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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Overseas visitor slump hits West End
Peggy Sue
Peggy Sue received muted press reviews
The early closure of the West End musical Peggy Sue Got Married is being blamed on a downturn in tourism following the US attacks.

The curtain went up on the show, starring Ruthie Henshall, just six weeks ago with a star-studded gala opening.

But it has announced it will end its run on 13 October due to low overseas visitor numbers - although initial reviews of the show did not bode well for its future.

Cats
Cats is a favourite with tourists to London
Henshall said: "We are all devastated.

"Our bookings have been climbing steadily but since the barbaric attacks on the World Trade Center, everything has stopped."

The British Tourist Board has already estimated the country will suffer losses of about 2.5bn due to fear of flying after the US attacks and the aftermath of foot-and-mouth disease.

Long-haul markets such as the US, Canada, Japan and New Zealand are expected to drop sharply in the final quarter of 2001.

Peggy Sue was reportedly losing 30,000 a week as audiences stayed away.

"September and October are usually the busiest times in the West End as that is when most Americans travel here independently. But obviously most of them have opted to stay home," a spokesman for Triumph Entertainment told the Daily Telegraph.

Usually about 30 % of London's theatres are filled by foreign tourists.

Other shows which are set to close are Notre Dame de Paris, which originally starred Dannii Minogue, and political satire Feelgood.
Dannii Minogue
Dannii Minogue's run in Notre Dame de Paris was well-received

London theatres have begun to monitor ticket sales to see if the West End will mirror the downturn on Broadway, which have forced huge cuts.

Six productions on Broadway have taken 25% pay cuts to stave off the threat of closure as theatre-goers stay away.

Although, box office sales in the US have started to rise they are still considerably down on previous years.

A huge advertising campaign has also been launched in an attempt to win back theatre-goers.

This includes the recording of the Frank Sinatra classic New York, New York by 100 music stars, accompanied by a video shot in Times Square.

But the Society of London Theatres had not yet asked for wage cuts, said London unions.

See also:

24 Aug 01 | Reviews
Peggy Snooze
21 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Stars turn out for Peggy Sue
21 Sep 01 | Americas
Tourism shaken to the core
24 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Reprieve for Kiss Me Kate
27 Sep 01 | Arts
West End fears downturn
27 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Broadway box office receipts rise
25 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Broadway begins fight back
18 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Cash aid for struggling Broadway
18 Sep 01 | Arts
Broadway shows signal closure
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