Broadway’s 2nd Quarter results: We’ve seen this story before.

26 Weeks down.  26 to go.

The 2011-12 Broadway season is half over and already people are wondering . . . will we shatter another sales record?

Well, so far, so good.

The first 26 weeks of this Broadway season have grossed $534,026,464, a whopping 5.6% (!) increase over last season at this same time.

So why aren’t I whooping over this whopping?

Because, once again, even though the cash registers are more full than ever, attendance is down 1.3%.  And this ain’t the first time we’ve had this problem.

Now I could spin this and say that more bucks with less bodies demonstrates how smart we are getting at managing our inventory and increasing prices depending upon demand.  The NY Times just did an article about this very subject, which you can read here.  And it’s true, we are getting better.  And the mega hits are turning into MEGA hits.  I mean, Phantom did over $1mm last week . . . after 23 years!  (That’s a lot to be thankful for), but less bodies for the rest of Broadway is a problemo, my friends.

And now that we’ve semi-mastered pricing, it’s time we focus on getting more bodies to pay regular price.

1.3% isn’t a huge differential though . . . there are still 26 weeks to go.  Will we make up the difference?

I’ll be back to update you in 13 weeks to see where we’re headed.


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  • Javierarayat says:

    the problem goes to emerging artists. Those to whom is harder to get audiences in their shows. They cant charge more, their demand is very sensitive to pricing.
    23 years of MEGA hits sound just great. I just worry about how hard it is to get the first month in a theatre with your brand new idea.
    greetings from Santiago, Chile 😉

  • Darren says:

    More income from fewer people means Broadway is becoming more elitist. I’d worry about that too.

  • bobby lee says:

    “And now that we’ve semi-mastered pricing, it’s time we focus on getting more bodies to pay regular price.”
    I don’t know if it’s time for “we” to have that as a primary focus. Although there obviously are exceptions, I think the majority of people who are willing (and able!) to pay regular or premium prices do not go to the theater that often. It’s more of a special occasion for them.
    I’d like to think that a constant theatergoer like myself (it is not unusual for me to attend the theater around ten times a month) also provides a ballast of some sort in helping to fill up seats and contribute to keeping shows alive.
    Were it not for discounts — and lotteries and standing room — I’d never see the number of shows I do. I only have so much money to feed my unending love (and need) for live theater — On, Off, Off-Off and WAAAY Off B’way.
    I’m now in my 61st year of going to the theater (I started at 12 and am now 73). I’ve never become jaded, or lost my sense of excited anticipation when the houselights go to half. If I love show, I’ll return over and over again: A CHORUS LINE and THE FANTASTICKS over 50 times each; and many shows over ten times — from the original productions of WEST SIDE STORY, GYPSY, HOW TO SUCCEED, WHO’S AFRAID OF V.W. and FORUM to HAIRSPRAY, SPRING AWAKENING (love those stage seats!) and BILLY ELLIOT. I also subscribe to a number of non-profits, “cause most of them are a real good deal.
    If I payed full price, I would only be able to go half as many times. And isn’t the TKTS booth (and group sales, tdf, lotteries, rushes and standing room) helping to keep theater alive? (It’s been dying ever since I can remember, of course. :=)
    There will always be tourists (foreign & domestic) and the upper upper classes and super rich to pay the big bucks, but you also need the rest of us, and need to keep focussing on keeping “us” coming — not to mention cultivating the audiences of the future.
    P.S. I love the energy being generated at the Circle in the Square these days — and I’ll be back!

  • I’d worry about that too.

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