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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 December, 2004, 10:42 GMT
Foreign visitors boost Broadway
Billy and Janice Crystal
Billy Crystal's play is produced by his wife Janice
Broadway's finances have been boosted in 2004 by a rise in foreign visitors plus a host of successful new openings.

Productions took $748.9m (387.7m), up from $725.4m (375.5) the previous year, reported the League of American Theatres and Producers.

"Overseas tourists are now back at the same numbers as they were prior to September 11," said League president Jed Bernstein.

Overseas visitors accounted for 12% of ticket sales, double that of last year.

"From a business point of view, it was a very solid year," said Mr Bernstein.

"Last winter was a hard time, but things were very strong in the spring and summer. Then it (business) tailed off again in the first half of the fall, although the last month or so has been much stronger."

'Cooking along'

One of the strongest shows to open in 2004 was Billy Crystal's one-man autobiographical play 700 Sundays, with more than $600,000 (311,240) worth of tickets sold since it premiered on 5 December.

Other successful shows included A Raisin in the Sun, which starred Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, and the musicals Avenue Q and Wicked, with all three securing Tony Awards.

Mr Bernstein added: "We're almost cooking along now the way we were in the 2000-2001 season, which was a record setter. So if we get a good spring, we will be able to match that."


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