Say what you will about the dearth of new American musicals, or that the numbers are skewed by there being so many long runs still playing, but Broadway has had another banner year, according to the League of American Theatres & Producers.
39 shows opened during the 1998-99 season (as opposed to 33 the previous year), with 9 new musicals, 5 revivals; 10 new plays, 7 revivals; and 8 "special" productions.
Broadway attendance reached 11.7 million, an all-time high (up 1.6 percent from 1997-98), leading to $588.5 million in ticket sales (up 5.4 percent from the year before). National attendance hit 26.5 million, with grosses totaling $1.3 billion.
On the road, 25 tours raked in $716 million from 14.8 million consumers (though there were nine fewer shows to choose from).
Average paid admission on Broadway rose nearly $2, from $48.58 to $50.45. In a statement, League president Jed Bernstein enthused over the numbers and also noted that this was the first time in history that Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams were on Broadway simultaneously (via The Iceman Cometh, Death of a Salesman and Not About Nightingales).
-- By David Lefkowitz