The annual bounty of Thanksgiving week gave the Broadway box office a record $35 million to be thankful for last week, with the hottest ticket on the street, “Hamilton,” blowing past the $3 million mark with an average price paid per ticket of more than $300.
“Hamilton” ($3,260,089) isn’t the first Broadway show to crack $3 million in one week — that distinction belongs to “Wicked,” which broke the barrier in 2013 — but “Hamilton” did it with just eight performances (rather than the nine shows that some titles play in holiday weeks) in a relatively intimate theater. With a premium ticket price ratcheted up to $998 (from $549) for the Turkey Day frame, average ticket price weighed in at a gobsmacking $303.21. These are best-yet tallies that come in the wake of all the attention “Hamilton” got from its recent visit by Mike Pence, but the explosion can’t be attributed to that controversy; the much-hyped show’s tickets for the week would have been snapped up at big-money prices long before that.
Thanksgiving is usually Broadway’s second highest-selling week of the year, after the boom that comes between Christmas and New Year’s. This year the cumulative total hit $35.3 million, a Thanksgiving record for Broadway. Up by 30,000 vs. the previous week, the overall attendance of 282,959 was the third-highest for a Thanksgiving frame, bringing in crowds at 86% of capacity for 34 shows (with last year’s attendance of 288,018 logged across 38 productions).
As usual, the highest-profile titles attracted the most attention from the holiday week’s tourist traffic, with “The Lion King” ($2,496,332), “Wicked” ($2,286,976) and “Aladdin” ($2,047,065) all topping $2 million apiece. An additional nine shows earned more than $1 million each, including all three of the Andrew Lloyd Webber productions — “School of Rock” ($1,590,032 for nine), “The Phantom of the Opera” ($1,256,000) and “Cats” ($1,203,814) — as well as recently opened Josh Groban headliner “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” ($1,282,384) and starry, strong-selling play “The Front Page” ($1,306,273).
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Among the previewing shows that will open before the end of the year, “Dear Evan Hansen” ($883,677 for seven previews), opening Dec. 4, continued to impress after its strong debut last week, while “A Bronx Tale” ($717,860) built up some steam prior to its Dec. 1 bow. The acappella musical “In Transit” ($257,037), meanwhile, could still use a little love.