The good news: tourists poured a truckload of cash into Broadway over Thanksgiving weekend. The sad news: the shows that did best were tired gems like Wicked and The Lion King and shows based on movies. Original musicals are doomed.
This year's sales figures for the week that include the Thanksgiving break show that Wicked raked in $2.1 million, the biggest haul of the week. Breaking the $1 million mark were The Lion King ($1.7 million), Billy Elliot ($1.6 million), Jersey Boys ($1.3 million), A Steady Rain ($1.2 million), West Side Story ($1.2 million), Mary Poppins ($1.1 million), Phantom of the Opera ($1 million), and Shrek ($1 million).
A look at last year's numbers shows all of these were the big earners last year as well. The only two new shows at the big kid's table were A Steady Rain which boasts A-list talent Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman (and which every gay man in America has been decreed to go see at full price) and West Side Story, which is, well, West Side Story.
The only shows still running to fall out of the $1 million club are Momma Mia (everyone already saw the movie), seasonal rehash White Christmas (which everyone heard sucks), and In the Heights. What really troubles us is the last show. With the heat from it's Tony cooling and it's average ticket price dropping by more than $10 a ticket, it looks like another original Broadway musical is on the way down. Also underperforming are new original musicals Memphis, Fela!, and Rag Time, and (last season's critics favorite) Next to Normal.
What does that mean for you? Save $100 and just go to the movies. Chances are you can catch something that is going to be on the stage in a year anyway.