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The challenge of securing a home in New York isn't just something people sing about in "Rent."
The 2006-07 Broadway season officially gets under way next week with the opening of "Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway" on Aug. 15 and "Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me" on Aug. 17. There's no shortage of new shows being readied to hit town, but the Rialto real-estate crunch once again promises to make it tough for producers who haven't yet landed a theater.
Broadway houses of sufficient size that can sustain a musical with a large cast and elaborate sets are at a premium--long-haul players of a decade or more like "Phantom of the Opera," "Rent," "The Lion King" and "Chicago" have been joined by a younger crop of stayers like "The Producers," "Mamma Mia!" "Avenue Q" and "Wicked." Add to those such recent-season successes as "Monty Python's Spamalot," "Jersey Boys," "The Color Purple" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," none of which appears to be going away soon, and you have a logjam with more product waiting in the wings than theaters to accommodate it.
The situation seems likely to promote a blood-bath climate in which producers and theater owners will be ready to pounce on new shows that fail to connect instantly with an audience and existing tuners starting to show box office vulnerability. Pundits also are wondering where plays …