Broadway Celebrates a Record New Year

Elphaba Wicked Image - H 2013
Joan Marcus

Elphaba Wicked Image - H 2013

Defying holiday tradition, box office for the week ending Jan. 4 outstripped that of Christmas, notching all-time-high grosses of just under $42.8 million and boosting the calendar year by 13 percent

Christmas is usually the most bountiful week of the Broadway year, with a slight deceleration in theatergoing as tourists head home over the New Year. But this season flipped that trend with record-shattering box office for the week ending Jan. 4 of $42,773,882.

That total helped push the number of admissions for the calendar year up by 13 percent. Total grosses for 2014 were $1.362 billion, with attendance of 13.13 million. The Broadway season is officially calculated from midyear to midyear, pegged to the Tony Awards, with the 2014-15 season currently in front by 14 percent. Season-to-date attendance stands at 8,244,043.

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The Christmas and New Year period was the most lucrative in industry history. Across Broadway, existing house records toppled, led by Wicked, which grossed $2,740,642 for the week ending Jan. 4, the highest total ever for an eight-performance week. Touring productions of Wicked also smashed records in Los Angeles and Detroit, bringing the show's North American earnings for the two-week holiday period to more than $15.6 million.

Disney stablemates The Lion King and Aladdin also set new highs last week, grossing $2,514,893 and $1,842,291, respectively. As reported last week, The Lion King for the second consecutive year was Broadway's highest annual earner and the first show to top $100 million in a single year.

Industry pundits may have lost count of how many times The Book of Mormon has set a new house record, but that hit chalked up another one last week, with $2,204,280. The theater-biz comedy It's Only a Play, reteaming Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, marked yet another record with $1,455,818, while The Elephant Man, starring Bradley Cooper, also bested its own previous high with $1,069,102. 

Read more Broadway Grosses Hit New High Over Holiday Week

One of the top grossers of the week was the touring magic-act showcase The Illusionists — Witness the Impossible, which added another $2,217,250 to its tally. That brought the production's six-week holiday engagement on Broadway to a hefty $8,156,239 total.

Mirroring Christmas week, a total of 19 productions grossed more then $1 million apiece last week.

They included A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder ($1,011,822), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical ($1,264,728), Cabaret ($1,051,850), Cinderella ($1,873,246), Jersey  Boys ($1,091,460), Kinky Boots ($1,572,870), Les Miserables ($1,425,137), Mamma Mia! ($1,002,625), Matilda ($1,502,817), Motown: The Musical ($1,215,495), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ($1,089,779) and The Phantom of the Opera ($1,649,106).

Starting Jan. 13, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson in Constellations, another 18 productions are scheduled to open between now and the cutoff date for Tony Awards eligibility in late April.