Broadway’s gross ticket sales stayed merry in the week ending Sunday, January 4, rising to $25,690,836 from last week’s $25,307,611. The best performing shows...

Broadway’s gross ticket sales stayed merry in the week ending Sunday, January 4, rising to $25,690,836 from last week’s $25,307,611. The best performing shows this week were Wicked at the Gershwin, followed by The Lion King at the Minskoff and Billy Elliot: The Musical at the Imperial. “Wicked” and “The Lion King” were also dubbed first and second highest grossers of 2008, according to Variety.com. In addition to these top-sellers, a number of productions surpassed the million dollar mark this week, including Jersey Boys (number three for the year), The Little Mermaid (number four for the year), Mamma Mia (number five for the year), In the Heights, Mary Poppins , The Phantom of the Opera and Shrek. “Young Frankenstein”, which closed on January 4, did not report its grosses this week.

Highest grossing plays were All My Sons at the Schoenfeld, followed by Equus at the Broadhurst and “Boeing Boeing”, which also closed on January 4 after a successful run at the Longacre.

Attendance was sky high for a number of productions this week. Shows with the best attendance include Chicago (101.2 percent), “Jersey Boys” (101 percent), “Spamalot” (101.3 percent), Spring Awakening (104 percent), “The Lion King” (100 percent), “The Phantom of the Opera”(100.4 percent), and “Wicked”(100 percent). The lowest attendance was seen by Speed the Plow (52.7 percent), whose sales fell dramatically after losing Jeremy Piven. “The American Plan” at the Friedman (58.6 percent), and “August: Osage County” at the Music Box (61.2 percent) also struggled with low attendance.

Many productions showed impressive bumps in attendance this week. Topping that list is Pal Joey at Studio 54, with a 28.5 percent increase. “Spring Awakening” at the O’Neill improved its attendance by 26.1 percent. “Boeing Boeing”, “Equus” and Gypsy at the St. James all saw increases in the 15 percent range. Among the rare shows which lost audiences this week are “August: Osage County” (down 8 percent), “Speed the Plow” (down 5.8 percent) and “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” (down 5.6 percent) at the Marquis.

Was Broadway’s holiday boost enough to keep it competitive with last year’s numbers? The verdict is mixed. Receipts were up slightly (941 million versus 938 million in 2007), as was attendance (12.32 million versus 2007’s 12.29 million). But numbers for 2007 include the 19 day stagehands’ strike which closed a number of shows during a peak holiday period. This raises the question, would 2008 seem as profitable if there had been no strike in 2007?

This was a boom of a holiday season on Broadway, and that alone gives hope to those who worried that the economic downturn spelled immediate danger. The staying power of this boom will be revealed over the coming months, as holiday shows close and audiences continue to struggle in a weakened economy.

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Broadway Gross Ticket Sales
Week Ending January 4, 2009

Production
(Theatre)
Weekly Gross Total Atten. Prev. Perf. Total Capacity Avg. Ticket Price Atten. %
13
(Jacobs)
$655,655 8,914 0 9 1,042 $73.55 95.1%
All My Sons
(Schoenfeld)
$713,678 8,713 0 9 1,052 $81.91 92.0%
August: Osage County
(Music Box)
$395,288 5,390 0 9 979 $73.34 61.2%
Avenue Q
(Golden)
$453,119 5,746 0 8 796 $78.86 90.2%
Billy Elliot
(Imperial)
$1,358,454 11,358 0 8 1,421 $119.60 99.9%
Boeing-Boeing
(Longacre)
$450,913 8,030 0 8 1,077 $56.15 93.2%
Chicago
(Ambassador)
$796,853 8,742 0 8 1,080 $91.15 101.2%
Dividing the Estate
(Booth)
$335,231 5,087 0 7 780 $65.90 93.2%
Equus
(Broadhurst)
$605,706 7,640 0 8 1,206 $79.28 79.2%
Grease
(Atkinson)
$768,163 8,647 0 8 1,084 $88.84 99.7%
Gypsy
(St. James)
$767,827 12,371 0 8 1,707 $62.07 90.6%
Hairspray
(Neil Simon)
$921,534 11,436 0 8 1,445 $80.58 98.9%
In the Heights
(Rodgers)
$1,136,062 10,090 0 8 1,365 $112.59 92.4%
Irving…White Christmas
(Marquis)
$869,936 8,841 0 7 1,611 $98.40 78.4%
Jersey Boys
(August Wilson)
$1,248,236 9,871 0 8 1,222 $126.45 101.0%
Liza’s…Palace
(Palace)
$587,196 6,208 0 4 1,699 $94.59 91.3%
Mamma Mia!
(Winter Garden)
$1,261,939 11,925 0 8 1,498 $105.82 99.5%
Mary Poppins
(New Amsterdam)
$1,225,467 14,034 0 8 1,797 $87.32 97.6%
Pal Joey
(Studio 54)
$402,251 7,331 0 8 1,004 $54.87 91.3%
Shrek
(Broadway)
$1,268,342 13,769 0 8 1,735 $92.12 99.2%
Slava’s Snowshow
(Hayes)
$363,887 4,250 0 9 578 $85.62 81.7%
South Pacific
(Beaumont)
$940,747 8,318 0 8 1,041 $113.10 99.9%
Spamalot
(Shubert)
$1,068,658 11,674 0 8 1,441 $91.54 101.3%
Speed the Plow
(Barrymore)
$329,979 4,464 0 8 1,058 $73.92 52.7%
Spring Awakening
(O’Neill)
$679,434 9,073 0 8 1,090 $74.89 104.0%
The 39 Steps
(Cort)
$340,071 5,405 0 8 787 $62.92 85.8%
The American Plan
(Friedman)
$72,190 1,524 4 0 650 $47.37 58.6%
The Lion King
(Minskoff)
$1,555,984 13,235 0 8 1,654 $117.57 100.0%
The Little Mermaid
(Lunt-Fontanne)
$1,159,724 11,763 0 8 1,520 $98.59 96.7%
The Phantom of the Opera
(Majestic)
$1,188,823 12,967 0 8 1,615 $91.68 100.4%
Wicked
(Gershwin)
$1,769,489 14,472 0 8 1,809 $122.27 100.0%