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 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

Weekly GrossTotal Atten.Prev.Perf.Total CapacityAvg. Ticket PriceAtten. %
All My Sons
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)
Slava’s Snowshow
South Pacific
Speed the Plow
Spring Awakening
The 39 Steps
The American Plan
The Lion King
The Little Mermaid
The Phantom of the Opera