Broadway’s traditional post-holiday January doldrums teamed up with a slate of show closings and a national skyrocketing surge in Omicron cases to send box office tumbling by nearly a third last week. Combined grosses of $18 million for 27 Broadway productions were down 31% from the previous week’s $26 million.
The figure – $18,251,734, to be exact – of box office tallies for the week ending Jan. 9 reflects drops in both attendance and ticket prices. Total attendance for the 27 productions was only 156,986, indicating that nearly 40% of available seats went unfilled.
Last week’s box office total compares more favorably – if not hugely – to the anemic $14 million taken by the 22 productions that remained open during the Covid-hit Christmas week.
The average ticket price of $116 was off 21% compared to the previous week’s (holiday-inflated) $147. Prior to the holiday prices, average tickets hovered around the upper-$120s.
The $116 average ticket price compares even more starkly to the first week of a pre-Covid 2020, when the average was $135. (Total attendance that week was 317,679, with a combined box office tally of $43,095,641.)
Also contributing to the declines was a slimmer roster – the 27-production list compares to the previous week’s 30 – with the early closings of such shows as Waitress and Thoughts of a Colored Man, as well as the planned closings of Freestyle Love Supreme and The Lehman Trilogy.
Joining the roster last week was The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, no doubt providing some balance to the losses even while returning to previews late in the week (on Jan. 6).
Season to date, Broadway has grossed $369,052,720, with total attendance of 2,913,195 at about 81% of capacity. The Broadway League is not releasing box office numbers for individual shows this season, in a break with tradition, so the exact impact of cancellations and audience declines on each particular production is unverifiable.
Productions reporting performances on Broadway last week were: Ain’t Too Proud; Aladdin; The Book of Mormon; Caroline, or Change; Chicago; Clyde’s; Come From Away; Company; David Byrne’s American Utopia; Dear Evan Hansen; Flying Over Sunset; Girl From the North Country; Hadestown; Hamilton; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; The Lion King; MJ; Moulin Rouge! The Musical!; Mrs. Doubtfire; The Music Man; The Phantom of the Opera; Six; Slave Play; Tina; To Kill a Mockingbird; Trouble In Mind; and Wicked.