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Stagehand strike prevents Broadway from setting new box office record

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There is every indication Broadway would have set a new record at the box office were it not for a 19-day stagehand strike last autumn, according to figures released by the Broadway League, covering the just completed 2007/8 season.

The season ran from May 27, 2007, to May 25, 2008. During that time, Broadway shows grossed approximately $937.5 million and recorded a paid attendance of 12.27 million. These totals were slightly down from the all-time highs of the 2006/7 season, which took in $938.5 million at the box office, with an attendance of 12.3 million.

Officials from the Broadway League, formerly known as the League of American Theatres and Producers, estimate that were it not for the strike, which shut down nearly all of Broadway for its duration, the Great White Way would have set all-time records in both categories with estimated totals of $975 million in terms of total grosses and 12.9 tickets sold.

“While we are disappointed that we didn’t exceed last year’s record-breaking season, we’re confident that in the coming season, with such big name shows as Billy Elliot, Shrek, West Side Story and Equus, that we will have the best season in recorded history,” said Charlotte St Martin, executive director of the League.

During the 2007/8 season, 36 productions opened on Broadway. Of that total, 13 were musicals (eight new, four revivals and one (How The Grinch Stole Christmas) a return engagement), and 23 were plays (11 new, 12 revivals). There were also 15 shows that were holdovers from previous seasons.

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