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BROADWAY TICKETS RISE TO TOP PRICE OF $50 FOR 2 STAR-STUDDED PLAYS

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The price of tickets for a Broadway play, which topped at $45 for all but two productions in 1991, is rising to $50 for some productions in the New Year.

The producers of a new play by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman, "Death and the Maiden," and a revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" announced Tuesday that a top price of $50 will be charged for tickets to these productions when they open in the spring.They explained that both limited run shows have star casts, making it difficult to recoup costs without raising ticket prices above the $45 norm. Glenn Close, Richard Dreyfuss, and Gene Hackman star in "Death and the Maiden," and Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin star in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

The current top Broadway ticket price for a musical is $100 for "Miss Saigon," which will be reduced to $65 beginning March 9 after a run of a year. Tickets for another Cameron Macintosh musical, "The Phantom of the Opera" will be raised from $60 tops to $65 on the same date.

Broadway box offices began heading for the $50 level last season with two revivals - "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" - charging $50 tops. Other plays, including such hit productions as "Lost in Yonkers" and "Six Degrees of Separation," charged $45.

Another show announced to open in March, Neil Simon's "Jake's Women," will charge $47.50 tops. The play had a disappointing response when it premiered in San Diego last season, resulting in Simon's decision not to bring it to Broadway without revision.

Several plays announced for openings later this season will keep ticket prices down. August Wilson's new play, "Two Trains Running," the fifth in his 10-play cycle of black American life in this century, will have a top ticket price of $42.50, and several other shows will come in at $45.

"I think it unfortunate that prices are going as high as $50 because it creates an image that $50 is what it costs to go to Broadway, although you can see a number of shows for less," said Benjamin Mordecai, executive producer of the Wilson play.