Broadway's off-season a prime time for deals

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NEW YORK -- Just as the city winds down from the holidays, Broadway offers a bonanza of openings and well-established shows with ticket availability unheard of during the Christmas season.

Here are some early spring highlights -- and lucrative ways for agents to sell them:

Musicals

"Bombay Dreams," "Assassins," and a revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" all have interesting settings and characters, most notably Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins," with a theme that converts presidential assassination into entertainment.

"Bombay Dreams" is set in the world of Indian cinema better known as Bollywood, while "Fiddler on the Roof" remains a classic in any incarnation. Theater buffs might recall Zero Mostel as Tevye in the original 1964 production, played in this revival by Alfred Molina.

Plays

Star power enhances the roster of new plays and play revivals: Alec Baldwin and Ann Heche in "Twentieth Century"; Richard Dreyfuss in "Sly Fox"; Laura Linney and Liev Schreiber in "Sight Unseen"; and Christopher Plummer in the title role of "King Lear."

Meanwhile, agents booking Broadway have a wide selection of solid hits and long-running favorites from which to choose.

Leading the list of musicals are "Chicago," "Gypsy," "Hairspray," "Mamma Mia!," "Movin' Out," "Never Gonna Dance," "42nd Street," "The Producers," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Boy From Oz" and "Wicked."

A revival of "Wonderful Town" has been a box-office success, and the familiar trio of Disney hits -- "Aida," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King" -- continues to flourish. Joining these mainstays are "Anna in the Tropics," "The Caretaker" and the solos "Golda's Balcony" and "I Am My Own Wife."

Booking incentives abound this winter. Applause, at (800) 451-9930, and TDI/Broadway.com are offering commissionable individual and group tickets, some of them discounted, to virtually every show.

Two- and three-night theater packages, available year-round for 10% commission, are being offered at off-season rates starting at $408 per person, double, for a choice of midtown hotels. Packages can be customized for individual clients and groups.

Broadway.com said it expects its new, two-week Broadway Winterfest (Jan. 27 to Feb. 5) to become an annual event, whereby for the cost of one theater ticket clients will be invited to post-performance discussions with cast members, district walking tours and workshops.

For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call (800) BROADWAY.

To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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