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Curtains go up on Broadway

By Laurie Bennett

November 30, 2007 at 10:22am

As strikes go, this one had a relatively short run.

Last night, 19 days after the standoff began between the League of American Theaters and Producers and the stagehands’ union, the neon lights were bright again on Broadway.

Nederlander, Shubert and other theater owners re-opened their doors. Restaurateurs on 46th Street filled their tables. Casts and audiences reveled.

At the end of a standing ovation for Curtains, at the Al Hirschfeld Theater, star David Hyde Pierce addressed the audience: “Please tell your family and friends that Broadway is back!”

Back but bruised. New York city comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. estimated that the city lost about $2 million per day in ticket sales, dinners, hotel stays, cab rides and other tourist spending.

Variety reported today that it’s likely the Nederlander Producing Company, which owns 9 of the 27 Broadway theaters affected by the strike, would not make good on its threat to sue the union for $35 million in damages.

Yet producers fear that the strike will have a lingering impact on sales through January and February. To fill houses last night, they offered tickets at cut-rate prices. Chicago even threw in $40 gasoline cards to lure audiences.

“This is a real P.T. Barnum moment for Broadway,” Scott Sanders, producer of The Color Purple, told Variety. “Everyone is figuring out how to get people to Broadway Thursday and Friday night.”

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