Today I received dueling press releases for Broadway plays. Either “To Kill a Mockingbird” is the biggest grossing play of all time, or “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” broke a record last week for the most money a play can take in during one week. The numbers were like $2 million something for each of them.
No press release came, though, about the actual record set last week. “Hamilton” topped $4 million in receipts in one week. Playing since July 2015, “Hamilton” has grown and grown as its top ticket price soared. But last week, and the week prior, that price went to $849. Yes, nine hundred dollars for one seat at the Tony, Pulitzer, whatever winning show, meaning like $1,900 for a couple to be in the room when it happens.
For “Hamilton” to have taken in over $4 million is likely a record. And the crazy thing is, technically its maximum take for the week should have been $3.3 million. But as the ticket price swelled, so did the room. Every seat would have been taken including wheelchair, standing room, rafters, boxes, people sitting in the bathrooms. The average price of a ticket sold last week was $375.
The funny thing is, the original Broadway cast is long gone. I don’t even know who’s in “Hamilton” at this point. It could be Mike Pence in a wig. (Actually the only “names” are Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart and Euan Morton.) But those tickets sold last week include advance sales (people who bought for the future). And my guess is the “Hamilton” publicity on the Kennedy Center Honors on December 26th on CBS pushed things over the edge.
“Hamilton” plus the two aforementioned plays and virtually everything else on The Great Neon Way totaled a whopping $57 million week for Broadway. It’s a high we won’t see again for some time, if ever.
And Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton”? He’s about to put on 3 weeks of shows down in San Juan, with $10 tickets going to some number of locals, and expensive seats to help fund Puerto Rico arts programs.