World Trade Center Tragedy Cuts Broadway Runs Short
Adding to the list of shows forced to close their curtain early due to the World Trade Center attack, "Kiss Me Kate" will shut down after Sunday's performance. NY1's Paul Lombardi filed the following story on what the theater world can expect in the upcoming season.
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Janet and Brad will dance their last Time Warp this weekend when "The Rocky Horror Show" ends an almost year-long run.
Producer Jordan Roth says that while he is disappointed, he is keeping his problems in perspective.
"It's still difficult to compare because there are people whose entire families have been shattered," Roth says. "But the truth is that when we talk about businesses closing, we're also talking about lots of people losing their jobs."
Rocky Horror is just one of several Broadway shows forced to close this Sunday in the wake of the Trade Center tragedy due the virtual disappearance of audiences.
Even the roar of "The Lion King" has been muted. For the first time in its 4-year run, the show didn't sell out this week.
The Giuliani administration has already made overtures that they're ready to assist the Broadway community. Still, the theater community is trying to help itself first.
"We are very optimistic that the city will be of some help, but we've also got to figure out how to help ourselves," says Jed Bernstein, the president of the League of American Theatres and Producers. "That's really where most of our energy is right now."
Producers are meeting with Actors Equity and other trade unions to discuss cutting salaries in an effort stay afloat.
"It's going to take sacrifices from everyone," Roth says. "It's going to take sacrifices from producers, from theater owners, from actors, from musicians and from stage crew. But I feel the general consensus in our community is that we need to work together to come to some agreements to keep Broadway thriving."
"The Producers" seem to be weathering the tragedy better than any other show in town. Ticket-seekers are still waiting in line outside the theater, and publicists for the show say they're operating at "near capacity."
As the star of the show, Nathan Lane, said recently, "The show must go on."
"The mayor said we have to assume our normal lives," said one man who was waiting for "Producers" tickets this week. "Laughter is part of living, so we have to laugh."
"I've been really upset by it but the more I stay home the more upset I get," said another woman in line. "But I find if you go on with your life you forget about things. If you live in fear, you die every day."
Restaurants that feed Broadway crowds are also feeling a loss of customers.
"Business is probably down about 70 percent of what it was," says Dave Pasternack, a chef at Esca in the theater district. "Less tourists in the city, less people going to theater."
"People have to be in the mood to go to theater or go to baseball games and that will happen more and more every day when life gets back to normal," says Bernstein.
With the curtain about to go up on the new season and huge advances for the much heralded blockbuster, "Mama Mia," Broadway insiders hope that the toughest times are behind them.