End of Q4 and FINAL results for Broadway’s 2016-17 season.

She’s in the books, ladies and gentlefolk.  The 2016-17 Broadway Season is officially over!  Ok, ok, there are still a few trophies to hand out, but from an accounting point of view, the #s are in ink.

So how’d we do?

Before we get into that, let’s look at where we were a year ago.  Back at the end of last season, the grosses grew by a paltry .6%, after two strong years of growth.  Not so good, in the season that saw Hamilton get added to the boards, am I right?

Well, call it a Dead Cat Bounce, or call it The Hamilton Halo effect, but the numbers jumped back up for this season.

The grosses this season were up a sizeable 5.5% over last season, which is despite a DROP in the number of playing weeks by 4.1%.  That’s right, no matter how much press there has been about the # of shows on Broadway this season, there are 4.1% less than last season.  Yet, less shows delivered more dollars.

Attendance?  Well, not as rosy, but that report never is.  While we still sat 13.27 million butts in seats this year,  that’s a bit down from the 13.32 from the year before (-.4% to be exact).

While more bucks and less butts is never a great business model, the gap isn’t as wide as it has been, so no need to panic just yet.

So, to what do we attribute this boost in gross this year?

We’re getting smarter.

Variable pricing or maximizing revenue is a major subject at every meeting I’m in these days, and more and more shows are hiring staffers to work on nothing else but figuring out how to get every penny they can out of every seat.

And it’s working . . . which is why there are more dollars in the till, but less fannies in the theater.

Good for us, right?

Yeah, it is good . . . except there is one thing that concerns me . . . usually when there are a lot more dollars coming into a business than ever before, there’s more profitability than ever before. Yet in our biz, the 1 out of 5 recoupment ratio hasn’t changed in decades.  So while we’re seeing more dollars, those dollars are just going to the shows that are already successful.  They aren’t being spread around.

In other words, the rich are getting richer.

We’re doing a fantastic job at tackling the revenue side of our P/L.  Now it’s time we tackle the expense side, so that riskier, non-star driven content, can have a shot at artistic and commercial success.

Here are your official results for the 2016-17 season:


  • Final gross for the season was $1,449,399,149
  • Last season we grossed $1,373,253,725
  • That’s a 5.54% increase from last season.


  •  13,271,252 people saw Broadway shows in the 2016-17 season.
  •  13,317,980 people saw Broadway shows last season.
  •  That’s a 0.4% decrease from last season.


  • There were 1,580 playing weeks this season.
  • There were 1,648 playing weeks last season.
  • That’s a decrease of 4.13% from last season.



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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.