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'Avenue Q' To Bypass National Tour For Las Vegas

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Tony Award winner for Best Musical "Avenue Q" is by-passing the usual national tour for a long-term open-ended stay in Las Vegas. It will open around Labor Day 2005 at Steve Wynn's new $40 million, 1,200-seat theater built especially for the show at Wynn Las Vegas, a $2.5 billion, 235-acre resort opening next April with more than 2,700 rooms and more than 12 restaurants.

"If you want to see `Avenue Q,' the only place you'll be able to see it is Las Vegas or New York," Robyn Goodman, one of the show's lead producers, told the New York Times.

It is felt that the Las Vegas gross can double "Avenue Q's" maximum Broadway take and eliminate high touring expenses. The deal was made just a few days before the Tony Awards but kept secret from the show's creators until after the awards. Clear Channel Entertainment, one of the show's minority investors, will not get the opportunity to present the show in its venues across the country. The Shubert Organization is also shut out around the country; "Avenue Q" is at the 796-seat Golden Theater in New York, a Shubert theater.

There was concern whether the show would have translated well in many theaters on the road, some of which seat nearly 4,000 people. Instead of the eight performances a week on Broadway, "Avenue Q" will probably play 10 a week in Las Vegas.

"Avenue Q" could gross a nearly $1 million a week in Las Vegas as opposed to its potential gross on Broadway of $490,000, according to Kevin McCollum, one of the show's producers. He estimates that his production company could save more than $2 million a year in touring expenses (among them building, loading, unloading, and trucking the musical's sets) by staying put in Las Vegas, according to The Times. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen