Two Broadway shows join growing list of casualties

Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:28am EST
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By Claudia Parsons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two more Broadway shows fell by the wayside this week but the head of an industry trade association said it was part of natural selection in a tough business rather than the result of the economic crisis.

Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League, said on Friday the next six weeks were a crucial time for the theater business, which typically enjoys its busiest period over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays.

"American Buffalo," a revival of the David Mamet play starring former child star Haley Joel Osment, Cedric the Entertainer and John Leguizamo, is due to play its final performance on Sunday, just one week after opening night.

It received mostly poor reviews and will close unless it sees a sharp rise in ticket sales, producers said on Thursday.

This week's other casualty is "13," a musical with an all-teenage cast and band that opened at the start of October. Its attendance has fluctuated between around 35 percent and 60 percent of capacity since late September and producers said this week it would close in January.

Recent weeks have brought down the ax on several other shows, including award-winning productions that have been running for a year or more, such as "Spring Awakening," a rock musical about teenage angst and sexual discovery.

"Closings are a natural part of our business and the big ones that have announced have had long runs," St. Martin said, pointing also to "Gypsy," "Spamalot" and "Hairspray," which are all due to end their runs next year.

"America Buffalo," one of two Mamet plays in revival this season, suffered from poor reviews, especially in the influential New York Times, as did the musical "Tale of Two Cities," which got the chop earlier this month.   Continued...