Broadway celebrates a successful year of economic growth.
Broadway celebrates a successful year of economic growth.

The numbers are in, and they seem to indicate that 2014 was a good year for Broadway — not just in terms of gross revenue, which can be easily inflated by tickets prices, but in terms of butts occupying the seats of Midtown's biggest theaters.

According to the Broadway League's year-end statistics, Broadway attendance was up 13 percent in a year-over-year comparison between 2013 and 2014. Additionally, as of week 32 in the 2014-15 Broadway season, compared with the same point in the 2013-14 season, attendance was up 14 percent. These stats come on the heels of record-breaking holiday attendance in Broadway theaters, with the weeks ending December 28, 2014, and January 4, 2015, becoming the highest-attended and highest-grossing on Broadway in recorded history.

Executive Director of the Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin is taking this as a heartening sign for New York's theater industry and an encouraging message for Broadway producers who are responsible for keeping this important cog in New York's economy turning smoothly. "For the last 12 months," she said, "we've seen an exciting increase of 13 percent in Broadway attendance, demonstrating that our producers are giving audiences a variety of plays and musicals to please many tastes. With record-breaking holiday weeks including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's – plus seasonal and calendar-year records, it reinforces that there really is a show for everyone. In addition to long-running favorites, audiences are enthusiastic about the new shows too."

The starry cast of It's Only a Play, one of the financial hits of 2014.
The starry cast of It's Only a Play, one of the financial hits of 2014.
(© Joan Marcus)

The 2014 Broadway grosses came to a grand total of $1.362 billion (a 14 percent increase in grosses over 2013), with attendance reaching a total of 13.13 million. One of the primary reasons for this jump in both income and attendance is the sheer quantity of options available to audiences seeking Broadway entertainment. This past Christmas week, 36 shows were playing, compared with 30 shows during the same week of 2013. Similarly, New Year's week of this year offered audiences 37 shows, compared with last year's 30. As a result, 2014 logged a total of 1,631 playing weeks (total number of performance weeks logged by all shows in a given season), surpassing 2013's 1,395 total playing weeks.

Judging by these impressive year-end numbers, it looks like the Broadway League's New Year's resolution for 2015 will be to keep the theaters filled and ready to host the city's ever-expanding base of Broadway aficionados.