NEW YORK—Broadway began 2015 in fine style, with 2014 going into the records books as the best-attended and highest-grossing year in Broadway history. This statement is according to figures released by The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry.
“For the last 12 months, 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. Season-to-date, attendance is up 14 percent, following last year’s end-of-season audience increase of 5.6 percent,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League.
“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,” Ms. St. Martin said.
From the week ending Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, through the week ending Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014, Broadway took in $1.362 billion at the box office. During this same period, Broadway reported a total attendance of 13.13 million.
This translates to a rise of 13 percent in attendance and a 14 percent increase in grosses over calendar year 2013. Also increasing in 2014 was the overall number of show-playing weeks, with the total reaching 1,631, compared to 1,395 in 2013.
Broadway also reported record totals for the just-completed Christmas and New Year’s weeks. The total attendance for the week ending Dec. 28, 2014, was 318,721 (an increase of 28,335 from the 2013 Christmas week).
Meanwhile, total grosses for that week came in at $40,993,950 (an increase of $2.2 million). Total attendance for the 2015 New Year’s week (ending Jan. 4, 2015) reached 346,913, an increase of 93,183 from 2013, while total grosses were $42,773,882, marking an increase of $11,630,212 from the same period the previous season.
The 2014–2015 theater season is also running ahead of its predecessor in terms of overall attendance and admissions. As of week 32 (ending Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015), season-to-date attendance had reached 8,244,043 admissions, a 14 percent increase from that time in 2013; while the season-to-date gross hit $876,873,195, a 14 percent increase from the same time for the 2013–2014 season.
One of the reasons for this boost is the fact that there were 36 different shows playing during the 2014 Christmas week, compared to only 30 shows for the same period the year before. There were also 37 shows playing New Year’s week 2015, as opposed to 30 shows for New Year’s week 2014.
Included among the Broadway shows that recouped during 2014 were “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” and “Matilda, The Musical,” (all from the 2013–2014 season), as well as “The River,” and “The Elephant Man” (from the 2014–2015 Broadway season).
Judd Hollander is the New York correspondent for the London publication The Stage.