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B’way B.O. crashes

Gross down 62%, shows shutter, unions meet

Broadway has entered uncharted waters. There’s nothing to compare it to: Not the Kennedy assassination, not the Persian Gulf War, not even WWII.

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Broadway productions ran anywhere from five to seven performances last week. Twenty-three shows brought in a total tally of $3,647,734. The week before, when the same number of productions were running, the total came to $9,603,505.

On Monday and Tuesday, four shows posted closing notices for Sunday. They included “If You Ever Leave Me … I’m Going With You,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Stones in His Pockets” and “A Thousand Clowns,” with “Blast!” having put up its notice for a Sunday shuttering two weeks earlier.

Two producers confirmed that they wanted to close their respective productions Sept. 16 rather than perform another week. Due to the unions’ requirement of a one-week closing notice, the shows will continue performing until Sunday for eight or so more perfs. One producer estimated the added loss of staying opening another week at $100,000.

Union heads meet with their executive boards today and Thursday to discuss possible concessions to producers. They in turn will meet again with the League of American Theaters and Producers on Friday.

As for last week’s receipts, the always sold-out “Lion King” and “Producers” did not go clean. Major problem was refundable ticketholders who did not notify the box office of their cancellations; those tickets could not be resold. “King” did $561,585 on its adjusted gross potential of $750,456. “The Producers” came in with $546,858 on its new potential of $657,183.

Some shows did major discounting. The average ticket price was under $44 for “Contact,” “Les Miserables,” “The Music Man” and “Rent.” Prices remained at just over $60 for “Aida,” “Cabaret,” “42nd Street” and “The Full Monty,” with the average at “The Producers” coming in at $77.49.

For those shows bubbling under the top 10, “Rent” grossed $103,165 for seven perfs while “Les Miserables” made $94,515 for five. On the same lowered performance sked, “Kiss Me, Kate” and “The Music Man” saw $84,766 and $67,206, respectively.

As of next week, there will be only two plays from the 2000-’01 season running on Broadway: “Proof,” with new lead Jennifer Jason Leigh, grossed $99,203, while “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” took in $69,541. The newly adjusted gross potentials for the David Auburn drama and the Charles Busch comedy were $269,667 and $310,999, respectively.

“Dance of Death” began previews Tuesday, with “Hedda Gabler” giving its first tonight.

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