Box-office boom

May 28

Some good news from box offices both national and local today. First the local.

According to Berkeley Repertory Theatre, coming to the end of its 40th anniversary season,
Nilaja Sun’s No Child… broke the box office record for single-day sales last Saturday (May 24). The previous record was set a couple of months ago by Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, and that show broke the record set a couple of months before that by Mary Zimmerman’s Argonautika. A happy 40th birthday indeed. By the way, No Child… has been extended a second time through June 11. See it if you can. Visit www.berkeleyrep.org for information.

Across the country, on a little boulevard I like to call Broadway, the box-office news is pretty good as well. The Broadway League announced today that the season just ended (May 28, 2007-May 25, 2008) took in $937.5 million, down slightly from the previous year’s total of $938.5 million.

League members said last season probably would have broken records were it not for the the stagehands strike, which shut down much of the Broadway theater scene for 19 days.

Here are the season stats, just in case you follow theater like some people follow sports:
36 productions opened on Broadway during 2007-2008:
8 new musicals
1 musical return engagement
4 musical revivals
11 new plays
12 play revivals
Paid attendance at Broadway shows was 12.27 million, down .2 percent from the previous season.

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

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