Broadway will finally be back to its normal schedule this week after being dark while Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on New York City last week. A true icon and one of the city’s biggest economic contributors, Broadway reopened on Wednesday, October 31, some shows offering discounted tickets, and serving as just a small reminder that nothing can stop “the city that never sleeps.”
Amanda Pekoe, president of theatrical marketing and advertising company The Pekoe Group, told TicketNews® that while she expects that there will be a slight bump in ticket sales this coming week, things are still not quite back to normal. “There are still a lot of factors that needs to be considered, including that right now only a couple of trains are running into Manhattan from Brooklyn, many areas are still recovering from the storm and will continue for quite some time, and there is a gas shortage. Peoples’ priorities right now are safety and helping their friends and neighbors bounce back.”
The Broadway League, the association of Broadway theaters and producers, announced last Sunday that in the wake of the mass-transit shutdown all Sunday (Oct. 28) and Monday (Oct. 29) evening shows would be cancelled. According to NPR, Broadway suffered a loss of about $10 million last year from cancelled shows during Hurricane Irene; however, Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, told NPR that she does not believe the loss will be as great this time around as many shows scrambled to make sure cast and crew were ready for Wednesday matinees.
“There are few times that Broadway goes dark,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, told NPR. “There’s this amazing tradition with Broadway, it’s probably been in place for over 100 years — we all believe the show must go on. It’s just got to go on. When Sept. 11 occurred, Major [Rudolph] Giuliani said ‘You’ve got to get Broadway back up; it’s a symbol of New York.'”
Last season, the Broadway industry contributed $11.2 billion to the New York City economy, according to a report by The Broadway League. With less people traveling to Manhattan, revenue from restaurants, hotels, and other businesses normally patronized by theatergoers will likely be down. Pekoe told TicketNews® that the cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy will have a big effect on the gross sales of shows since many sales were refunded and most ticketbuyers will likely not exchange their tickets for future performances.
The New York Times reported today, November 6, that “Broadway shows lost roughly $8.5 million in ticket sales due to cancelled performances”
Although a few Broadway favorites like “Mary Poppins” and “The Lion King” remained closed on Wednesday, October 31, several shows were not only back-in-action, but they offered discounted tickets in hopes of attracting stranded tourists and audience members who live in Manhattan. According to HuffingtonPost.com, “The Performers” was offering a “Sandy Special” of $29.50 for top tickets, and the Roundabout Theatre Company offered $20 tickets to “Cyrano de Bergerac” and “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” to MetroCard holders.
While Sandy forced Broadway to turn off its lights for a few days, as soon as the Great White Way reopened people were lined up at the box offices. “My best friend, this is her first trip to New York City,” New Yorker Sabra Gertsch told NPR. “Her flight was cancelled and so, darn it, here we’re in line, buying tickets for a Broadway show. Because of the hurricane, we were able to get in to see ‘The Book of Mormon,’ which I’ve tried countless times to get in to see.”
Sandy delayed the opening of the highly anticipated revival of “Glengarry Glen Ross” starring Al Pacino, which was set to open Sunday, but is now scheduled to open December 10, with the run extended through January 20. Katie Holmes’ “Dead Accounts” was scheduled to begin previews on Saturday, but moved the opening to Monday, November 5.