By Robert Simonson
04 Feb 2014
The two rotating Bard plays broke the house record of Broadway’s Belasco Theatre for the fifth time. The productions, which opened Nov. 10, 2013, to critical praise, grossed $907,006 for the week ending Feb. 2, 2014, breaking the house record of $881,048 the productions had set for the week ending Jan. 19, 2014.
As press reps for the show pointed out, these numbers are particularly remarkable since the shows have an access policy whereby 250 seats a performance – 2,000 seats a week in the orchestra, mezzanine, balcony, boxes and on stage – are sold for $25. (The average paid admission for the twin bill is $105.64.)
The welcoming policy, making the show accessible to folks with thin wallets, has doubtless contributed to the show's playing to full capacity each week of 2014.
News for Broadway overall wasn't as happy as it was for Twelfth Night/Richard III. The composite box-office tally was $16,714,694, a dive of two-and-one-half million from last week, even though the number of shows remained steady at 26. Attendance, too, was down by 15,000.
Broadway can partly blame the Super Bowl for this. To cater to the big game, which took place in New Jersey, the city constructed "Superbowl Boulevard," on Broadway from 34th to 48th Streets, for the use of fans who wished to watch the game out of doors. "During this time," said The Broadway League, "media confusingly reported that 'Broadway was closed.'"
As a result of these special circumstances, all but a few shows saw a downturn in box office and attendance. One of those exceptions was, natch, Twelfth Night/Richard III. Shakespeare fans, it seems, care little for football.