Broadway posted record sales for the 2008-09 season, despite fears that the economy would put a severe damper on box office.
The $943.3 million tally, a small increase over the $939 million record logged in 2006-07, comes with an asterisk or two. Most notably, it incorporates estimated grosses for “Young Frankenstein,” which did not officially release its sales figures.
Without the “Frankenstein” contribution, total Rialto cume hit $919.8 million. (Tuner shuttered Jan. 4.) Either way, attendance was slightly down. Counting “Frankenstein,” attendance fell to 12.15 million from 12.27 million. Without it, total auds came to 11.84 million, off from 11.87 milion.
The Main Stem is coming off a season that, while buffeted by the national fiscal crisis, proved unexpectedly robust. Although an unusually large number of productions shuttered in January, the spring sked filled out to become surprisingly busy.
Ticket sales did not plummet as theatergoers tightened their belts. Many legiters believe that consumers who scaled back their spending replaced costly luxuries such as vacations abroad with the relatively more affordable treat of an evening at the theater.