By Robert Simonson
04 Sep 2013
With Labor Day weekend come and gone, the summer is unofficially over, and, on Broadway, the numbers aren't good. In terms of box office and attendance, the scene has been lagging behind last year's tallies.
For the 2013-14 season to date, Broadway has pulled in $323,652,661. That's roughly $2 million less than last season. Attendance tells a similar story. Last season at this time, 3,295,346 theatregoers had filed into Broadway houses. This season, the number is 3,031,890. Playing weeks are part of the problem. Last year, Broadway could boast of 401 weeks of performances at this point. This year, the weeks total 344.
The new David Leveaux production of Romeo and Juliet enjoyed its first full week of previews (seven in total), taking in 45% of its potential gross, and playing to 71% capacity audiences. The revival of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful, meanwhile, saw a sizable leap in attendance — up 838 ticket buyers — owing perhaps to audiences taking advantage of Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s final performances in the play.
Otherwise, attendance changes were a mixed bag. Annie, Mamma Mia!, Newsies, Pippin, The Lion King, Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera all saw audiences dip, while First Date, Rock of Ages, Once and Jersey Boys witnessed increases.
Achieving full-capacity audiences unsurprisingly proved a steep task this holiday week, with only The Book of Mormon, Matilda The Musical and Kinky Boots hitting the mark. Motown, Pippin, The Lion King and Newsies — regular 100%-ers — all fell short.
Let It Be, the Beatles jukebox musical, limped off Broadway in slightly improved fashion, playing to 51% capacity houses. Despite the jump in ticketbuyers, it was still the poorest performer of the week.