Broadway’s Biggest Show Of 2023 (So Far): ‘Phantom’ Goes Out With A Bang


Phantom of the Opera is the highest-grossing show on Broadway so far in 2023, based on averages of shows’ weekly grosses shared by the Broadway League, as the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical went out on a high note following a record-breaking 35-year run—part of a broader trend this year of audiences flocking to long-running musicals as Broadway continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Phantom grossed $2.75 million per week on average between January 2 and its closing performance on April 16, with its final week on Broadway grossing $3.74 million and having an average ticket price of $287 (with individual tickets going as high as $1,498)—far higher than the $800,000 to $1 million the show grossed weekly in 2022 before posting its closing notice in September.

Disney’s The Lion King came in second place, holding strong in its 25th year with an average weekly gross of $2.09 million between January 2 and June 26, and an average ticket price of $183.71 as of the week ending June 26.

Hamilton is the third highest-grossing show, earning an average weekly gross of $2.04 million so far this year, with audiences paying $182.22 for a ticket on average as of June 26.

Wicked, another long-running musical that’s played since 2003, came in fourth with $1.8 million in average weekly grosses this year, with an average ticket price of $130.98.

The sole new production to crack the top five is the revival of Sweeney Todd and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, starring Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford, which has taken in $1.78 million on average each week since it started performances in March, with its most recent average ticket price being $178.98.

The top-grossing play on Broadway is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which grossed $1.36 million per week on average this year so far, with an average ticket price of $122.97 as of June 26.

$1.58 billion. That’s how much all Broadway shows grossed in total over the 2022-2023 season, which ran from May 2022 to May 2023, according to the Broadway League, with 12.3 million total audience members. That’s significantly higher than the $845.4 million Broadway grossed during its 2021-2022 season (6.73 million attendees)—which was not a full season, as most shows only started reopening in the fall after Broadway was shuttered for a year and a half during the pandemic. Broadway grosses still haven’t gotten quite back to pre-pandemic levels, with the 2018-2019 season bringing in $1.83 billion and seeing 14.8 million people attend shows.

While long-running shows that can draw tourist crowds have seen thriving box office revenues since the Covid-19 pandemic, newer and smaller shows without major name-recognition have struggled more. Approximately a dozen shows closed in January, historically a slower time on Broadway after the holiday season rush. Two musicals, Dancin’ and Bad Cinderella, then announced their closures swiftly after not receiving any Tony Award nominations this spring, after grossing only $522,220 and $506,695 on average each week, respectively.

“Audiences are back but they are not back to pre-pandemic levels yet and so we’re seeing a very odd amalgam of shows being incredibly successful and shows really struggling,” Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, artistic director of the Drama League, told the Guardian in January, saying audiences are “flock[ing] to things that feel comfortable, that feel joyous, that feel expressive” versus more intellectually challenging productions.

The revival of the musical Funny Girl with Glee actress Lea Michele has garnered headlines for its high grosses since she stepped into the role in September 2022, with her first week of performances marking a record high for the production and tickets going for as much as $2,500 each. The show has taken in an average of $1.61 million each week on Broadway in 2023—before it closes over Labor Day weekend—and grosses have been notably lower in the weeks that Michele has been on vacation or out of the production due to Covid-19. When removing three weeks when Michele was absent from the show, the production’s average weekly gross jumps to $1.71 million—though that’s still not high enough to make the top five.

Tony Awards 2023: Nonbinary Actors Make History In Unscripted Show Amid Writers Strike (Forbes)

‘It’s a hard time’: why are so many Broadway shows closing early? (The Guardian)

Broadway Bounces Back With ‘Best Week Since the Before Times’ (New York Times)

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