This winter could be a show-"stopper" for many Broadway plays struggling against dismal sales, prompting producers to frantically go all out to try to shore up their precarious productions.

The shows' worried money men -- including those behind such typically lucrative hits as The Producers and The Lion King -- are banking on everything from extensive direct-mail campaigns to costly radio and television advertising blitzes to grab their share of the dwindling audience pie.

"We're all very nervous," longtime publicist Adrian Bryan-Brown acknowledged to Crain's New York Business in this week's edition.

Fueling concern is the rate of advance ticket sales for the first two months of this year, which is down an alarming 15 percent over the same period in 2002, Crain's reported.