One of the first questions Broadway fans tend to ask one another is, "What was your first show?" For many musical theater lovers, that first show was what hooked them on the spectacle and excitement of Broadway.
After a rapid climb to the top and a surge of popularity following a major Grammy win on February 15, Hamilton has been dethroned by The Lion King for the top spot for gross ticket sales on Broadway. Wicked, Aladdin, and The Book of Mormon hold the respective number 3, 4, and 5 positions
Broadway has a lot to be thankful for this time of year, and an excellent start to the holiday season is arguably the biggest thing. Last week, a handful of shows set new box office records for their theaters, and others are rising up the ranks.
Based on the much beloved 1994 Disney film, The Lion King musical has been wowing audiences on Broadway at the Minksoff Theatre for 17 years. And yes, here in 2015, it is still generating record ticket numbers at the box office. In 2014, the show became the most-watched musical of all time. Present estimates suggest some 75 million people across the globe have had the chance to witness this mind-blowing production on tour.
The holidays mean big money for Broadway producers. This season, 19 of the current 26 shows broke the $1 million mark for the week with almost 30,000 more people attending shows than last Christmas. The Broadway League says the shows pulled in $40,993,950 for the week ending Sunday, Dec. 28, better than the same week last year when 30 shows attracted $38,783,854. Also, attendance is on the rise from 290,386 in 2013 to 318,721 this year. The mild New York winter weather and Christmas falling on a Thursday may all be helpful factors in the increase in attendance. With a boost in celebrity casting in Broadway shows being another reason for people attending the theater, performances sans celebrities are holding their own. Despite having Hugh Jackman in "The River," Bradley Cooper in "The Elephant Man" and Sting in "The Last Ship" all onstage toward the end of the year, and "The Book of Mormon" hardly slowing down at all this year, an old favorite was once again king of Broadway in 2014. Disney's "The Lion King" set a weekly record at the Minskoff Theatre with a nine-performance haul of $2,885,321. The Disney favorite remains Broadway's highest-grossing show of the year for the second time in a row, despite six other shows having higher average ticket prices.
Broadway lyricist Tim Rice, a Classicalite favorite mentioned before for his credits on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Jacket, is not only known for his accolades but his contributions to the screen with some of the most heartfelt songs in the children's entertainment canon.
What happens when you put the cast of a musical in an enclosed space together?