Broadway gobbles up Thanksgiving records

NEW YORK (AP) — Thanksgiving was rough on turkeys but pretty good for Broadway theaters — several shows broke records over the holiday weekend, from new kid on the block "Kinky Boots" to the old ruler "The Lion King."

Even William Shakespeare joined the party, with his "Twelfth Night" and "Richard III" playing in repertory led by Mark Rylance shattering an 8-year-old record at the Belasco Theatre.

The Broadway League released data Monday that showed the 32 shows on the Great White Way earned more than $31 million, with an average paid admission of $120. So far, this season's haul stands at more than $620 million, much better than the $576 million earned at this time last season, although attendance still lags.

"Kinky Boots," which won the 2013 Tony Award for best musical, grossed $1.9 million over eight performances during the week ending Sunday, smashing the all-time house record at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. It beat out the crown held there in January 2012 by the revival of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," which had one more performance.

The circus-themed revival of "Pippin," which announced Monday that it had recouped its $8.5 million investment, reported that it had also beaten its own Music Box Theatre house record for a single show, earning about $151,000 on Friday night.

"Motown the Musical," the story of Motown founder Berry Gordy and featuring an astonishing Motown catalog, took in $1.5 million over eight shows last week, the show's best week ever and a record for the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

"The Lion King" shows no signs of losing its roar — the show netted $2.3 million, setting a house record for an eight-performance week at the Minskoff Theatre. The show, celebrating its 16th year, passed "Les Miserables" on Saturday to become the fourth longest-running show on Broadway.

The Rylance-led "Twelfth Night" and "Richard III" grossed about $826,000, despite setting aside 2,000 seats a week for students for $25. Its haul easily beat the theater's last box-office ruler, "Julius Caesar," another Shakespeare classic starring Denzel Washington that earned nearly $755,000.

A revival of Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" starring Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig and Rafe Spall did what it seems destined to do: break another record at the Barrymore Theatre with a haul of $1.2 million.

Even "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," whose numbers have lately slumped, gained more than $651,000 more than the previous week, and brought in $1.4 million. Of course, "Wicked" remained the top week's earner with a staggering $2.6 million over nine performances, followed by "The Lion King" and in third spot "The Book of Mormon" with $2.1 million.