Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Despite Closings, N.Y. Theater Bounces Back

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Despite Closings, N.Y. Theater Bounces Back

Article excerpt

Broadway and off-Broadway theaters are settling back into business as usual - and business as unusual - after struggling through one of the biggest box-office drops in history because of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11. Daily Variety reported Tuesday that after Broadway resumed its eight-performance schedule last week, it earned $4.3 million, up from the previous week's $3.6 million - a 118 percent increase.

Five Broadway shows, including "The Rocky Horror Show" and "A Thousand Clowns," closed Sep. 23. But the cast and crew of the musical "Kiss Me, Kate," which earlier announced that it was closing the same day, agreed to an unprecedented 50 percent pay cut that will keep the show going through December. Twenty-five percent will go to Broadway Cares, a nonprofit theater charity, to purchase tickets for those working on New York disaster relief.

"Kiss Me, Kate" producer Roger Berlind was overcome with emotion at last Sunday's matinee when he stood on stage and tore up the show's closing notice because of what he called "an extraordinary outpouring of generosity and goodwill of every member of the 'Kiss Me, Kate' family."

It was just one of the most visible of a great many efforts the New York theater community is making to survive the tragedy.

"Whenever we're shown a new way of doing things, even from necessity, we can only learn from it," says Jordan Roth, one of the producers of "The Rocky Horror Show." "The lines of communication and generosity have been opened up between management and the many unions as never before."

Mr. Roth says these new lines of communication "will be tested" soon as he and his co-producers try to reduce costs so that "The Rocky Horror Show" can resume performances for 10 weeks starting Halloween week.

Other instances of the theater community pulling together include:

* Five dollars of the price of every Broadway ticket purchased by the end of September will be donated to the Mayor's Twin Towers Fund.

* Today, cast members in costume from every show currently running on Broadway and other celebrities will sing "New York, New York" in Times Square. …

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