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Broadway grosses up 11.4 percent this season, over last

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New musicals, original plays, revivals and star performers boosted Broadway's grosses this season more than 11 percent and pushed attendance up 5.6 percent, according to figures released on Tuesday.

Forty-four productions opened during the 2013-2014 season, which began on May 27 last year and ended May 25, including 16 musicals, 25 plays and three specials, said the Broadway League, which represents producers and theater owners.

Grosses were up 11.4 percent to $1.27 billion since last season and total attendance reached 12.21 million, after slumping to 11.57 million last season.

"With over a 5 percent increase in attendance, the diverse offerings on stage are clearly pleasing our audiences," Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League, said in a statement announcing the figure.

Musicals such as "The Lion King," "Book of Mormons" and "Wicked" are among most popular productions on Broadway but dramas also attracted large audiences.

This past week was also the highest grossing and best attended Memorial Day week on Broadway in recorded history.

One of the hottest tickets of the season was "Betrayal," starring James Bond's Daniel Craig and his real-life wife, Rachel Weisz, winner of an Oscar for her supporting role in the 2006 movie "The Constant Gardener."

"Betrayal" set a box office record in its first week, taking in more than $1.1 million in seven performances.

Broadway will honor the best of the 2013-2014 season at the Tony Awards, which will be handed out on June 8 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, with actor Hugh Jackman hosting the event.

The musical "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" leads the Tony nominations with 10, including nods for best musical, director and leading actor.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Steve Orlofsky)

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