Theater archives

Wicked’s Record Breaking Week: What’s Behind It?


The long running Broadway smash Wicked posted a weekly gross of almost three million dollars for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, edging out the previous record by Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.

Having seen the show, you might well wonder: “Why is the musical with the green lady still racking in the greenbacks?

“How come it’s still, you know, defying gravity?

“It’s not like people are flocking to see stars in it. I mean, who even knows who is in it?”

And you’d have a good point.

But we learned long ago that Wicked doesn’t need stars, as long as someone halfway decent is up there playing those roles.

After all, the show appeals to kids and tweens, who relate to the story of friendship and fitting in against all odds.

Grownups like it too because it’s sort of a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and they enjoy recognizing all the clues and signifiers of what’s to come. “Getting” the references makes them feel really smart.

There’s also the spectacle element–shows with flying generally do very well. (See Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and Spider-Man. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang not so much.)

Plus the show does extra well during holiday season because that’s when lots more tourists flock into town, desperate to see a name brand they can tell the folks at home about.

What’s more, Wicked sold premium tickets for $300, helping up the till. (Before you yell “Criminal!” you should realize that this is standard practice and some other shows charge even more. Book of Mormon got $477.)

But this is all easy to say now. When I saw Wicked in 2003, I thought it would run six months.

And that’s why I’m the prognosticator king of Broadway!