Who said there was no money to be made in the theater?
This was a record-breaking week on Broadway from a financial perspective — which is pretty impressive considering that 24 of Broadway’s 36 open shows reported losses compared with the previous week. Still, Broadway reported a ton of good news this week, which helped make history.
The Book of Mormon once again broke the house record of Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, filling the theater at a capacity of 102.6% for the 34th time in a row. The megahit also earned $1,609,477.71 — it’s third best week ever. And ticket prices, 13 months after the show opened, are still getting higher and higher. In fact, this week was the highest average ticket price Mormon has seen in its entire run, at $183.90. The top ticket price still sits pretty at $477 — a number that hasn’t changed since June, 2011. (Meanwhile, Dave still hasn’t won that damn lotto. Hasa diga ebowai.)
Not to be outdone, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman broke two records in one week. First, Salesman crossed the million dollar mark for the first time in its run, grossing $1,014,413.31 in only seven performances. Seems like everyone and their mother is paying through the nose (top ticket price – $475) to see “The Tragic Tale of Willy Loman” before it closes. And for the eleventh time, the show broke the house record at the Barrymore Theatre, filling more than 99% of seats. But here’s the interesting thing: in its entire run, Death of a Salesman has yet to fill 100% of its 7,252-seat theater.
And then there’s Once. Or as we like to call it, “The Little Musical that Could.” The 11-time-Tony-nominated musical had its best week ever, taking in a solid $820,323. Once has hands-down seen the biggest benefits of the Tony nominations. The show’s capacity percentage, average ticket price, and revenue have grown almost every week since the nominations were announced. For a small show about romance without any flashy sets, costumes, or traditional choreography, that’s a pretty big feat.
But as we said, despite success for Mormon, Salesman, and Once, grosses were down just about everywhere else. Still, this was the highest grossing week-leading-up-to-Memorial Day on record. A stellar $26,588,408 total came in this week. Hot damn!
Oh, and if that weren’t enough, the numbers for the end-of-season as a whole are in, and holy shit, did we collectively spend a lot of money seeing shows! Altogether, in the 2011-2012 season (May 30, 2011 – May 27, 2012), Broadway shows grossed $1,139,311,457. That’s the highest-grossing season on record, up 5.4% from last season. Broadway broke attendance records as well, with 12,334,312 people attending shows. That means each person spent roughly $92.37 on Broadway shows — not that much, when you think about it. Is that us justifying our theater spending habits? Why, yes. Yes it is.
Grosses are provided courtesy of The Broadway League. Click here to read this week’s complete list of grosses.