NEW YORK – Four Broadway shows will close this weekend — or earlier, if they can get union concessions — as ticket sales dropped dramatically following the terrorist attacks.
The Rocky Horror Show, Stones in His Pockets, A Thousand Clowns, and If You Ever Leave Me, I'm Going With You announced Monday they would shut after doing what one producer called "abysmal" business last week.
"Every show — across the board — has suffered," said Jordan Roth, the producer of The Rocky Horror Show. "And we were just not able to hold on to see what would happen."
The revival of the cult rock musical, which opened last November, has been struggling at the box office. So have Stones in His Pockets, an Irish comedy that was a London success, and If You Ever Leave Me, I'm Going With You, a comedy written by and starring Renee Taylor and Joe Bologna.
"The industry has asked the union to waive the one-week notice," said Emanuel Azenberg, a producer of Stones, referring to the Actors' Equity rule requiring shows to give performers at least one week's notice before ending their runs. "If they do, Stones is definitely closed; if they don't, it will end by Sunday.''
A union decision on the waiver is expected Tuesday.
Broadway shut down for three performances Sept. 11-12 after the attacks, costing producers an estimated $3 million in lost revenue, according to Variety, the show business weekly.
"Business was very, very bad," said Jeffrey Richards, a producer of A Thousand Clowns, the Herb Gardner comedy starring Tom Selleck. "Our grosses for the whole week were $61,000. We fell from $242,000 to $61,000. Before everything happened, we had hoped to go over $300,000 for the week."
Attendance for other shows was down drastically, too, with the future of such big musicals as The Music Man and Kiss Me, Kate in doubt. Other long-running shows, such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, both tourist favorites, also experienced sizable drops in business.
The Producers, Broadway's biggest hit, seemed to buck the trend, with 200 to 300 people waiting at each performance for cancellations. "They accommodate as many people as they can," said spokesman John Barlow. "And some people are getting in."
Producers were fearful it would take a long time for the tourist business to return, a delay that could have major financial consequences.
"New York is the mecca for the theater, and the city was threatened in a huge way," Azenberg said. "It is quite conceivable we could do less business this week than we did last week. At least for three or four days, people who were stuck in New York could go to the theater. Now those people have left town."