Broadway a Big Hit as Attendance, Grosses Hit Records

27 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Broadway Box Office Tops $1.3B For Record-Breaking 2014-2015 Season.

Buoyed by a rising stream of tourists, the unexpected popularity of an adolescent with Asperger’s syndrome, the star power of Larry David and Helen Mirren, and the enduring appeal of a lion named Simba, the Broadway season that just ended was the highest-grossing ever. It’s boom time for Broadway: Overall attendance and grosses hit records in the 2014-2015 season, with 13 million people in the seats and $1.3 billion taken in at box offices. “The combination of diversity of subject matter, different curtain times, different pricing all add to it,” said Charlotte St.Broadway’s revenue and attendance figures both hit record highs for the third season in a row, fed largely by premium prices and a steady stream of more shows.Broadway hit a new landmark in the 2014-15 season, attracting more than 13 million theatergoers and pulling in $1.37 billion in a record-breaking 52-week frame.

NEW YORK, May 27 — Broadway enjoyed its highest-grossing season in history with US$1.36 billion (RM4.95 billion) in 2014-2015 and audience attendance topping 13.1 million, the Broadway League said yesterday.Broadway’s crazy 2014-2015 season ended on a very high note, especially if you’re a theater owner or one of a handful of producers with big fat hits: The week that ended Sunday brought the Street’s 52-week total gross to $1.36 billion. Attendance at shows rose 7.3 per cent from the previous year’s 12.2 million and grosses were up 7.6 per cent from US$1.26 billion, according to the league, which represents theatre owners, operators, producers, presenters and general managers. “It’s been an extraordinary season on Broadway, and I’m thrilled that we have broken all records,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Attendance from prior seasons hasn’t even come within spitting distance of 13 million in the past: The closest it came was 12.53 million in 2010-11, which for bookkeeping purposes was a 53-week season rather than the standard 52. Martin said in a statement. “We’ve been saying for several years now that there is something for everyone on Broadway; to have audience growth of over 13 per cent in two years clearly proves our point.” Thirty-seven productions, including 10 new musicals and five revivals, as well as 11 new plays and nine revivals and two specials opened during the latest season. “An American in Paris,” a romance based on the Oscar-winning film, and the lesbian coming-out story “Fun Home” led the Tony nominations, US theatre’s highest honours, which will be presented at Radio City Music Hall in New York on June 7.

To put that in perspective, Broadway attendance topped those of the ten professional New York and New Jersey sports teams combined by over 2.6 million attendances. The numbers were boosted by steadily increasing ticket prices, high demand from tourists swelling Times Square, reconfigured seating in some theaters, easier tools to buy tickets and the use of premium-priced seating, in which some tickets are snapped up for very high amounts. The previous high for a 52-week season was 12.33 in 2011-12. (Last season hit 12.21 million, and the 2012-13 season reported 11.57 million theatergoers.) The $1,365,232,182 in cumulative box office is also a new record, although given the rise of premium-price ticketing and the upward trend of ticket prices in general, that bump comes as less of a surprise. Both musicals earned 12 nominations each, followed by “Something Rotten!,” a bawdy parody of Broadway musicals set in 1590s Tudor England, with 10 nods. Several factors contributed to the growth, theater and tourism industry officials say: a boom in overall visits to New York City, a relatively healthy economy, a perception that Times Square is safer and more family-friendly than it had been, and a diversity of theatrical offerings. “I came to New York City to visit the town, but I have to be on Broadway,” said Paola Ruggiero, 39, of Lima, Peru.

The number of playing weeks — Broadway’s occupancy rate — was up 8.7 percent from last season’s 1,496 playing weeks to end at 1,626 playing weeks. There is a total of 2,080 total playing weeks available each year. “We’re giving theatregoers what they want, including a variety of musicals and plays, recognizable brands and new shows. Though that season saw more new shows that opened, 44, it also had several early closures that left theaters dark or in transition, such as “The Velocity of Autumn,” “Let It Be” and “Bronx Bombers.” This season had its flops, too, of course, including “Doctor Zhivago” and “Living on Love,” but it has also had “Fish in the Dark,” which has had full houses since it started previews in February. Among the Street’s individual titles, “The Lion King” ($101.9 million) — a consistent smash that has managed to roar to new life over the last few years — set a sales record for a single show over one season. The League did not estimate the total losses accumulated this season by shows that failed, including Doctor Zhivago, Honeymoon In Vegas, and Side Show, which may have cost investors this season upwards of $70 million.

Also doing well in 2014-15 were the usual suspects at the top of the Broadway charts, including “Wicked” ($91.7 million) and “The Book of Mormon” ($84.2 million). Contributing to the season’s muscular totals was the fact that Broadway has benefited in recent years from an influx of ongoing, strong-selling musicals that have joined those long-running successes — plus “The Phantom of the Opera” ($47.7 million this season), “Jersey Boys” ($41 million), “Mamma Mia!” ($35.6 million) and “Chicago” ($28.9 million) — in regularly bringing in money to Broadway. Thirteen of 31 productions grossed over $1 million, including newcomers An American In Paris (at $1.35 million, its best week yet at the Nederlanders’ Palace Theatre), Finding Neverland ($1.1 million at the Nederlanders’ Lunt-Fontanne), Larry David’s runaway hit Fish In The Dark ($1.2 million at true Shuberts’ Cort), Something Rotten! ($1 million at Jujamcyn’s St. Last season’s “Aladdin” ($75.9 million) and “Beautiful” ($61.4 million) are still doing robust business, as are 2012-13 openers “Kinky Boots” ($59.9 million) and “Matilda” ($51.3 million). In addition, the recent revival of live theater on television, with NBC broadcasting small-screen revivals of “Peter Pan” in 2014 and “The Sound of Music” in 2013, have merged the industries.

The season also boasted not one but two plays that have, in a rare turn, proved successful enough to play open-ended runs, with starry comedy “It’s Only a Play” ($36.3 million), blessed by big-money returns in its first months, and Tony contender “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” ($28.8 million) contributing significantly to Broadway’s 2014-15 totals. Buoyed by the publicity spotlight of the theater awards season, Tony contenders such as “American in Paris” ($1,349,932), “Something Rotten!” ($1,064,165) and “Fun Home” ($627,641) all hit best-ever numbers. Among the shows with plenty of seats to sell: Airline Highway (35% of potential), Vanessa Hudgens starrer Gigi (34% of potential), It Shoulda Been You (38% of potential), On The Town (36% of potential), The Visit (26% of potential) and Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2 (49% of potential). Programs like Family First Nights, which offers specially priced tickets for families, or 2-for-1 promotions like Broadway Week, facilitated by the city’s tourism arm NYC & Company, have widened the reach.

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