The combination of premium ticket prices, extra performances, last-chance opportunities and loads of ticket buyers from out of town let Broadway ring out 2014 with its biggest-ever b.o. tally and SRO crowds at 26 of 37 shows running (including two limited gigs, a magic show at the Marquis, and the Temptations/Four Tops jam at the Palace).
It was sayonara for Cinderella, Once, Pippin, the freakishly short-lived Side Show, The Real Thing and This Is Our Youth, along with magic and Motown. Cindy left on a high with $1.87 million for nine performances at the Broadway, as did Once, at the Jacobs, shadowing $1M for eight final bows.
The trade group Broadway League, which releases figures, touted the records, citing a 13% increase over calendar year 2013 and a 14% increase in attendance. Total gross for calendar year 2014 (through Sunday, which was January 5) was $1.362 billion; attendance was 13.13 million.
January typically sends the Street into culling mode as weak shows shutter and make way for new ones. Motown: The Musical vacates the Lunt-Fontanne on January 18. Pulitzer winner Disgraced just announced a closing date of March 1 at the Lyceum, and the revived revival of Cabaret will depart Studio 54 at the end of that month. Honeymoon In Vegas, opening this weekend, will need a repeat of its strong out-of-town notices if it hopes to stanch the flow of red ink over an extended preview period.
The big family musicals all did big business. Cameron Mackintosh’s revived Les Miserables took in an impressive $1.4 million at the Imperial. Wicked at the Gershwin had the top take, at $2.7 million, followed by Disney’s Lion King at $2.5 million. The Book Of Mormon rang up $2.2 million for nine performances, with the leading average ticket price of $225.91. It’s Only A Play drew $1.45 million, topping the non-musicals with an average ticket price of $171.68.