Broadway’s Dark Summer

29th June 2009 by Maura McHugh

According to an article on Bloomberg by mid-July 49% of Broadway theatres will be closed to any production despite coming out of a record year for ticket sales. Many shows ended profitably, some were scheduled to close at this point, while there were the usual commercial failures.

It means that during the height of the summer season there will be a limited choice available to the tourists.

“Our costs to carry a dark theater are very low — real estate taxes, insurance, heat and electricity — because we lay everybody off,” Philip J. Smith, chairman of the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 Broadway theaters, told me [Jeremy Gerard].

Smith points out that while the number of dark theaters may be higher than last year, it’s business as usual: His houses are all booked with shows scheduled to open in the fall and winter. Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman and Daniel “Bond, James Bond” Craig are moving into the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre with Keith Huff’s “A Steady Rain.” That new police drama will be produced by the husband-and-wife team of Frederick Zollo and Barbara Broccoli (whose late father, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, produced the Bond movies).

And the Barrymore Theatre, which had been home to Rush and his dysfunctional royal court, has been booked by producer Jeffrey Richards and his partners for David Mamet’s new play, “Race.” An acclaimed Los Angeles revival of Mamet’s “Oleanna” is also in the offing for the coming season.

Perhaps it will be an Autumn Awakening this year.

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