According to the trade organization—which has been proclaiming record-grossing weeks since the early summer—Broadway took in a record-breaking $825 million, a jump of 10.2 percent over the 2004 total of $749 million. In another landmark, paid attendance for Broadway in 2005 reached 11.98 million, the highest such number in 20 years, and a 5.7 percent increase from 11.33 million in 2004. Theatre seats were 80.4 percent filled, the League also reported, calling the figure the highest level since 1997.
Thirty-nine shows opened in the 2004 season. Playing weeks numbered 1,517, the highest in the past decade.
Among the factors assisting these numbers were the extraordinary circumstance of four new popular musicals opening last season—Spamalot, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and The Light in the Piazza—as well as such steady performers as The Lion King, Wicked and Hairspray. Plays also thrived, with Doubt, Twelve Angry Men and The Pillowman proving popular. (Plays alone brought in a record-breaking $136,245,789 and 2.11 million in paid attendance in 2005.) Doing their part as well were sold-out phenomena such as Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Denzel Washington Julius Caesar, and the Nathan Lane-Matthew Broderick The Odd Couple.