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Bright lights return to Broadway

Productions combat consumer uncertainty

Well, at least one entertainment industry strike is over.

Broadway got back up and running Nov. 29 after striking stagehands’ union Local One and the League of American Theaters & Producers reached a tentative agreement late the night before. The deal ended a strike that had darkened more than 25 Rialto productions for 19 days.

The resolution elated legiters eager to return their shows to the boards — but it also left them scrambling to make up for lost time and revenue.

The previous sked of opening nights was scrapped, with six productions rejiggering their plans. Because of its technologically complex production and the foolhardiness of trying to organize press previews during the holidays, Disney’s megatuner “The Little Mermaid” pushed its Dec. 6 opening all the way back to Jan. 10.

And all productions mobilized to combat consumer uncertainty.

Press agents hit the ground running, instantly organizing a slew of events including a free celebratory concert in Times Square, held to alert the world that the Rialto is back in biz.

Discount offers went out to attract instant auds. “Chicago,” for one, dangled $26.50 tickets and $40 gasoline gift cards as bait.

And then there were the actual logistical challenges of getting a production up and running after an unexpected recess of almost three weeks.

“Legally Blonde” producer Hal Luftig, for instance, had canine concerns for his show, which features two crowd-pleasing pups. “Dogs stay trained by repetition,” Luftig said. “And the dog wasn’t able to get in to the theater to rehearse!”

Even more worrisome: all those backstage fridges hadn’t been cleaned out for weeks.

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