Broadway Box Office Surges Along With Holiday Ticket Prices

Big holiday ticket prices, bonus performances and large audiences spurred a hefty surge of nearly 50% in Broadway box office last week (ending Jan. 1) over the previous week, with productions including Funny Girl, MJ, Six, Beetlejuice and & Juliet among the shows smashing house records.

With 20 of the 33 shows adding a ninth holiday-week performance to the usual eight-performance schedule, and overall ticket prices up 14% for the New Year’s week, Broadway grossed an impressive $51,912,226, a jump of 49% from the week ending Dec. 25. Attendance was up 31% to 311,447. Broadway’s average ticket price, with premium holiday prices figures in, was $166.68, compared to $146.02 the previous week.

In all, about 92% of the week’s Broadway seats were occupied, compared to 84% during Christmas week.

And compared to last year’s New Years week box office tally of $26M, the industry was up a huge 97%.

The full houses and higher prices resulted in the expected raft of broken house records. Among the shows setting new box office tally highs at their respective venues were:

  • Six, selling out at the recently renamed Lena Horne Theater and grossing $1,649,206 for eight performances, besting the previous record of $1,626,478 set by Waitress in January 2018 at the then-named Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Average ticket price was $200, up from $160 the previous week;
  • Funny Girl set a new box office record at the August Wilson Theatre, grossing $2,405,901 for a nine-performance week. The revival set the previous house record with an eight-performance take of $2,005,696 in December. Average ticket price last week was $235, up from $223;
  • Beetlejuice set a new nine-performance record at the Marquis with $2,462,831. The number was accomplished even without star Alex Brightman in the title role (the actor suffered a concussion during an on-stage mishap during the Christmas Eve performance); average ticket jumped $40 to $169;
  • & Juliet broke the nine-performance record at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre with a take of $1,639,788. The previous record of $1,546,950 was set by Beautiful in 2014, and a rep for & Juliet notes that the accomplishment was achieved with a lower holiday premium price ($325 compared to Beautiful‘s $350). The average ticket price for & Juliet was $177, only a bit higher than the Carole King musical’s $175;
  • MJ broke its 10th house record at the Neil Simon Theatre with a take of $2,223,069; average ticket was $200;
  • Chicago bested its own holiday week record, set in pre-pandemic 2017 at the Ambassador Theatre, with a gross of $1,299,400 and a $132 average ticket price.

Also of note, The Piano Lesson was one of the highest grossing non-musical plays of the week with a take of $1,140,437 at the Ethel Barrymore, making the revival the highest grossing August Wilson play ever on Broadway. The production has been extended through January 29. The non-musical Harry Potter and the Cursed Child took in $2.7M for the week, a figure the productions says is the highest weekly gross for a non-musical in Broadway history, breaking its own record set in 2018.

Other shows in the $1 million+ holiday club were: A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical ($1,425,882); Aladdin ($2,849,723); Almost Famous ($1,055,042); Hadestown ($1,279,810); Hamilton ($2,740,599); Into the Woods ($1,892,625); Moulin Rouge! ($1,975,132); Some Like It Hot ($1,176,786); The Book of Mormon ($1,680,124); The Lion King (with an amazing $4,315,264 and average ticket of $285); The Music Man ($3,971,531, average ticket also $285); The Phantom of the Opera ($2,788,017); and Wicked ($3,152,679).

A Christmas Carol starring Jefferson Mays played its final week, slipping by just over $200,000 from Christmas Week to $522,424.

Season to date, Broadway has grossed $965,623,088, with total attendance of 7,442,244 at about 87% of capacity.

Chicago smashes box office record on Broadway

Chicago, Broadway’s longest running American Musical has broken a box office record, achieving its biggest weekly gross at the Ambassador Theatre in its 26-year history.

For the holiday performance week ending January 1, 2023, Chicago grossed weekly ticket sales of $1,299,4004.24, beating a pre-pandemic shutdown gross of $1,260,248.30 for the week ending December 30, 2017.

The production also set a new single performance gross record for the evening performance on Wednesday, December 28 at $159,106.20.

Chicago has grossed over $700 million on Broadway since it opened in 1996 and grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide. It’s been seen by more than 32 million people and played over 32,500 performances worldwide in 36 countries and in more than 500 cities.

This year, the producers of Chicago are also celebrating the work of Broadway legend John Kander, who co-wrote the score to Chicago with the late Fred Ebb. Kander has the distinction of having had a show running on Broadway every season for the last 50 years. He has had presence on Broadway since 1959 when he earned his first credit as the dance music arranger and rehearsal pianist on Gypsy.

With a legendary book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Chicago is now the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.

Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, Chicago is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.

Directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Tony Award winner Ann Reinking, Chicago features set design by Tony Award winner John Lee Beatty, costume design by Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington, sound design by Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer and casting by Stewart/Whitley.

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Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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