Times Square (Photo credit: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress)

On Friday, Jan. 6, the Coalition for a Better Times Square released a statement about the current status of the economic rebound of the Manhattan neighborhood since the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, the group’s support of the bid for a casino in the district

The Coalition’s members include Actors’ Equity Association, Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, Alicart Restaurant Group (which operates Carmine’s and other neighborhood eateries), the Fireman Hospitality Group (which manages Bond 45 and more), Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and more.

The full statement reads:

“This weekend alone, four Broadway shows (‘1776,’ ‘Into the Woods, ‘Almost Famous’ and ‘Beetlejuice’) will be closing their doors, another indication that Times Square has yet to make an economic recovery since the beginning of the pandemic. With a record number of shows unexpectedly closing this season, we are at a critical moment in defining the future of Broadway and the Times Square area.

Fortunately, there is an opportunity to bring a new influx of visitors to the theater district and ensure that Times Square remains the greatest entertainment destination for New York City: Caesars Palace Times Square. The current proposal by SL Green, Caesars Entertainment, and Roc Nation, and supported by this coalition, would generate an estimated 412,000 new Broadway ticket sales annually and bring more than $65 million in new revenue for the Broadway industry.

The coalition supports Caesars Palace Times Square because it is being designed specifically to support Broadway and the entire Times Square community, bringing an influx of tourists and New Yorkers to the area’s hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues.”

The statement was prompted by the large number of Broadway show closings during the first two months of 2023: 15 shows will have closed by the end of February. However, 10 of those shows were scheduled as limited engagements — three of which (“Into the Woods,” “The Piano Lesson” and “The Collaboration”) actually extended beyond their original closing dates. “The Music Man,” which is also among shows closing in this time period, grossed over $1 million every week in its (so far) 52-week run except one week, often surpassing a weekly gross of $3 million.

That said, the total Broadway box office has been below pre-pandemic levels since the Broadway League began reporting grosses again in March 2022, with the most notable exception of the week ending in Jan. 1, 2023. 

For the week ending Jan. 1, 2023, the 33 shows running on Broadway grossed $51,912,862 — its best week since Dec. 29, 2019, when the box office earned $55,765,408. The last week of 2022 showed a total box office increase of 49 percent and a 10 percent boost in overall Broadway attendance over the previous week. 

Broadway’s total weekly box office grosses have been consistently lower in this current season than before the COVID-19 shutdown. Comparing the first 32 weeks of the 2022-2023 season (Broadway’s first full season since the shutdown) to the first 32 weeks of the 2019-2020 season (the last season before the closure), the average difference in Broadway’s total weekly gross is $4,302,385 in favor of the 2019-2020 season. 

Broadway News will continue to follow developments of this story.