Side Show 'Saviour' Says Reopening Still Isn't Certain

News   Side Show 'Saviour' Says Reopening Still Isn't Certain
 
Newsday's Patrick Pacheco has reported speaking to a Nederlander Organization executive who confirmed that Side Show, the Broadway musical about Siamese twin sisters in vaudeville, will reopen at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in April -- but fans shouldn't start lining up at the boxoffice quite yet.

Newsday's Patrick Pacheco has reported speaking to a Nederlander Organization executive who confirmed that Side Show, the Broadway musical about Siamese twin sisters in vaudeville, will reopen at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in April -- but fans shouldn't start lining up at the boxoffice quite yet.

The New York Times reported Jan. 23 that sufficient money to reopen the show April 13 at the Richard Rodgers has been promised, but that no official announcement can be made until the money is delivered.

Apparently, the producers found a backer willing to put up $2 million: half to finance the re-opening and half to pay off previous investors.

Reached Jan. 22, a Bill Evans office spokesperson for the show told Playbill On-Line there was still no official news on the reopening. The Daily News reported that the $2 million dollar man is Ira Pittelman, a longtime friend of Henry Krieger. Reached Jan. 22, Pittelman told Playbill On-Line that money actually came from a group, comprising himself, attorney Jonathan Herzog and Scott Nederlander. He also said it was still too soon to say whether the Side Show return would happen, because so many elements were involved.

Pittelman, president of Heartland Music, a TV mail-order record company, used to write songs with Krieger back in the 1960s and 70s. He's soon heading down to Washington DC to catch the opening night of Krieger's Dreamgirls. "Henry went to Broadway, I went into the music business," Pittelman said. Side Show closed Jan. 3 after 31 previews and 91 regular performances. Producers said at the time that they were seeking additional financing to reopen the show in April or May to take advantage of possible Tony Award nominations.

The New York Post reported (Jan. 13) that the show is looking more and more likely to reopen, with unnamed inside sources quoted as saying, "It's a go!" The Post story asserted that the show's creators are strongly behind a reopening, but that investors who lost some $7 million on the show were not convinced to spend more money to reopen.

A spokesperson at Azenberg's office confirmed to Playbill On-Line an earlier New York Post story saying the show is considering reopening in time to cash in on possible Tony Award nominations.

"It's not officially happening," the spokesperson said. ". . . We're still telling people [in the cast] not to get their hopes up."

One obstacle was removed when a booking for the Richard Rodgers Theatre (owned by the Nederlander Organziation), where Side Show played, was cancelled. Production spokesman Jonathan Schwartz said the sets and costumes for Side Show have not been removed from the theatre. The Times reported that the theater's owner (and the show's co-producer), the Nederlander Organization, is keeping the theatre free for Side Show.

Among remaining obstacles: Financing and advertising the reopening. Keeping the cast together. The Times story said the show would get a new logo and advertising campaign, and something the show's supporters have been clamoring for -- a TV commercial.

A spokesperson for Azenberg said the get-out-the-word effort by the "Freaks" -- devoted fans of the show -- had a definite effect on the box office during the show's final two weeks, with ticket sales rising from 50 percent of capacity to 85 percent in the show's final week.

One question for the Tony Awards committee: If the show reopens, will it be eligible for both Best Musical and Best Revival?

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