B’way played out as ‘Price,’ ‘Wrong’ close

Miller play hit hard by slumps

Plays are not having an easy time of it on Broadway. And the times just got even rougher.

Arthur Miller’s “The Price” will close March 5, producer David Richenthal confirmed Tuesday. Also announced, David Hirson’s “Wrong Mountain,” the first new play of the 1999-2000, will shutter Feb. 5. after 19 previews and 28 performances.

The current Broadway production of Miller’s 1968 play opened at the Royal Theater on Nov. 15 to generally enthusiastic notices, with Ben Brantley’s negative review in the New York Times a notable exception. Also exceptional, Vincent Canby’s followup rave review of the James Naughton-directed play 10 days later in the Sunday New York Times.

“The Price” box office was particularly hard hit by the Christmas week slump — as was nearly every Broadway show — grossing only $118,984 for the week of Dec. 20. Since then the B.O. improved: It reached $185,961 the week of Jan. 11, and $177,566 the week of Jan. 17. However, the Shubert Organization, which owns the Royale, invoked the stop clause when figures fell below a certain level during 1999.

“I wanted to continue the run,” said Richenthal, who added that the production had been running at a profit before and after Christmas week.

“Wrong Mountain,” which opened at the Eugene O’Neill Theater on Jan. 13 to generally negative reviews, had total receipts of $65,195 last week. Michael David of the Dodgers, which produced the Hirson play with others, had put break-even at somewhere over $150,000.

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