Memorial Day weekend in New York City is usually a time dominated by wild parties and drunken sailors. But with Fleet Week officially cancelled this year due to federal budget sequestration, what was there left to do? Go to a Broadway show, apparently. 17,788 more seats were sold to Broadway shows during the week of May 19 – 26, as compared to last week, generating $2,230,527 more in ticket sales.
As a result, every show on Broadway grossed less last week than the week before, with the exception of The Big Knife and Matilda the Musical. Still, Broadway managed to pull in $23,307,202 last week, charging an average admission of $100.20 per ticket.
Here are the highest-grossing shows on Broadway:
1. The Lion King: $1, 870, 584
2. Wicked: $1, 776, 282
3. The Book of Mormon: $1, 742, 062
4. Motown the Musical: $1, 354, 876
5. Lucky Guy: $1, 343, 042
6. Kinky Boots: $1, 340, 238
7. Matilda the Musical: $1, 157, 633
8. The Phantom of the Opera: $1, 100, 715
9. Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark: $1, 040, 596
10. Cinderella: $895, 419
Motown the Musical bumped Lucky Guy out of the number-four spot, which it has held pretty consistently since opening. That doesn't mean Tom Hanks' Broadway debut has run out of luck, however: Its average paid admission was $139.74 last week and it sold 101.6% of the house. Lucky Guy is still the only non-musical to hold a spot in the top ten.
The Book of Mormon remains the show with far-and-above the highest average paid admission on Broadway: $199.05, just below the $200.00 psychological barrier that it shattered two weeks ago in the throes of long-weekend bacchanalia.
Little-musical-that-could Pippin was within striking distance of the top ten last week, grossing just $6,735 less than Cinderella. It charged an average admission of $117.09.
This coming Sunday, June 9 is the night of the 67th Annual Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards. What effect the awards will have on the box office has yet to be seen, but producers will certainly be eager to add the prefix "Tony Award-winning" to their marquees as this current crop of Broadway shows settles in for the summer season. With average ticket prices at a record high, that distinction could very well mean the difference between a ticket sold or a show skipped as tourists decide how to budget their valuable spending dollars.