Broadway’s 4th and Final Quarter Results: How did this season shape up?

I have an alarm in my Google Calendar set to go off at the end of every Quarter, to remind me to write my End of Quarter analysis of how the Broadway season is progressing.

That alarm went off last week, as it should have, at the end of our 52nd week.

Yet color-me-confused when there was no season-ending press release announcement from The Broadway League.  Huh.  So I waited to see what would happen this week.

And sure enough, I got my answer.

This season had 53 weeks!  Apparently, “to account for variances in the calendar year and in an effort to maintain an end-of-May end to the season” we add a week to the season every seven years.  Go figure!

This bonus week explains why the season results were up a whopping 5.9% for gross ticket sales at $1,080,562,880 and up 5.4% in attendance at 12,534,595.

Take out that 53rd week, and we can compare apples to apples and season to season.

The good news is even without the extra frame, our grosses would have been up 3.1% and our attendance up 3.6%.

I am proud to say that I called the upticks, but since attendance had been down 3 years in a row, I figured it couldn’t get any worse.

So what caused the positive swings this year?  We had 42 shows open this year, so that significant number brought some extra bodies and some extra bucks.  And one of those shows was a little darling of the press whose title rhymes with Biderspan. That super-sized muscial quickly joined the million dollar club and packed its enormous theater with thousands of people just waiting for an accident to happen.  Say what you want about it, but we owe a lot of this year’s success to that sucker.

So what happens next year?

That one is tougher to call.

Obviously we’re going to be down from the 5% figures because we’ve got one week deficit as we return to our previously scheduled program of only 52 weeks a season.

But how will we compare to the 3.6% and the 3.1% figures?

Unfortunately, I’m betting that our gross will stay flat, maybe up or down less than 1%.  Our attendance will drop a bit, though.  Why?  It looks like a light Fall to me without a ton of new product, and as we discovered this year, new product and good product get people to show up.

One thing I am sure about . . . I’ll blog about it!

See you then!  And happy end of the season to ya!

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.