Broadway Box Office: Strong Summer for Average Ticket Prices

Main Stem's cumulative sales went down last week, but average price paid per ticket rose

As summer starts to wind down, so does the Broadway cume — but last week average ticket price actually climbed, in what’s been a strong season so far in terms of the average price paid per ticket.

Overall ticket sales for the week ending Aug. 4 slid by more than $1 million to $23.1 million and attendance was off 12,000 to 217,266. But the average amount forked over for each ticket upticked by about $1.25 to a hearty $106.34, the latest in a string of unusually high showings this summer. Last summer at this time, the figure came in at $98.74.

Part of the explanation, of course, is that top ticket prices have been inching inexorably up for years now, and the increasing prominence of premium-price seating, especially in high-demand frames, has kept the overall Rialto average eternally on the rise.

But the other part of the equation is the fact that the spring season yielded an unusually high number of strong box office performers, so the slate is now loaded with titles that ticketbuyers are willing to shell out to see. So the averages at longstanding successes — $197.75 at “The Book of Mormon” ($1,730,668), $157.71 at “The Lion King” ($2,145,484), $134.73 at “Wicked” ($1,880,559) – have been joined new hot-ticket averages including $142.53 at “Kinky Boots” ($1,636,476), $131.10 at “Pippin” ($1,043,942), $120.54 at “Motown” ($1,423,791) and $111.50 at “Matilda” ($1,286,980).

There’s a rich-get-richer element at play here, when big-name shows that are already doing well reap even more rewards when demand is at its tourist-fueled summer elevation. Heck, “Lion King” has almost made a habit this summer of ringing in more than $2 million per frame: It’s done so the last five weeks running, and only one of those weeks was boosted by an additional ninth perf.

Meanwhile, the really new titles on the boards, overshadowed by their better-known peers, didn’t share in the same tourist-fueled bounty. One previewing tuner currently on the boards, “First Date” ($430,115), stayed about steady, with producers likely hoping for a bump from the reviews that will follow the show’s Aug. 8 opening. The other new musical in previews, “Soul Doctor” ($195,120), played its first full week of eight shows but has yet to pick up much momentum.

Some limited run productions, including plays “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” ($569,705) and “The Nance” ($352,327), will continue to exit as the summer wears on. That’ll bring the cume down, but this year the balance could be restored early with the first star-driven play revival of the season, Orlando Bloom topliner “Romeo and Juliet,” set to kick off perfs Aug. 24.

More Legit

  • Because of Winn Dixie review

    Regional Theater Review: 'Because of Winn Dixie,' the Musical

    Watching the musical “Because of Winn Dixie” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, Conn., it’s hard not to think of another show that premiered in the same regional theater 43 years ago. It, too, featured a scruffy stray dog, a lonely-but-enterprising young girl and a closed-off daddy who finally opens up. But “Winn Dixie,” based [...]


    Off Broadway Review: 'Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow'

    There’s something about Anton Chekhov’s whiny sisters that invites comic sendups of “Three Sisters” like the one Halley Feiffer wrote on commission for the Williamstown Theater Festival. Transferred to MCC Theater’s new Off Broadway space and playing in the round in a black box with limited seating capacity, the crafty show feels intimate and familiar. [...]

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]


    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content