What was the highest grossing Broadway show in 2013? Spoiler alert!

Got a guess?

What Broadway show grossed the most dollars (not necessarily bodies, right?) over the past 52 weeks?

Ready for the answer?  Don’t scroll down until you’ve got one.

The answer is . . . .

(scroll now)

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. . . .

Not Mormon.  Not Kinky Boots.  And not even Wicked.

The highest grossing Broadway show of 2013 was . . . The Lion King.

The King pulled in a whopping $96,983,840 in just one year.  Second up was Wicked with $95,278,197.

The fact that The Lion King is at the top of the charts isn’t all that surprising (click here to read why).

But what is surprising is that the show is 16 years old!  It’s the third oldest show on Broadway . . . Phantom, Chicago and then Lion King . . . yet its old age hasn’t diminished its dollar-making power.  (I think Broadway years are like dog years – 1 year is equivalent to 7 human years.)

Shows used to follow a natural decline, like most products that don’t change and just age.  The only way to get a mid-cycle spike was to recast with some major celeb, or, if a movie came out within your Broadway reign.

But Lion King hasn’t cast any celebs.  And the movie came out a long, long time ago.  And 2nd place Wicked hasn’t done the celeb thing either, and their movie has yet to go into production (oh man, can you imagine the Broadway grosses when that sucker comes out?!?).

All this proves the ol’ axiom, that the secret to a long running, super high grossing show is to make your show the star.


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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.