Is there any good news for Gotham’s theater?
On Wednesday, Christyne Lategano-Nicholas, president-CEO of NYC & Co., held a streetside press conference in front of the Eugene O’Neill Theater to kick off the city’s the-show-must-go-on campaign — so new it has yet to be given a slogan.
A TV commercial promoting Broadway is in the works, to air as soon as next week. “If you want to help New York City, come to a Broadway show,” she said. “The theater here supports a $3 billion economy.”
At the same press conference, Jed Bernstein, president of the League of American Theaters and Producers, announced that the trade org would move its biannual confab this November from Havana, Cuba, to Gotham.
A quick eyeball tour of West 44th Street theaters on Wednesday night provided a microcosm of varying resilience. “The Producers” was at 100% capacity, after the previous week’s 82.7%. Across the street, “Dance of Death” played to around 90% cap in only its third preview. Neither it nor “Producers” sold discounted tickets at the TKTS booth. Next door, the long-running “Chicago” had cap figures at about 60% after last week’s 37.8%. Only “The Phantom of the Opera,” giving its 5,689th perf, put in cap numbers slightly under last week’s 43%. Broadway’s second-longest running show, after “Les Miserables,” the Andrew Lloyd Webber tuner relies on out-of-towners for 70% of its audience. (Cap figures were confirmed by the shows’ spokesmen.)
Downtown, the League of Off Broadway Theaters & Producers met Wednesday to discuss emergency measures. A 50% ticket discount program was approved.
“Everyone was white-knuckling it,” said Robyn Goodman, producer of “Tick, Tick … Boom” and “Bat Boy,” which posted a closing notice for Sept. 23. She said proposals were made to reduce performance schedules and receive possible 25% pay-cut concessions from the unions. Patrick Quinn, prexy of Actors’ Equity, said those requests from Off Broadway were “trickling in.”
‘Bat Boy’ resurrection?
As for “Bat Boy,” Goodman hadn’t give up hope entirely. “We’re trying to come up with a scenario that allows us to reopen (at the Union Square) in three or four weeks. All the labor unions have to be behind us. I’m looking at Sept. 23 as our last performance, but hoping for a miracle.”
Michael Alden, another producer on “Bat Boy,” looked for something more.
“I am in the process of putting together a completely insane and wacky package to move ‘Bat Boy’ to Broadway,” said Alden. “It would be the ultimate statement of survival. I’m trying to create an icon of hope with this show.”
Goodman could only wish him well. “Michael is an audacious thinker and I have a lot of admiration (for him),” she said. “We’re all trying to reinvent ourselves. And the bravest will survive.”