed the Plow at the Barrymore at $485,751, The Seagull at the Walter Kerr at $419,612 and Equus at the Broadhurst at $413,957.

Shows that hit 95 percent attendance or better this week are “Jersey Boys” at the Virginia/August Wilson Theatre (100.8 percent), South Pacific at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center (99.8 percent), “Billy Elliot” at the Imperial (98.3 percent), “Irvin Berlin’s White Christmas” (98.1 percent), “Wicked” (96.7 percent) and “A Man for All Seasons” at the American Airlines Theatre (96.1 percent). Shows with low attendance include the soon-to-close “13” at the Jacobs (55.4 percent), The 39 Steps at the Cort (55.1 percent) and the newly opened Shrek at the Broadway Theatre (52.3 percent).

As this week’s lower total grosses would suggest, some productions saw significant drops in attendance over the past week. Grease, playing at the Atkinson, lost 13.4 percent in attendance, Pal Joey at Studio 54 lost 14.8 percent, and “Shrek” lost a whopping 20.2 percent.

Even some top sellers took hits this week, with Mamma Mia at the Winter Garden down 3.4 percent and The Little Mermaid at the Lunt-Fontanne down 8.2 percent. Increasing attendance this week are Liza at the Palace (up 2.8 percent), “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” (up 5.1 percent) and In the Heights (up 3.8 percent) at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

As Broadway’s economic future remains uncertain, producers are looking to tried-and-true staples to put up for the spring. Revivals are big this year, with “Blithe Spirit” (at the Shubert) and “Hair” (at the Al Hirschfeld) to open in February, Guys and Dolls on March 1 at the Nederlander, and “West Side Story” on March 19 at the Palace Theater.

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Broadway Gross Ticket Sales
Week Ending December 14, 2008

Production
(Theatre)
Weekly Gross Total Atten. Prev. Perf. Total Capacity Avg. Paid Admission Atten. %
               
13
(Jacobs)
$268,319 4,617 0 8 1,042 $58.12 55.4%
A Man For All Seasons
(American Airlines)
$297,729 4,979 0 7 740 $59.80 96.1%
All My Sons
(Schoenfeld)
$605,004 7,135 0 8 1,052 $84.79 84.8%
August: Osage County
(Music Box)
$324,511 4,251 0 8 979 $76.34 54.3%
Avenue Q
(Golden)
$258,640 4,409 0 8 796 $58.66 69.2%
Billy Elliot
(Imperial)
$1,226,099 11,178 0 8 1,421 $109.69 98.3%
Boeing-Boeing
(Longacre)
$331,996 5,289 0 8 1,077 $62.77 61.4%
Chicago
(Ambassador)
$420,304 5,856 0 8 1,080 $71.77 67.8%
Dividing the Estate
(Booth)
$336,609 5,181 0 8 780 $64.97 83.0%
Equus
(Broadhurst)
$413,957 5,278 0 8 1,206 $78.43 54.7%
Grease
(Atkinson)
$491,496 6,410 0 8 1,072 $76.68 74.7%
Gypsy
(St. James)
$529,367 8,055 0 8 1,707 $65.72 59.0%
Hairspray
(Neil Simon)
$546,034 9,387 0 8 1,428 $58.17 82.2%
In the Heights
(Rodgers)
$814,783 8,804 0 8 1,344 $92.55 81.9%
Irving…White Christmas
(Marquis)
$1,489,184 14,229 0 9 1,611 $104.66 98.1%
Jersey Boys
(August Wilson)
$1,143,059 9,854 0 8 1,222 $116.00 100.8%
Liza’s…Palace
(Palace)
$660,699 6,413 0 4 1,701 $103.02 94.3%
Mamma Mia!
(Winter Garden)
$937,171 10,995 0 8 1,498 $85.24 91.7%
Mary Poppins
(New Amsterdam)
$736,794 10,078 0 8 1,797 $73.11 70.1%
Pal Joey
(Studio 54)
$343,303 6,252 8 0 1,004 $54.91 77.8%
Shrek
(Broadway)
$543,355 7,273 7 1 1,739 $74.71 52.3%
Slava’s Snowshow
(Hayes)
$207,054 2,509 0 8 578 $82.52 54.3%
South Pacific
(Beaumont)
$926,002 8,308 0 8 1,041 $111.46 99.8%
Spamalot
(Shubert)
$576,975 8,805 0 8 1,441 $65.53 76.4%
Speed the Plow
(Barrymore)
$485,751 5,918 0 8 1,058 $82.08 69.9%
Spring Awakening
(O’Neill)
$343,049 5,558 0 8 1,090 $61.72 63.7%
The 39 Steps
(Cort)
$198,718 3,466 0 8 787 $57.33 55.1%
The Lion King
(Minskoff)
$1,056,338 10,978 0 8 1,654 $96.22 83.0%
The Little Mermaid
(Lunt-Fontanne)
$724,570 8,370 0 8 1,518 $86.57 68.9%
The Phantom of the Opera
(Majestic)
$657,304 9,166 0 8 1,615 $71.71 70.9%
The Seagull
(Walter Kerr)
$419,612 5,514 0 8 947 $76.10 72.8%
Wicked
(Gershwin)
$1,430,967 13,992 0 8 1,809 $102.27 96.7%