Snow Socks Broadway Box Office

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AFP/Getty Images
    Cross country skiers make their way down Broadway in Times Square.

    It's a time-honored tradition, the show must go on.

    But on Broadway, snow or even merely the report of blustery winter weather can affect how plays and musicals do at the box office.

    "People in Manhattan who are shrewd can probably get into anything they want," Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing, said Wednesday as more than flurries swirled through Times Square.

    Theater producers — by tweeting, on Facebook and with e-mail blasts — reacted quickly to news of inclement weather on what is a two-performance day for most shows.

    "It's kind of like a bonus day (for theatergoers)," said Sue Frost, a producer of "Memphis."

    "You've got time on your hands you didn't know you had. What better thing to do than slush down the street and go see a Broadway show."

    Many offered discount tickets to fill empty seats. "Wicked" had a $61.25 "snow-day" special. There were $31.50 tickets at "Mamma Mia!" ''Hair" trumpeted $40 tickets for students with a valid ID. "Memphis" posted a student-rush ticket for $26.50, and "Billy Elliot" had a $31.50 student rush. Manhattan Theatre Club offered what it called "select" seats at $38 each.

    And the Roundabout Theatre Company expanded its allotment of $21.50 rush tickets (for students and non-students alike) to include 100 additional seats for each performance of its revival of "Present Laughter."

    Last Saturday's monster snow storm that buried Washington affected theater in New York, even though the snow never really amounted to much in Manhattan or in most of its suburbs, despite advance reports on television news.

    Weekly grosses slipped for most shows (in some cases a lot), primarily because of a miserable business Saturday, the most popular day for theatergoing.

    "It was a nonevent as snow goes but it stuck everybody at home and that's very frustrating," Frost said.

    Added Sherman, "People were scared away at a time of year when a significant majority of business is spur-of-the-moment. These forecasts that are so devastating can wipe out (business). ... Every show got hurt unless they had a fantastic advance. And we didn't get snow."