The $3 million week, which just a few years ago had seemed a faraway milestone for Broadway, is starting to become more common not just in New York but on the road as well, with “Wicked” ringing in $3,325,200 from nine performances at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center.
That’s a new record for the highest-grossing week in U.S. touring history, after “Wicked” set the record last year with $3.29 million over a holiday week in St. Louis. Last week “The Lion King” raked in $2.76 million in San Francisco (that tour’s highest gross to date); sources say the Chicago production of “Hamilton” came in at about $2.9 million last week (and the prior week earned a notch above $3 million).
This year on Broadway, three shows — “Hamilton,” “Wicked” and “Lion King” — topped $3 million apiece, driven by sky-high demand, premium pricing and, in the cases of “Wicked” and “Lion King,” an extra performance each. On the road, many venues have a larger ticket inventory than Broadway houses, which helps boost numbers. The Kennedy Center Opera House, for instance, has more than 2,350 seats, as opposed to the approximately 1,900 at the Gershwin Theater, the Broadway home of “Wicked.”
The boffo holiday numbers for touring Broadway, coinciding with the seasonal boom that hits New York every year (and this year neared $50 million), underscores the fact that for the industry’s biggest titles, significant revenue pours in from well beyond Broadway. The multiple productions of “Wicked” around the world, for instance, have amassed some $4.2 billion in global sales, while for “Lion King,” one single tour alone recently hit $1 billion.
“Hamilton,” meanwhile, will this year add a touring production to play alongside its Broadway and Chicago incarnations; its cast will be led by Joshua Henry (as Aaron Burr, the role he currently plays in Chicago), Michael Luwoye and Rory O’Malley. That production kicks off in San Francisco in March, with a London staging on the way later this year.