Thanks to Hamilton, The Lion King, Harry Potter and other blockbusters that draw fans from around the world, Broadway reported a record $1.8 billion in sales — up 7.8 percent — for the season that ended on Sunday.
Attendance was 14.8 million, up 7.1 percent. The gains were particularly impressive given that the previous season had 53 weeks, due to a quirk in the calendar.
Attendance has risen steadily for decades, with the number of theatergoers in 2018-19 double that of 1990-91. Grosses, thanks to rising ticket prices, have increased faster. In 2018-19, box office was twice that of 2005-06. (To be sure, in 2009-10, the Broadway League changed the way it calculates sales and attendance, boosting both figures.)
Recently, ticket price Inflation has been muted. The average seat price rose 80 cents to $123.87 in 2018-19. As sales were slow for new musicals in autumn but buoyant throughout the season for plays — with Network starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird starring Jeff Daniels and holdover Harry Potter going strong — it’s possible that the average ticket price for musicals declined. Detailed data isn’t yet available from the League.
Complicating the comparison: the most sought-after ticket in recent seasons wasn’t a play or musical but Bruce Springsteen’s story-filled concert, which played eight months in 2017-18 and six and a half months in 2018-19. It grossed a total of $113 million, with an average ticket of $506, the highest of any show.
Note: This post was updated.