Broadway takes a big hit from Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK — Superstorm Sandy, which darkened Broadway while smashing into the eastern U.S. last week, predictably ravaged the box offices around Times Square, with shows losing more than $6 million from the previous week.

The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, released data Tuesday that showed, as expected, all shows took a hit. One of the hardest hit was the musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” which lost $538,853.

The total haul for the week ending Sunday was $13,578,724, well below the total from the previous week of $20,083,783. Attendance also plunged, from 214,909 to just 149,443.

The storm struck last Monday and shuttered all 40 Broadway theaters until Wednesday. All shows were up and running by Thursday night, but the damage had been done, though few expect the pain to last.

“It will come back to its former life, there’s no question about it. Broadway is New York and everyone celebrates the theater in this city,” said Barry Weissler, who has been producing work on Broadway since 1982. “It’s catch-up time.”

Most shows on Broadway have eight performances a week, but Sandy forced many, including “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Heiress,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Chicago” to put on just six shows. “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Evita” only managed five shows. Altogether, 40 individual performances were canceled.

Other shows that took a beating include “Wicked,” which lost $490,996, though it still managed to pull in $1,166,275. The least hurt was “Rock of Ages,” which lost just $59,209.

Sandy joins other recent shocks to have rocked Broadway finances, including the Sept. 11 attacks, which shuttered theaters for two days, and Hurricane Irene in 2011 that wiped away a weekend’s revenue.

“Storms will not stop us, the terrible tragedy of 9/11 will not stop us. Theater will continue. It’s one of the oldest art forms known to man and it will continue,” said Weissler, who together with his wife, Fran, has produced such shows as “Grease,” “Chicago” and “Annie Get Your Gun.”

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