Broadway box office up for the holidays, but Santa definitely skipped some shows
Broadway theaters earned nearly $25 million for the week ending Dec. 26, with grosses up $1.1 million over the previous week, according to the Broadway League. But with a whopping 10 shows set to close this Sunday (including the just-announced early shutdown of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Santa wasn’t exactly fair in doling out holiday bonuses.
In fact, the biggest presents were bestowed on long-standing hits like Wicked (up $521,000 for the week), The Merchant of Venice (up $454,000), The Phantom of the Opera (up $267,000) and The Lion King (up $252,000). Even the much-buzzed-about musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark raked in $944,000 and played to 100 percent capacity — despite delivering only four performances due to a widely reported on-stage mishap that sent a cast member to the hospital and scuttled several shows for safety checks.
Some soon-to-shutter shows, like the deliberately short-lived holiday hit Elf (up $107,000, to a theater-record $1.6 million), saw a box office boost. West Side Story and Fela! also saw upticks from the previous week; the latter even played to 93.6 percent capacity. But even some surviving shows appear to be struggling: If Lombardi (playing to 59 percent capacity), Million Dollar Quartet (52 percent capacity), and La Cage aux Folles (51 percent) can’t consistently fill houses during tourist-heavy Christmas week, one wonders how they’ll fare during the traditionally slower post-holiday winter months. To borrow a phrase from Jerry Herman’s Mame, they need a little (more) Christmas right this very minute.