To say it was a big year for Broadway would be an understatement. With a history dating back to the 18th century, leave it to 2011-12 box office and attendance figures to shatter all previous totals, en route to the most successful 52-week run ever recorded. For those curious, Broadway is defined by Dictionary.com as “a street in New York City, famous for its theaters, restaurants, and bright lights.” Furthermore, it states that it is “the theater district located on or near this street, especially as the center of the professional or commercial theater in the U.S.”
According to the annual demographics report compiled by Broadway League, the 2011-12 box office season, which runs from May through April, raked in about 1.14 billion dollars to go along with 12.3 million in attendance. While the hefty box office tally can likely be attributed to ever-increasing ticket prices, the surge in attendance is surely a positive sign that things are on the upswing as far as spending, especially in New York.
The report noted that 41 new productions debuted last season, with many shows (old and new) getting a boost from Hollywood in the form of such notable celebs as Paul Rudd (Grace), Katie Holmes (Dead Accounts), Scarlett Johansson (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Tom Hanks (Lucky Guy), Al Pacino (Glengarry Glen Ross), and Hugh Jackman (A Steady Rain), among many others throughout the year. Broadway’s seasoned vets experienced continued success as well, as audiences only helped to increase the already substantial earnings for blockbuster productions such as The Lion King, Wicked, Jersey Boys, and The Book of Mormon.
In addition to the above facts and figures, the Broadway League also reported that 67% of people went to at least two shows during the season, while the average theatergoer frequents more than four. Of the entire audience population, 62% were tourists and 65% were women. To really put Broadway’s success in perspective, the report stated that the attendance numbers surpassed that of all 10 New York and New Jersey professional sports teams, which yes, even includes the Yankees and Knicks.
It appears the current Broadway season has not missed a beat, as recent Thanksgiving-week numbers showed record draws for the Palace Theatre’s current production of Annie, while the Nederlander Theatre’s Newsies set a venue record with over $1.1 million in ticket sales. Additionally, the box office has been kind to newbies like Elf and A Christmas Story: The Musical, which will likely become mainstays each holiday season.
Find theater tickets to all these shows and more in the Vivid Seats marketplace, which is fully stocked for the always exciting Broadway season, as well as productions all across the country.