Broadway Triumphs Over Adversity as 2002-03 Numbers Are Up

News   Broadway Triumphs Over Adversity as 2002-03 Numbers Are Up Despite the rockiest season in memory, the Broadway industry charted record numbers for 2002-03.

According to the League of American Theatres and Producers, the industry's total box office stood at $720.9 million, a jump of 12 percent over 2001-02 total and 8.2 percent higher than the 2000-01 figures. This, in spite of the ill effects of a lingering recession, the adverse impact of the war in Iraq and a four-day musicians union strike which briefly shut down Broadway. Attendance was also up. Paid admissions topped off at 11.4 million, 4.3 percent more from last season. Still, the number is 4 percent less than that reached during the record-making 2000-01 season.

Playing weeks, the number of weeks in which Broadway theatres were occupied, were 1,544. That was 4 percent higher than 2000-01 and 7.7 percent higher than 2002-03.

"We did far better than we predicted earlier in the season," said League president Jed Bernstein. "This year's figures show that Broadway's recovery from the fallout of 9/11 has been dramatic. However, we are still feeling the effects [of] current events." The season was bolstered by hit musicals such as Hairspray and Movin' Out; well-performing play revivals including Our Town, Long Day's Journey Into Night and Frankie and Johnny; star vehicles such as Salome: The Reading with Al Pacino and Life x 3 with Helen Hunt; and the continued popularity of shows like The Lion King, The Producers, Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mamma Mia! and Aida.