Bette Midler

Bette Midler in "I'll Eat You Last" on Broadway. (Richard Termine)

Superstorm Sandy was a force behind Broadway’s 6.2% dip in audience attendance -- its lowest level in several years, according to end-of-season statistics reported Tuesday by the Broadway League.

Box-office grosses were virtually the same: Shows took in $1.14 billion during Broadway’s 2012-13 season, a fraction less than the previous season. Attendance was 11.6 million, according to the data, down from last season’s 12.33 million.

“This is the first year in many that we have seen such a decline,” said Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin, adding that shows closed for several days following Sandy’s landfall.

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“The lost performances and the understandable slower return to Broadway by our Tri State area theatergoers contributed to the decline in both grosses and attendance,” she said in a statement. “Plus with early closings of some of our open-ended runs creating a loss in playing weeks, comparable to the decrease in attendance, there just wasn’t time to recover.”

The season, which spanned May 28, 2012, to May 26, included 46 productions -- including a record high of 26 plays, 15 musicals and 5 specials -- that ran for a total of 1,430 playing weeks.

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