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'Rumors Of Our Death Are Wildly Exaggerated': Broadway League President Optimistic Despite Sales Slump

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The recent surge in COVID cases has put a damper on Broadway's recovery efforts, but the industry is staying optimistic.

The Empire State Building was lit up in blue and white on Tuesday for the NYC Winter Outing, an event aimed at bringing audiences back.

A Broadway sales slump. Empty seats that performers see from the stage.

Charlotte D'Amboise stars in Broadway's "Chicago."

"It's gonna lapse a bit, [but] I think thing's are gonna turn around quickly. That's my optimistic view," she said.

"The rumors of our death are wildly exaggerated," Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said.

St. Martin says it's nothing new for ticket sales to dip in January and February, but the surge of the Omicron variant is making it worse this season.

For the week ending Jan. 9, only 62% of seats were occupied.

"They can't afford to have too many weeks without enough visitors," St. Martin said.

"It's very sad news," said Tristan Baker, producer of "Girl from the North Country."

Baker said the show must close with plans to reopen in spring.

About eight other productions suffered similar fates.

"The world shut down and Broadway shut down, and so we just were dealt this such bad luck," Baker said.

"There are shows that would've made it, especially the new shows. They need time to build their brand and people to hear, 'Oh, you've got to see 'Girl from the North Country'' or one of the shows that's on hiatus," St. Martin said.

Mayor Eric Adams rubbed elbows with some stars at the Empire State Building on Tuesday as they promoted the return of Broadway Week with "Buy One Get One" ticket deals for 17 shows from Jan. 18 - Feb. 13.

READ MORE: 2 Broadway Shows Announce Temporary Closure Plans As Attendance Drops Across Industry

The mayor urges residents to have a Broadway staycation and come see a show, which he says he's going to do.

"This week, I'm going to go see the play 'Tina.' I've been trying to see it for so long," Adams said.

"We're going to keep our theaters open and our shows going," St. Martin said.

"The audience, because there's less people, almost feel like they want to support more, and so we end up with amazing audiences," D'Amboise said.

They're counting on more audience members driving up spending and building back Broadway with the love it needs heading into Valentine's Day.

For more information on NYC Broadway Week, visit nycgo.com/broadway-week.

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