On Broadway, the price of drama is going up

January 08, 1992|By New York Times

NEW YORK -- The show-business trade weekly Variety has reported that a top price of $50 had been set for two scheduled plays, but producers of most new non-musicals opening on Broadway this spring said they would not raise their ticket prices.

The two plays, "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Death and the Maiden," have both signed star-studded casts for limited runs.

Variety also reported that a third play, "Jake's Women" by Neil Simon, would have a $50 ticket, but its producer, Emanuel Azenberg, said the top price will be $47.50.

The most costly plays on Broadway this season have been "Six Degrees of Separation," which closed on Sunday, and "Lost in Yonkers," with top prices of $45.

Last season two plays, "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," had a top price of $50.

The current top price for a musical is $100 for front mezzanine seats at "Miss Saigon." That show's producer, Cameron Mackintosh, has announced that he will eliminate the $100 ticket and charge $65 for the best seats beginning March 9.

The price of orchestra seats will increase by $5 for both "Miss Saigon" and "The Phantom of the Opera," another Mackintosh musical.

"Streetcar," which is to open on April 12 at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, will star Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange. James Walsh, the general manager of the play, said the $50 ticket was necessary because of the 21-week limited run. "We have two star salaries and no chance of extensions," he said.

Also star-laden is "Death and the Maiden," the Ariel Dorfman play with Glenn Close, Gene Hackman and Richard Dreyfuss, directed by Mike Nichols. It is to open on March 17. "We have the three major stars for only 24 weeks, and we don't have the ordinary period to recoup," said Roger Berlind, one of the producers.

"I think it's unfortunate that prices are going this high because it creates an image that $50 is what it costs to go to Broadway," said Benjamin Mordecai, executive producer of "Two Trains Running." That play by August Wilson, scheduled to open on April 13 at the Walter Kerr Theater, will have a top ticket price of $42.50. The show stars Larry Fishburne and Roscoe Lee Browne.

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