Broadway has its best week since Christmas of 1981

April 30, 1992|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- Broadway has roared out of its slump.

Last week, 27 productions attracted more than 222,000 theatergoers, more than in any single week since Christmas 1981.

These figures closed out a month in which Broadway attracted more than 830,000 theatergoers and box-office receipts were the highest of any four-week period in New York theater history, according to figures from the League of American Theaters and Producers.

The total four-week take -- which reflects today's higher ticket prices -- was $30,108,322, more than $3 million higher than the previous four-week record, set in December 1989.

The record-breaking month included the Easter holiday, always a period of strong theater-ticket sales, as well as a rush of new shows whose openings were set to beat the April 29 deadline for 1991 Tony Award eligibility, so these strong numbers are not likely to be sustained.

Nonetheless, the high attendance figures, combined with the April 14 opening of a major new hit, "Guys and Dolls," has given the long-troubled Broadway theater a sense of dramatic recovery from its deep winter doldrums.

Last week the theater district was filled with more hubbub than at any time in years, and its neighbors are doing booming business too.

"The telephone hasn't stopped ringing for reservations for the last six weeks, for all the restaurants around here," said Joe Allen, who owns two popular midtown dining places, Joe Allens and Orso. "Our business is up 20 percent," he said.

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