Inside Move: ‘Urinetown’ flush with profit

Prod'n recoups $3.7 mil investment

The big news on West 43rd Street isn’t that the Henry Miller Theater will be torn down, that the Durst organization is putting up a 57-story skyscraper in its place or even that “Urinetown” will have to vacate the Miller premises Feb. 15. (The tuner’s original lease was for only six months.)

The big news is that “Urinetown” has recouped its $3.7 million investment. And its producers think the tuner has another year to run.

On Wednesday, several royalty participants in “Urinetown” were pleasantly shocked to learn of such things when they read a New York Times article on the subject.

According to those creatives, they have been paid more than their minimum guarantee on only one or two profit-pool cycles (four weeks) of the show’s reportedly profitable 100-plus-week run.

How can a show pay back but not have profitable months?

Due to amortization, what may be a profitable month to an investor isn’t so green for a creative.

Amortization allows producers to take 1% of capitalization off the top of each week’s gross ($37,000 in the case of “Urinetown”) and use those monies to repay investors without giving the creatives (i.e., royalty participants) a piece of that action.

“We sent out a final check (to investors) two days ago,” said “Urinetown” producer Michael Rego. Which means creatives should start seeing their percentage of the profits from here on out.

Rego would not discuss the profit pool but did say his show breaks even in the low $200,000s. Most of the year, it has been grossing between $230,000 and $300,000 a week.

Will the show move to another theater come February?

“Do you have a million dollars?” said Rego.

Most shows can transfer for about $250,000.

“Is that all? he laughed. “Do you have a check?”

Since “Paper Doll” recently pulled out of the Circle in the Square, there’s at least one vacant theater. And it’s about the same size as the Henry Miller.

“Urinetown” in the Circle?

“That’s an interesting proposal,” said Circle prexy Paul Libin.

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