What are the most popular Broadway Theaters? (Updated 2018).

I got a lot of emails about last month’s “What The Tuck” blog and Broadway theater availability in general . . . which got me wondering . . . which Broadway Theaters are booked the most often?

Because if we’re facing an availability crisis then it would make sense that Producers should look at the theaters that are likely to be free, right? (Hmmmm, maybe “free” isn’t the right word.)

And at the same time, if a theater has a low occupancy, then perhaps the location, location, location of that specific theater isn’t prime for recoupment, recoupment, recoupment.  Right?

So, I dove deep into the archives of the Playbill Vault and IBDB and counted up the number of days that theaters were booked vs. dark over the past 30 years (from January 1, 1983-May 1, 2013), and listed them below, in order of the “most popular.”

Before you look . . . guess.  Go ahead.  Guess which theaters you think have been the most booked, and which have been the least booked (oh – one note – I took out all the Non-Profit theaters, because, well, they have to book their theaters to stay in business).

Did you guess?  No peeking!

Here’s the list of the most popular Broadway Theaters:

Theater Name Occupancy Percentage
Winter Garden 96.49%
New Amsterdam 94.27%
*Since theater re-opened in 1997
Imperial 87.42%
Majestic 83.45%
Gerald Schoenfeld 80.00%
Broadway 78.19%
Richard Rodgers 76.70%
Palace 76.53%
Foxwoods 74.55%
*Since theater opened in 1997
Helen Hayes 74.25%
Eugene O’Neill 71.50%
Gershwin 71.27%
Al Hirschfeld 70.64%
August Wilson 70.54%
St. James 70.12%
Booth 68.19%
Minskoff 67.76%
Broadhurst 66.01%
Marquis 66.00%
Shubert 65.44%
Neil Simon 64.06%
Walter Kerr 63.23%
Bernard B. Jacobs 62.14%
John Golden 59.55%
Ambassador 58.92%
Ethel Barrymore 58.80%
Lunt-Fontanne 58.35%
Circle in the Square 57.67%
Brooks Atkinson 55.46%
Nederlander 54.59%
Music Box 52.27%
Cort 37.72%
Lyceum 37.18%
Longacre 27.38%
Belasco 26.21%

So, how’d you do?  Did you guess right?

There’s a lot to derive from the data on this chart, but of course the most obvious bit is at the end:

Three of out of the last four occupied theaters are East of 7th Avenue.

Oh, and here’s the other thing . . . if this were a list of apartment buildings in New York City, the rent would be lower for the buildings towards the bottom, right?

Hint, hint.  And you know who you are.

(Shout out to my Super Assistant, Kayla, and her Super Intern, Kate, for the hours compiling this super-duper data.)

UPDATE: Here are a few fun facts that we unearthed during our data digging:
-The only show in the past 30 years that ran longer than a year in the Longacre Theatre was the 2010 revival of La Cage Aux Folles
-The Majestic has had just 1 show and the Winter Garden has had just 2 shows since 1983
Godspell was the 5th longest running show at Circle in the Square in the past 30 years
-The American Airline’s Theatre has had the most productions is the shortest span of time, 40 shows in 13 years
-In the past 30 years the theater with the most shows has been Circle in the Square with 51 shows
-12 theaters still have their original name

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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Want to read more about the long-running shows that are filling these Broadway Theatres? Read my post Who/What is Fueling the Broadway Box Office Fire to gain more insight! Also be sure to check out What Harry Potter’s Theater Choice Means for Independent Producers to hear my thoughts on this blockbuster play’s Broadway transfer.

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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.