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‘Frank’ to tour sans Lavin

She's got 'Conrad' to take care of

NEW YORK — Broadway’s “The Diary of Anne Frank” will mount a 40-city North American tour at the end of summer ’99. The tour will be handled by theBooking Group, a tripartite company made up of partners from Pace Theatricals, Magicworks and the Producing Office.

Scheduled cities for the first leg include L.A., San Francisco, Denver, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Haven, Palm Beach, Fla., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., confirmed Michel Vega, a partner at the company.

The legiter, which opened on Broadway at the Music Box Dec. 4, 1997, has had a fairly long Broadway run. But after so long a time, the play seems to be losing some steam: Last week’s receipts were $5,000 below its nut cost of $150,000. Production sources said that while June was expected to be tough, too, July and August are expected to lift the numbers. One reason is the play’s unusually strong appeal to families and children.

“We expected that there’d be kids,” said David Stone, “but never this many.” Stone added that kids account for anywhere from 30% to 40% of the nightly audience. The play is expected to run through the summer, but it’s less clear if it will run past that into next year.

Still, Linda Lavin, who plays the part of Mrs. Van Daan in the play, is expected to give notice today that she will not play past her contract, which ends in mid-July, according to her spokeswoman. Lavin will be starring in the new NBC-produced sitcom “Conrad Bloom,” which focuses on the foibles of an advertising exec and his glamorous mother (Lavin).

A source familiar with “Conrad” said that it will begin taping in August or September. The NBC show is being directed by “Cheers” helmer James Burrows and executive produced by “Caroline in the City” top man Marco Pennette.

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