Forbes reporter Lee Seymour did the analysis with figures supplied by the Broadway League. Among his takeaways:
Tweets don't always generate ticket sales. Though Hamilton, as expected, was the most-tweeted-about show, there was no one-to-one correlation beyond that.
"Celebrities make for great investments, but bad talking points." Star-driven productions of The Elephant Man, The River, Constellations, Skylight, An Act Of God and China Doll all recouped their costs but none of them made it into the top 15 for tweets.
- "Fun and topical are more tweetable than famous. The two most-mentioned plays were Curious Incident and Hand To God, neither of which had marquee names attached."
As expected, "Hamilton really is all that and a bag of chips. It’s the first Broadway show to ever generate more than a million tweets" while also bringing in the heftiest percentage of its "maximum potential gross" (116.98 percent, meaning it sold a lot of standing room in addition to selling all its seats).
Ten of the top 15 most-tweeted-out shows opened as part of the 2014-15 season. "But three of the top five were old hands, suggesting established brands have more weight than buzzy newcomers."
"Not a single show in the top fifteen came from a non-profit Broadway establishment, which makes sense, given that their sales are driven by subscribers who’ve already bought into the brand." However, Hamilton and Fun Home did both start out at The Public [Theater], and they bookend the top five. There must be something in the water down at Joe’s Pub."
"Not all press is good press. Shows that received bad reviews were largely ignored on Twitter. The standout exception was Finding Neverland, which was lambasted and then snubbed at the Tonys, but has been generating both big sales and big Twitter numbers since."
"People are more popular than shows. Lin Manuel-Miranda has more than twice the followers Hamilton does, and Broadway’s three most popular tweets of 2015 were anchored by names, not brands." Here are the ten most tweeted-about shows:
Hamilton (1 million)
Book of Mormon (280,000)
Fun Home (266,000)
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
The Lion King
An American in Paris
Hand to God
Fish in the Dark
It’s Only A Play