Broadway box office showed some improvement last week, with business for the 19 productions rising 12% from the previous week to a total $16,909,848. Paid attendance was up a commensurate 9% to 152,557, indicating that about 81% of available seats were filled during the week ending Feb. 6.
That’s a noticeable improvement over recent weekends, when percentage of seats filled was topping out about about 75% or less.
Likely contributing to the uptick was the ongoing across-the-board Broadway Week 2-for-1 sales promotion, running throughout February. Another likely factor: MJ, the Michael Jackson musical, opened to generally strong (if occasionally askance) reviews and strong social media support from King of Pop fans.
Also up and running on all cylinders was The Music Man, with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, in its final weeks of previews prior to this Thursday’s opening night. (Critics were not invited to the preview performances, a break with Broadway tradition.)
Another consideration: The thin roster of shows – 19 in all – might reflect a weeding out of productions that had been playing to lots of empty seats. Both Girl From The North Country and Flying Over Sunset – fine shows that deserved better – were impacted by middling attendance during the December and January Omicron surge.
Average ticket price for the 19 productions was $111, up from the previous week’s $108. In fact, the average ticket price – likely driven by the bigger-selling shows – is not dramatically lower than that pre-pandemic averages. For the same week in 2020, the average price was $113.
But all other comparisons to the pre-Covid era show just how hard Broadway has been hit: For that first week in February 2020, total box office for 26 shows was $26,971,364, indicating a nearly 40% drop in box office between then and now.
Season to date, Broadway has grossed $435,996,138, with total attendance of 3,520,029 at about 80% of capacity.
Productions reporting performances on Broadway during the week ending Feb. 6 were Aladdin; The Book of Mormon; Chicago; Come From Away; Company; David Byrne’s American Utopia; Dear Evan Hansen; Hadestown; Hamilton; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; The Lion King; MJ; Moulin Rouge! The Musical!; The Music Man; The Phantom of the Opera; Six; Skeleton Crew; Tina; and Wicked.
All figures courtesy of the Broadway League, which, in contrast to previous seasons, is not releasing box office numbers for individual shows this season.
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