Broadway box office, attendances dip this season

NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway got two pieces of bad news Tuesday: The total box office take dipped ever so slightly this past season and the number of ticket buyers dipped 6 percent. Both were blamed in part on Superstorm Sandy.

According to figures released by The Broadway League, Broadway shows yielded $1,138,734,331 — or about $577,000 less than last season. Attendance fell from 12.33 million in the 2011-2012 season to 11.57 million this season.

The League linked the twin decreases to Hurricane Sandy, which darkened Broadway for four days in November and cost shows more than $8.5 million in lost revenue. It noted that grosses and attendance figures in the fall were above the numbers generated a year before, but then the storm hit.

“The lost performances and the understandable slower return to Broadway by our tri-state area theatergoers contributed to the decline in both grosses and attendance,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the League, said in a statement. “Plus with early closings of some of our open-ended runs creating a loss in playing weeks, comparable to the decrease in attendance, there just wasn’t time to recover.”

Shows that came and went this season quickly include “Orphans,” ”The Testament of Mary,” ”Hands on a Hardbody,” ”The Anarchist,” ”Scandalous,” ”Jekyll & Hyde” and “The Performers.”

Broadway grosses and attendances have generally been on the increase year after year, as has the number of playing weeks. A 6 percent dip in playing weeks this season to just 1,430 clearly hurt.

A total of 46 new shows opened during the season, which began May 28, 2012, and ended Sunday: 15 musicals, 26 plays and five special events or concerts. The 26 plays produced this season set a new record.

The season may have been rocky but it is ending with a big bang. Newcomers “Cindarella,” ”Kinky Boots,” ”Lucky Guy,” ”Matlida” and “Motown: The Musical” joined stalwarts “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” ”The Book of Mormon,” ”Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera” to top $1 million for the week ending Sunday.




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