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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Broadway begins fight back
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick
Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick will promote Broadway
Broadway ticket sales have picked up as major productions embark on a series of campaigns to get New Yorkers back to the theatre.

Sales for the past week are down about 50 to 60% on last year, compared with the 80% drop immediately following the terrorist attacks in the US.

"Relatively speaking, that's an improvement, but there is a long way to go," Jed Bernstein, head of the League of American Theatres and Producers (LATP), said.

The new marketing campaign will see adverts across print, radio and television, specifically targeting New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Kiss Me Kate
Kiss Me Kate's cast, including leading lady Carolee Carmello, is taking a hefty pay cut
The Producers' stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick will appear in one radio ad while Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey will voice another.

Another stunt will see 500 performers from every show on Broadway congregate in Times Square in costume to sing New York, New York.

Benefit show

The LATP is aiming to get a video of the performance into cinemas and on national and local TV networks.

A benefit show featuring theatre stars will be held in October with all proceeds going to various causes including a fund for Battalion 9, Ladder 54 - the fire house in the theatre district that lost 15 members at the World Trade Center.

Broadway unions have also agreed a 25% pay cut for four weeks in the hope of saving big musicals such as Rent, Les Miserable and Chicago.

Mr Bernstein said: "This was a galvanizing event that brought this community together in terms of trying to save shows and jobs and continue to entertain and to get (people's) minds off, at least briefly, this horrible tragedy."

The cast and crew of Kiss Me Kate have gone one further and opted to spend an extra 25% of their wages on buying tickets to give away to groups connected with disaster relief.

The show was due to close but has been extended for two weeks for the ticket giveaway promotion.

It is hoped the efforts will extend the show's run even further.

See also:

24 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Reprieve for Kiss Me Kate
21 Sep 01 | Americas
Tourism shaken to the core
18 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Cash aid for struggling Broadway
18 Sep 01 | Arts
Broadway shows signal closure
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