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The Footlights: Broadway business slips, movie adaptations to the rescue?

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Catchleapsplit_lIt’s crunch time, folks! Or at least that’s what seems to be happening, but how does that affect Broadway? Quite directly, it would seem. As of now, Xanadu and [title of show] have bit the dust, Legally Blonde will do its very last “Bend and Snap” on Oct. 19th, and Hairspray is slated to stop the beat in January (though that announcement that Harvey Fierstein will once again put on the housedress might boost sales a tad). Some new shows (13, A Tale of Two Cities) are lurking perilously in the 50 to 60 percent attendance bracket. Only the unstoppable Fantastic Four (Wicked, Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys, The Lion King) are doing superhero business. And Billy Elliot and Shrek, with their marquee recognition, seem poised to grab the hit show baton.

But other than some announced revivals of plays and musicals this spring — Guys and Dolls with Oliver Platt (!), Blithe Spirit with Christine Ebersole and Rupert Everett — there has been almost no fanfare about new productions, save for Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, which still needs a teeny cup of ambition by the looks of the reviews from L.A. Could this be because the economy has spooked investors? Revivals of Brigadoon, Godspell and for colored girls… were scrapped this fall, though one upcoming superhero might not be so afraid of the profit margin.

addCredit(“Everett Collection”)

Earlier this month, we’ve heard that a musical of American Psycho is being developed (personally, I see Xanadu‘s Cheyenne Jackson just nailing — pun intended for the film’s fans — Patrick Bateman and he’d better sing this one in that score), and some other movie transfers are just about ready to go (Catch Me If You Can, Pure Country, Leap of Faith).But is it me, or do some of these sound not worth your $120? You cansee blood splatter in a Martin McDonagh play for a fraction of thatprice in most regions (without having to listen to “Sussudio” I mightadd), and while Catch (pictured, below) sounds like a good,healthy project (with its witty, brisk screenplay and a bevy ofcolorful characters to bring to life onstage), is anyone clamoring tosee a stage version of a crappy country pic (with the worst C&W star turn of all time or a lackluster Steve Martin movie (pictured, above)? Sure, the gospel numbers would probably be rousing, but Faith‘s screenplay left a lot to be desired. Why not musicalize Roxanne if you’re going for the Wild and Crazy Guy’s best work? Norbert Leo Butz (who channeled Martin in his Tony-winning Dirty Rotten Scoundrels role) and Sherie Rene Scott (The Last Five Years and Scoundrels with Butz!) reteaming, can’t you just see it? Okay, I’m exciting myself now…

So, PopWatchers, has the economy hit your theatergoing wallet? Andis there any movie you’re dying to see get a full-blown Broadway show?The ghostlight is on…

More on Broadway:
Photo Gallery: 20 Hollywood stars on Broadway
EW.com Stage section: Theater news and reviews
Jason Clark’s Footlights columns