Lions, Witches And A Genie Blast Broadway Box Office To $39M As Holiday Crowds Crash Times Square

The lion roared, the witches flew, the school rocked and even the aging Opera Ghost deserved a Champagne toast. Broadway is more generous than Washington on Thanksgiving: Here, all the turkeys get reprieves along with the biggest hits. Nearly everyone comes up a winner as families and tourists pump the trade each year to new highs, thanks to dynamic pricing, sky’s-the-limit premium pricing – and perhaps a popular need for escapism from strange times. Fourteen of Broadway’s 31 shows last week saw increases of more than $200K, in a week that rang up nearly $40 million in ticket sales.

At the front of that pack, hold your breath, were Wicked (up $937K to $2.4 million at the Nederlander Organization’s Gershwin Theatre); The Lion King, up $893K, thanks to a 20th anniversary lottery the week before, to $2.65 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; and School of Rock, up $723.71K to $1.5 million at the Shubert Organization’s Winter Garden. Aladdin soared $638K to $2 million at Disney’s New Amsterdam, and the expiring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne, got a $635K spike to $1.48 million.

And I haven’t even gotten to the season’s biggest draws, Bette, Bruce, and Burr. Springsteen on Broadway, a super hit that just extended through June, had nowhere to go, sales-wise, having already established a top ticket of $850 and selling out all five performances, and was the least-changed of the hits (see chart below). With Bette Midler now commanding a whopping $996 for her farewell weeks, Hello, Dolly! took in $2.47 million at the Shubert. Aaron Burr’s bullet hardly stopped Hamilton, at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers, where the $849 top ticket helped boost sales by $$627K to a Street-leading $3.45 million – that’s nearly 10 per cent of the Broadway total, if you’re counting.

The five top-grossing musicals were:

Hamilton ($3.45 million at the Nederlanders’ Richard Rodgers; $321.13 average ticket)

The Lion King ($2.65 million at the Nederlanders’ Minskoff; $195.67)

• Hello, Dolly! ($2.47 million at the Shubert; $211.68)

Wicked ($2.4 million at the Nederlanders’ Gershwin; $159.60)

• Springsteen on Broadway ($2.4 million at Jujamcyn Theatres’ Walter Kerr; five performances; $504.94)

Aladdin ($2 million at Disney’s New Amsterdam; $146.41)

The five top-grossing plays were:

• Meteor Shower ($1 million at the Shuberts’ Booth; eight previews; $166.58 average ticket)

The Parisian Woman ($692K at the Ambassador Theatre Group’s Hudson; eight previews; $94.64)

• Latin History For Morons ($567K for seven performances at the Roundabout’s Studio 54; $105.82)

• The Play That Goes Wrong ($524K at the Shuberts’Lyceum; $98.66)

M. Butterfly ($382K at the Shuberts’ Cort; $95.51)

Ticket sales for Week 27 of the 2017-18 Broadway season totaled $39 million across 33 shows, up $7.93 million (25 per cent) from Week 26 and $3.8 million – 11 per cent –  over the same week last season, according to the trade group Broadway League. Average price per ticket for all shows was $147.50, up from $125.77 the previous week.

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