Row over `Sunset Boulevard' receipts Close

A top executive of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful theatre company in New York offered to resign yesterday over a row about box office receipts.

The company has been accused of inflating the box office to disguise a drop in receipts while Glenn Close is on leave from the Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard.

Variety, the showbusiness bible, reported there was a £100,000 difference between figures released by the company and a computerised report signed by the box office treasurer for the first week of the star's absence. Miss Close is to be replaced in July by Betty Buckley.

Group managing director, Peter McKenna, explained the discrepancy by saying the figures reported to Variety appeared to be the face value of tickets sold, rather than actual receipts. "It seems that this difference arose as a result of the sale of tickets at a discount to non-profit making organisations," he said.

Sir Andrew, in a statement last night, said: "Although I am led to believe Edgar Dobie, who is head of the New York office, has made a mistake, he has offered me his resignation."

He said he had asked Mr McKenna to investigate and will decide whether to accept the resignation when he reports back. Sir Andrew added: "It does seem very sad that what appears to be a decision to allow people to see the show who could not otherwise afford to . . . should be marred by someone misrepresenting figures".

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