By Robert Simonson
03 Dec 2013
Broadway was breaking records like turkey wishbones over the long Thanksgiving weekend.
First order of business for many Broadway press agents Dec. 2 was to write about how well their shows had done during the previous week. The Lion King, always a strong seller, announced it had broken the house record for an eight-performance week at the Minskoff Theatre with a gross of $2,365,402. This bested the previous record of $2,155,758 for the week ending July 28, 2013.
The musical Kinky Boots made a similar joyful noise about a filled till. The Tony-winner grossed $1,912,568 in the week ending Dec. 1, breaking the house record at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. The figure surpassed the record of How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, which was set in Jan. 2012 during a nine-performance week.
The Book of Mormon — Broadway's longtime heavyweight champ, which breaks box-office records like many do matchsticks — meanwhile, ruptured the house record of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre for the 46th time. The show earned $2,161,225.00 for nine performances for the week ending Dec. 1. The figure also tops the show's previous record for a nine-performance week, when it grossed $2,158,595 for the week ending Dec. 30, 2012.
Some plays had good news, too. The all-male Shakespeare repertory productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III broke the house record of the Belasco Theatre, taking in $826,486.50. The previous record was set by another Bard play, the 2005 Julius Caesar starring Denzel Washington.
Why so many shattered box-office records? Well, higher ticket prices help. The average admission during Thanksgiving week to The Lion King, for instance, was $175.84. The previous week it had been $120.76. Similarly, Kinky Books' average duct went for $166.82 during the feast week, a roughly $25 increase over the week ending Nov. 24. There was barely a Broadway show, in fact, that didn't see a nice bump in its average ticket price over Thanksgiving.
The bursting houses led to an overall box office figure across Broadway of $31,531,067, a massive $7 million over last week's number. Attendance, meanwhile, was up by nearly 30,000. The number of shows on Broadway remained steady at 32.
Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, which is on its way out of the Foxwoods come early 2014, enjoyed something it hadn't had in months: Full houses. Attendance was well above capacity, with an additional 3,275 theatregoers taking in the show than had the week before.