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Broadway's 'Wicked' musical earns new record

Oz has reclaimed the box office crown on Broadway.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Oz has reclaimed the box office crown on Broadway.

The Broadway League reported Wednesday that the nine-year-old "Wicked" took in a whopping $2,947,172 over nine performances last week, which is the highest single-week gross of any show in Broadway history.

It squeaked by the old record — $5,382 more to be exact — set by "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," which earned $2,941,790 over nine performances last year during the holidays. Back then, the webslinger had swiped the title from "Wicked." (For the record, the "Spider-Man" musical earned $2,716,990 last week over nine shows.)

Both musicals' huge hauls reflect the use of premium seating, in which producers charge higher prices for certain days and certain seats. "Wicked" managed to command as much as $300 for a top premium seat — second only to the "Book of Mormon," which has a top premium of $477. The average paid admission was $181 to "Wicked."

But making its feat more impressive is the fact that it is performed at the Gershwin Theatre, has about 100 seats less than the 1,930-seat Foxwoods Theatre, home of the superhero musical.

Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, "Wicked" is the story of the witches of Oz, before they meet Dorothy and her little dog. It has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman. Globally, the show has amassed nearly $2.9 billion in ticket sales and has been seen by 36 million people.

It wasn't just "Wicked" investors who were smiling: Every show on Broadway had some reason to be happy for the week ending Sunday, with all of them posting gains. Shows that earned more than $2 million included "The Lion King," "The Book of Mormon" and "Annie," in addition to "Wicked" and "Spider-Man."

Those that took in more than $1 million included "Jersey Boys," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Elf," "Evita," "Chicago," "Bring It On: The Musical," "A Christmas Story," "Mama Mia," "Mary Poppins," "Newsies," "Once," "The Phantom of the Opera" and "War Horse."

Overall, the Broadway League reported that the total gross for all shows last week was $37,441,497, better than the same week last season, which pulled in $37,657,453. One worrying trend is that attendance has fallen, with 292,432 seats sold last week versus 321,152 sold last year.


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