Sunday marked the end of the highest-grossing and best-attended Thanksgiving week on Broadway ever. The total gross was $34.1 million, $2.6 million more than the same week in 2013. Attendance, per the trade group Broadway League, was 284,569, an increase of 23,513 from last year. Just how much of a run on the box office took place is evidenced by the spike in average ticket prices, as tourists scrambled to pay whatever the cost to see the hottest shows. They would include The Book Of Mormon, which posted a smashing average ticket price of $214.28, and its closest competitors, The Lion King ($178.11) and Beautiful ($175.11). All three shows were well above their gross potential, and only Beautiful came up just short of 100% attendance.
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On the non-musical side, Terrence McNally’s It’s Only A Play continued its fireball run, averaging $169.31 per ticket, followed closely by the Hugh Jackman starrer The River ($161) and Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man ($154.20). The Illusionists — Witness The Impossible, a Vegas-style revue that will play as many as 10 performances per week at the Marquis through the holiday season, took in $1.05 million for its first seven previews.
Disney’s two offerings — Aladdin, at the New Amsterdam, and The Lion King at the Minskoff — broke house records and sent an impressive $4.18 million into the home coffers, 12% of the total Broadway gross for 36 shows. And while Sting’s freshman musical The Last Ship showed a slight decline from the previous week, its fortunes should change with the wind in its sails next week in the wake of the star’s announcement that he will take over one of the leading roles for several weeks.
Not all the news was brilliant. Four shows in addition to Last Ship posted losses from the previous week: Pulitzer Prize winner Disgraced was down $21K at the Lyceum; Love Letters was off $102K at the Brooks Atkinson; The Real Thing was down $24.5K at the American Airlines and, most significantly, Honeymoon In Vegas, previewing at the Nederlander, was showing little heat in the run-up to its January 15 opening, playing to half-filled houses and taking in less than one-third of its gross potential. The Tony Danza vehicle has its work cut out for it.
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