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QUICK TAKES

Broadway breaks record despite economy

May 29, 2003|Scott Timberg

Despite a struggling economy, Broadway broke its box-office record in the 2002-03 season that ended Sunday.

Broadway theaters collected $720.9 million in ticket receipts, according to the League of American Theatres and Producers. The figure marks a $77.5-million increase from 2001-02, a year hit hard by the Sept. 11 attacks. Broadway's previous record was $666.2 million, from the 2000-01 season.

"All in all, you'd have to give the year a B+," said Jed Bernstein, a league spokesman. "The ongoing effects of the recession and the outbreak of the [Iraq] war were two hurdles we had to overcome."

The season opened strong with "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune" and "Hairspray," and was followed by the popular "Movin' Out" in October. Shows such as "The Producers," "Mamma Mia!" and "The Lion King," which opened in previous seasons, held strong in 2002-03.

The rise in box office take was driven in part by higher ticket prices: The average ticket price for 2002-03 was $63, up from $58.63 the season before. Paid attendance was 11.4 million -- down 500,000 from the 2000-01 season, which was Broadway's best ever.

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