A Broadway season that included several still-popular carryovers from the previous season, a few bona fide hits of its own and a $ 2 increase in average ticket prices pushed total Broadway receipts up 12.1% for the 1992-93 theater year. The final tally: A record-breaking total of $ 327,721,442.
With paid attendance of 7,856,727 — a 6.7% increase over the previous season — the much larger jump in receipts points to the price increase and the heavy roster of big, top-price musicals. And total playing weeks were up 12.9% (1,018) , giving theatergoers more product.
Granted, the season saw fewer new productions, but not by much: 32 new shows opened during 1992-93, compared to 36 during 1991-92.
But the biggest success of the theater season was to be found on the road: $ 620,598,184, up a remarkable 23.5% from last year and easily breaking that season’s record $ 502 million.
Playing weeks on the road were up as well, but only by 16.7% (1,367). Although Variety does not compile attendance figures for the road, the lesser increase in playing weeks would indicates that road patrons, like their New York counterparts, are paying more for their ducats. That’s not surprising considering the plethora of mega-musicals — a few direct from the last Broadway season — on tour.
The increase of approximately $ 118 million in road receipts is the single largest annual boom in road history. The only comparable increase occurred during the 1989-90 season, when receipts of $ 367 million reflected a $ 112 million improvement over the previous season.
The expansion of the road grosses mirrors that industry’s increasing popularity, but also its costs. Top ticket prices of $ 50 are not uncommon for touring musicals, and a select few — including “Miss Saigon,””The Phantom of the Opera,””Evita” and “My Fair Lady”– surpass even that.
On Broadway, the ticket price increase might be viewed as something of a relief, at least compared with last year’s $ 3.16 increase. Still, the $ 2.02 jump for 1992-93 was higher than the $ 1.29 increase during the 1990-91 season, and only slightly less than the $ 2.36 boost of the 1989-90 season.