The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. has reported that Broadway has grossed a record-breaking $825 million in New York for the 2005 calendar year -- the highest grossing calendar year in history for Broadway. This figure is up 10.2 % from the 2004 total of $749 million.
Factors for this year's success include:
1. An impressive list of celebrities took a turn on Broadway this year, demonstrating all-around excellence in performance categories. Among the highlights: Alan Alda
(Glengarry Glen Ross), Christina Applegate
(Sweet Charity), Hank Azaria
(Monty Python's Spamalot), Matthew Broderick
(The Odd Couple), Gabriel Byrne
(A Touch of the Poet), Jill Clayburgh
(Naked Girl on the Appian Way), Billy Crudup
(The Pillowman), Billy Crystal
(700 Sundays), Tim Curry
(Monty Python's Spamalot), Harvey Fierstein
(Fiddler on the Roof), Jeff Goldblum
(The Pillowman), Nathan Lane
(The Odd Couple), Jessica Lange
(The Glass Menagerie), John Lithgow
(Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Rosie O'Donnell
(Fiddler On The Roof), David Hyde Pierce
(Monty Python's Spamalot), Nathasha Richardson
(A Streetcar Named Desire), John C. Reilly
(A Streetcar Named Desire), Liev Schreiber
(Glengarry Glen Ross), Brooke Shields
(Chicago), Christian Slater
(The Glass Menagerie), Kathleen Turner
(Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), Richard Thomas
(A Naked Girl on the Appian Way), and Denzel Washington
2. Plays like Doubt, The Pillowman, Twelve Angry Men, Glengarry Glen Ross and Democracy demonstrated that there is a tremendous appetite for excellent plays.
This year also celebrated the classic American play like no other year in recent history, with representation by legendary American playwrights Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Seascape), Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Eugene O'Neill (A Touch of the Poet) and August Wilson (Gem of the Ocean.
In 2005, plays brought in a record-breaking $136,245,789 and 2.11 million in paid attendance, a 57.2% increase over last year's $86,656,934 gross, and 33.2% increase over last year's 1.58 million in paid attendance.
For 2005, there were 439 playing weeks, compared to 372 in 2004 -- an 18% increase. Twenty-three new plays opened in the 2005 calendar year, compared to 2004's 22 plays.
3. There was something for everyone this year in the musical category, with such diverse offerings as The Light in the Piazza, Monty Python's Spamalot, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, recently joined by Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White, The Color Purple, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and Jersey Boys.
It was such a powerhouse year for new musicals that most of the 2005 Tony nominated musicals continue to play to packed houses, joining longer running hits.
Paid attendance for Broadway in 2005 reached 11.98 million, the second highest calendar year paid attendance in the past two decades -- a 5.7% increase from 11.33 million in 2004.
Theatre seats were 80.4% filled -- the highest level since 1997. Thirty-nine shows opened in the 2004 season.
"This incredible calendar year for Broadway is a testament to an extraordinary, diverse array of offerings, as well as the return of domestic and international tourism to Broadway, now back to pre-September 11 levels," commented Jed Bernstein, President, The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. "These record-breaking numbers for Broadway's 2005 calendar year demonstrate how live entertainment and Broadway are very much at the top of the cultural menu."