Broadway Burns Up The Record Book As Ticket Sales Lift B.O. Into $50M Stratosphere

Joan Marcus

UPDATE 1:30: Corrects Broadway League figure for Something Rotten! and adds Wicked, below.

Every show on the Broadway roster saw ticket sales soar during the final week of 2o16. Many of them broke their own house records while helping to lift the entire Street to an all-time high of $49.53 million for 33 shows. Customers were willing to pay spiked prices even for old-timers and new shows not named Hamilton, in a week where most shows added a ninth performance to the mix.

Leading the pack was Hamilton, which has shown no sign of relinquishing its title since most of the original leading players departed last summer. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s history-making historical musical had its third $3 million-plus week of the holiday season, taking in $3.335 million — the biggest yet at the Nederlander Organization’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. There was a big assist from the District’s top ticket price of $998, leading to an average tariff of $310.13 per. The show was one of two — the other being Disney’s The Lion King — to top $100 million in sales during the calendar year.

Lion King
Disney’s ‘The Lion King’

And speaking of Disney’s 19-year-old cub, The Lion King was close behind Hamilton in Week 32 of the 2016-17 season, with $3 million in sales at the Minskoff, according to figures release by the trade group Broadway League. That marks the 26th time the perennial hit has broken the house record at the Nederlander-owned theater. Meanwhile, at Disney’s flagship New Amsterdam, Aladdin broke the house record with $2.4 million in sales.

Hamilton and The Lion King were joined in the $3-million club by another longterm blockbuster: Wicked, at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin, squeezed in between them in second place, with $3.16 million in sales.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera remains not only the longest-running Broadway show ever but still retains its drawing power, posting sales of  $1.84 million at the Shubert Organization’s Majestic Theatre, breaking the house record there. Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, at the Shuberts’ Winter Garden, broke the house record there with $2.02 million in sales, while Cats broke the house record at the Nederlanders’ Neil Simon with $1.72 million in sales.

The cast of 'Dear Evan Hansen' at Broadway's Music Box Theatre.
‘Dear Evan Hansen’ at Music Box Theatre Matthew Murphy

More record breakers: Dear Evan Hansen made the spirit of Irving Berlin smile with a house record of $1.27 million at the Shuberts’ Music Box. Waitress, at the Nederlanders’ Brooks Atkinson, took in $1.3 million. Jersey Boys posted the best week of its long run at Jujamcyn Theatres’ August Wilson, with $1.78 million. A Bronx Tale, at the Shuberts’ Longacre, scored $1.3 million. Chicago, at the Suberts’ Ambassador, booked $1.25 million. Matilda, in her last and best week, broke the house record at the Shubert with $1.9 million. You want magic? The Illusionists: Turn of the Century played an astonishing 17 performances at the Nederlanders’ Palace, grossing $2.4 million, the best ever for the 3-year-old holiday visitor.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 had its best week yet at the Shuberts’ Imperial, with $1.37 million in sales for eight performances. Tuna fishy comedy Oh, Hello On Broadway broke the house record at the Shuberts’ Lyceum with $911.6K. Tony winner The Humans, at the Shuberts’ Schoenfeld, doubled its income from the previous week to $814.5K.

Broadway bid a blazing farewell not only to Matilda and the magicians but to Something Rotten! at Jujamcyn’s St. James ($1,48 million) and Fiddler on the Roof ($1.85 million at the Shuberts’ Broadway).

The $49.5 million tally, by the way, represents a 15% boost over the same week a year ago, when there were 38 shows on the roster, compared with this year’s 33.

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