For the week ending Sept. 30, Broadway shows displayed across-the-board box office increases over the previous week, with jumps ranging from $32,133 (Urinetown) to $218,596 (Aida). Over all, the Rialto took in $9,046,125 — less than a million off last year's mark at this time, indicating that Times Square theatre may recover from the effects of the Sept. 11 catastrophe (at least in terms of audience) within a week or two.
The $9 million figure represented a roughly $1.25 million leap over last week's take. The productions which won union concessions, to ease their way through the rocky economic times which followed the World Trade Center attacks, showed signs of renewed health. Chicago's box office rose from $287,299 to $419,645. Les Miz saw an increase of $140,000 to $305,838. Rent leaped $100,000 to $316,585. And The Music Man, which was ready to close on Sept. 23, had one of the best showings, climbing from $212,144 to $393,128. Nearly all the union assisted shows filled more than 65 percent of their seats, the exceptions being the Cameron Mackintosh musicals Les Miz and Phantom, which hovered around 55 percent capacity.
The Producers and The Lion King remained, as ever, impervious to the current situation, each taking in more than $1 million dollars and boasting audience attendance surpassing 101 percent of capacity.
The worst box office performance was that of Hedda Gabler, the acclaiming Ibsen revival starring Kate Burton, which saw only 49 percent of its seats occupied. Those numbers may have nothing to do with the current crisis, however, as serious-minded plays often do poorly on Broadway during their preview period.
—By Robert Simonson