The week that ended Sunday on Broadway had to improve over the week before, when the Street went dark on a blizzard-flattened Saturday, so there’s even less reason than usual for week-on-week comparisons. And Week 36 one year ago saw five performances knocked out due to the weather, so same-week, year-on-year comparisons aren’t useful either. So let’s put the two seasons up against each other so far. And the news is: no news. Broadway habits run deep, January/February is always tough and only, to coin a phrase, the strong survive.
One trend that’s holding, however: More shows are, for the moment, bringing in less money. The 2014-15 season tally at Week 36 was $963.9 million; this season it’s off, though not by much: $957.7, down just over half a percentage point. This year, 30 shows were running; last year it was just 25, and the average price paid for a ticket was $98.81 versus the current $95.43.
And another trend is emerging: The years-long dominance of The Lion King, The Book Of Mormon and Wicked at the top of the list of the biggest earners has yielded to Hamilton, which again led Broadway in sales, with $1.73 million worth of tickets sold, or 29.8 percent above gross potential of $1.3 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers Theater. Average ticket price paid was $161.21, versus $155.05 for The Book Of Mormon, at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Eugene O’Neill; The Lion King, $116.61 at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; and Wicked, $101.77 at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin. Mormon and Hamilton teeter exclusively atop the Premium pyramid ($477 for the former, a bargain $475 for the latter).
Six shows topped the $1 million mark in addition to Hamilton, according to weekly figures released by the trade group Broadway League: Aladdin, at Disney’s New Amsterdam ($1.23 million); Fiddler On The Roof ($1 million at the Shubert Organization’s Broadway); On Your Feet! ($1 million at the Nederlanders’ Marquis); Mormon ($1.3 million); The Lion King ($1.5 million) and Wicked ($1.47 million).
Two stars fell from the firmament as their limited runs closed: Al Pacino flew away in David Mamet’s China Doll, and Tim Pigott-Smith was sent to The Tower as King Charles III was dispatched back to London. Stephen Karam’s celebrated new play The Humans has begun its Broadway run at the Second Stage-owned Helen Hayes Theater.