Broadway unites in effort to boost spirits and sales

NEW YORK: Broadway is working hard to get back to business as usual

with an unprecedented marketing initiative involving all current


Spearheaded by the League of American Theaters and Producers (LATP), an

industry trade group, members of every aspect of the theater community

and every running show have banded together and donated about $5

million dollars in time and resources for the campaign, which includes

print, radio and TV commercials, as well as publicity events and a


"Competitors have become allies in this whole thing," said Bob Fennell

of The Publicity Company, which handles press for Les Miserables and

Phantom of the Opera. "All the press agents from all the shows have been

working together to get the word out that Broadway is up and


Pattie Armetta-Haubner, director of publicity for LATP, said that the

effort is meant to raise funds for relief work and also fill seats that

have remained largely empty since September 11.

Box-office take for the week after the attack fell by almost 64%, or

$9 million, according to Daily Variety. That decline caused five

shows to shut their doors, although ticket sales rebounded slightly last


Other shows stayed afloat by negotiating a four-week, 25% pay cut for

union staff.

The campaign kicked off two weeks ago with print ads in major New York

papers encouraging people to follow Mayor Giuliani's advice and "see a

show," said Armetta-Haubner.

Radio spots featuring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick - stars of The

Producers - and an additional spot by actor Kevin Spacey quickly


Then on Friday, September 28, cast members in costume from every show

met in Times Square to sing New York, New York for a TV commercial and

music video.

Broadway is also donating $5 of every ticket sold that week to

the mayor's relief fund, and is offering $25 dollar tickets to

relief workers and families of victims.

The efforts have started to pay off. Over the weekend of September 29-30

- traditionally quiet because of Yom Kippur - many struggling shows saw

dramatic increases in ticket sales.

"The idea is to give them a bit of respite to take their mind off

things," said Armetta-Haubner.

A fundraiser for relief efforts will be held later in October at the

Ford Center for Performing Arts.

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