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Broadway Thrives in Weak 2010 Economy; Revenues Up!

Broadway Thrives in Weak 2010 Economy; Revenues Up! 1

A scene from Wicked, a perennial favorite on Broadway.

Major marquee musicals like Wicked, The Lion King and even poorly reviewed shows like The Addams Family lifted Broadway last year where it counts most– at the box office. Despite the poor economy, revenue was up.

The Broadway League, which represents producers and theater owners, said the top 40 theaters grossed $1.037 billion in box office receipts in 2010, compared with $1.004 billion in 2009, also an economically depressed year.

What’s more, attendance was also up; 12.11 million people attended shows last year compared with 11.88 million in 2009, the league said. But higher prices helped, too.
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The best seat at the most popular shows sold for as much as $300. As always big production Broadway stalwarts fared the best, and a number of smaller shows struggled.

Nine shows closed at the end of the year, including Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and The Pee-Wee Herman Show, according to Crain’s New York Business.

The holiday season, always Broadway’s best, was a standout this year. During the last two weeks of the year, Broadway shows grossed $60 million, up from $52.4 million in 2009, the theater group said.
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Wicked set a record for the highest grossing show in a single week in Broadway history, collecting $2.22 million for eight performances, the league said.

“The Lion King,” grossed $1.9 million and “The Addams Family,” continued to defy critical reaction, grossing $1.4 million in one week.

Even the troubled new “Spider-Man” musical grossed $1.88 million during the week.

The show, one of the most expensive ever to produce, is reported to need to gross $1 million a week to eventually have a chance of breaking even.

But cast injuries and opening delays have kept the show in the news, and piqued the curiosity of theatergoers.

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