'Wicked' and the Great Broadway Race to $1 Billion Dollars
This week the musical Wicked achieved a milestone of monumentous proportions for a production on Broadway. It passed the billion dollar mark in box office sales. Previous to this accompliishment,only two other musicals had reached the billion dollar milestone and they are names for the ages, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera. As if earning this much money wasn't enough, Wicked earned another distinction by being the fastest production to eclipse the billion dollar mark, achieving that goal in only 13 years and 5000 performances.
According to Wikipedia, Wicked was first met with very mixed critical reviews. Talkin Broadway had this to say, "Depicting the façade and inner workings of the Time Dragon Clock, a predictor or perhaps moderator of fate, the cogs and complex weight systems comprising Eugene Lee's set for Wicked , the new musical at the Gershwin, are unavoidably prophetic: this is a thoroughly mechanical and unmagical musical." But slowly the famed Gershwin Theatre began to fill up with people.This success was, of course, met with rising ticket prices which didn't hurt the box office. At its start, a top ticket to see Wicked was $100 dollars. This quickly rose to $240 a year later and then to $300 in the third year.
So, is there anything else that could join the very exclusive billion dollar club? Possibly, both Chicago and The Book of Mormon could take a stab at this box office record. Chicago, according to Wikipedia, is the longest-running American musical and the longest-running revival in Broadway history. Chicago has been around since 1975. It was popular from the beginning and has $548 million in revenue. Chicago usually plays in smaller theaters so it would take another 16 years. The musical that stands very good chance of making a box office bonanza is actually much newer. The Book of Mormon has only ran for 5 years on Broadway. Demand for tickets to the show is still red hot. They have cost has much as $400 and, if it continues its currrent intake, it may make a billion as well.