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Why Broadway is breaking box office records

It was a record year for Broadway as box office sales soared to $1.83 billion, topping last year’s total of $1.697 billion, while total attendance jumped 7.1% year-over-year to 14.8 million, according to the Broadway League.

Leigh Scheps of InsideEdition.com told Yahoo Finance that diverse show offerings are a big reason why Broadway sales hit an all-time high.

“There’s a reason why people are going to Broadway… there’s a show for everybody. For the kids there’s ‘Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin.’ Then there are shows for teens like ‘The Prom’ and ‘Be More Chill’… There are also shows for my parents like ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ and ‘The Cher Show.’”

The Book of Mormon marquee at the entrance to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images)

Varied show offerings aren’t the only reason the Broadway business is booming— Broadway is also benefiting from the longevity of some hit shows.

“There is not a lot of turnover in theaters. Shows like ‘Wicked’ and ‘The Lion King’ have been on Broadway for 16 years. There’s not a lot of turnover, meaning these theaters aren’t vacant and therefore more people are seeing the shows.”

What makes a Broadway successful show

Long-running hits like “Hamilton,” “The Book of Mormon,” and “The Lion King” are still gaining traction, selling out theaters night after night. “Hamilton,” which is in its fourth year and a consistent top performer, set a weekly sales record, grossing more than $4 million during the winter holidays. Meanwhile, premium seats for “The Book of Mormon” topped $400 each during the year.

Scheps said top talent and well-known titles are key to producing successful shows and getting theater goers to pay top prices.

“A lot of A-listers are being brought on to Broadway. There’s also a lot of big-name shows that people recognize like ‘Pretty Woman,’ ‘Tootsie,’ ‘Beatle Juice.’ A lot of people know these titles and then want to see the musical version of the movie that they know and love.”

The average ticket price was $123.87 during the 2018-2019 season, up from the previous season’s price of $123.07.

Seana Smith is the anchor for The Ticker.


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