The Great White Way has had its best season for both theater attendance and ticket grosses - but why? Musical movies don't do all that great, all of the musical TV shows were canceled, and high school musical programs are all but nonexistent.
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More than 13 million people attended shows last year, an increase of 1.6 perfect from last season. Revenue increased by 0.6 percent.
Now the massive success of "Hamilton" likely played into the increase in visitors and revenue, but Hamilton was actually the fifth most attended show - largely because it is in a smaller theater.
Some big performers include old hits: The Book of Mormon (5 years), Wicked (13 years), The Lion King (20 years), and Aladdin (2 years).
But something strange also happened, ticket prices went down for the first time in recorded history. "Premium ticket sales for hot shows are pumping overall grosses, [but] discounts at slower-selling productions are keeping the combined rise in check,” Hollywood Reporter writer David Rooney wrote of this change.
Broadway plays made up only 13% of the revenue, showing that maybe plays are on their way out.
“I continue to be really worried about the plays,” Victoria Bailey, executive director of the Theater Development Fund (which is in charge of the TKTS stands where Broadway tickets can be bought), told the NYT. “When people are going to the theater, either as a tourist or for a celebratory event, they tend to go to musicals, and so I think it’s even harder for plays to make a go of it. In the short run, we’re holding even, but what is five years from now going to look like?”
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However, some plays are doing very well - Arthur Miller's The Crucible is performing well and The Humans is continuing to build an audience around word of mouth and stellar reviews for the realistic look at the American family.