‘Chorus Line’ steps high

Remount has proved a strong draw

It’s one singular cash cow.

The Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line” has made a swift step-kick into the black, recouping its initial capitalization in about five months. And producer John Breglio said plans were set for a national tour to hit the road in April 2008.

The remount of the 1975 musical, budgeted at about $8 million, has proved a strong draw since it opened on Broadway on Oct. 5. The production hit especially high numbers over the holidays, when the show grossed as much as $950,000 in the Schoenfeld, one of the smaller Rialto venues housing a tuner.

The production, which tried out in San Francisco last summer before it began previews on Broadway Sept. 18, is a faithful remount of the original staging by the late director Michael Bennett. As the show headed toward the Rialto, it took flak from naysayers who thought it was too early for a revival, especially one that aims to replicate the original.

“I really believe that was the right decision artistically,” Breglio said. “And in terms of the business, that’s been proved.”

Biz has been decent even during Broadway’s usual winter slowdown, with the show last week grossing $700,068 and playing to 83% capacity.

Since its preem, the musical — which opened Off Broadway at the Public Theater in 1975 before it jumped to Broadway for a 15-year run — has become a regional staple for professional, amateur and stock companies around the country.

But Breglio, also an entertainment lawyer who controls the estate of Bennett, said he has been prepping for an eventual tour for several years.

” ‘Chorus Line’ hasn’t really played the major markets in quite some time,” he said. “We turned down requests for major tours and started pulling back on major productions. We did that purposefully.”

A schedule for the road production has not been announced, but the show can be expected to have stints in cities it hasn’t played in the past few years, including Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

“We’re hoping we’re going to get at least two to three years out of the tour,” Breglio said.

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