Broadway theaters played to their lowest capacity on record this season, as theaters across the industry reported 62% seats filled last week.
Grosses were similarly affected, dropping to $18.25 million for the 27 shows playing. This is the second lowest box office tally recorded this season, behind only the $14.1 million recorded during Christmas week, when multiple shows canceled performances due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases in the companies.
The drop in grosses came even as fewer productions saw COVID-19 related cancellations. In the week ended Jan. 9, only “The Music Man” and “Come From Away” canceled performances and “Skeleton Crew” went dark for the entire week. “Freestyle Love Supreme” and “The Lehman Trilogy” ended their runs as scheduled on Jan. 2. This brought the total number of playing productions that week to 27 compared to 30 in the previous week, when grosses reached $26.3 million.
While Broadway productions are recovering from breakthrough cases within the companies, New York continues to see high COVID-19 case numbers, which may have deterred theatergoers. On Monday, New York City reported 35,371 new cases, even as officials see signs of the virus reaching its peak in the city.
The first week of Broadway shows following the holiday season typically brings about a drop in grosses. In the 2019-2020 season, grosses fell 28% from the week encompassing New Year’s Eve to the following week.
This season saw a 31% decline between the week ended Jan. 2 and the week ended Jan. 9. Average ticket price fell to $116 from $146.93 in the previous week.
The Broadway League is reporting grosses as collective totals across all running shows. Therefore, the numbers are not indicative of the financial health of any individual show.