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More Shows Are Closings, But Broadway Is Optimistic

Spring awakening marquee_closing date

The list of Broadway shows closing in January has reached double digits, the New York Daily News noted yesterday. Many of those are early curtain calls related to a struggling economy, as we've been reporting daily on Blog Stage and BackStage.com, but some seasonal shows with scheduled closings are contributing to the exaggerated stats.

The Daily News reminds us that several Disney musicals, long-running shows, and star-studded productions are still doing good business (Mamma Mia!, In the Heights, Wicked, and Jersey Boys were among 10 musicals that earned $1 million each last week). And even though a few shows have postponed their early 2009 openings (Vanities, for example), other big-name revivals are still expected to draw big crowds in 2009 (West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, and Hair).

A Bloomberg.com article yesterday, in agreement with the Daily News, surmised that quality productions with star attractions can still make a buck on Broadway (and we already told you Wall Street Journal theatre critic Terry Teachout's theory).

But how optimistic should theatregoers be that there will even be new theatre to see next year? Can we call off our Broadway death watch?

"I don't see any reason to be concerned about the health of Broadway," Elizabeth McCann, who is co-producing Hair with the Public Theater, told the Daily News. "Even in a good economy, shows fail. It takes a bit of nerve, and people's nerves are jangly now from the stock market. It's always been the survival of the fittest and always will be."

-- Daniel Lehman

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