Despite picking up 5 prizes at this month’s Tony Awards, the Sondheim-blessed revival was facing a tough summer at the box office.
A Tony-winning, gender-swapped, Sondheim-blessed revival of “Company” will end its Broadway run on July 31.
The production, directed by Marianne Elliott, has been noteworthy for the ways in which it inverts the 1970 original. The pathbreaking musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by George Furth, has always been about a single person turning 35 while surrounded by paired-off friends, but in the current production that character is a woman named Bobbie, whereas in previous productions it was a man named Bobby.
The show was the winningest musical at this month’s Tony Awards, picking up the prizes for best musical revival, best director (Elliott), best featured actress (Patti LuPone), best featured actor (Matt Doyle) and best scenic design (Bunny Christie). But its sales have been decent, rather than outstanding, and the lead producer, Chris Harper, said he had decided now was the time to wrap up.
“Listen: It’s no secret to you or anyone else — it’s tough out there, and summer was going to be hard and September even harder,” Harper said in an interview. “I wanted to celebrate the final six weeks and go out on a high.”
Harper said it was too early to say whether the revival, which was capitalized for up to $13 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, would recoup its costs. The show, like many others, received $10 million in federal assistance from the Small Business Administration during the pandemic. It grossed $640,297 during the week ending June 12, playing to houses that were 74 percent full.
Harper said the show is planning a North American tour to start in the fall of 2023.
“It’s been glorious, and I feel so completely proud of the production,” he said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do a Sondheim in a radically new way, and to have him be so proud of it was amazing. So this is sad, but it’s also a moment to celebrate what it has achieved.”
The revival, starring Katrina Lenk, began previews on March 2, 2020, and then 10 days later was forced to shut down, along with the rest of Broadway, because of the coronavirus pandemic. It resumed previews on Nov. 15, 2021, and Sondheim attended that performance; he died 11 days later, at the age of 91; in a final interview, he expressed unfettered enthusiasm for the production.
The revival finally opened on Dec. 9, 2021; at the time of its closing it will have played 300 performances.
The production, conceived by Elliott, began its life in London, where it won the Olivier Award for best musical revival. LuPone, a beloved Broadway figure who plays an alcohol-addled older friend to Bobbie, also appeared in the London production, and her rendition of the classic “The Ladies Who Lunch” song on both sides of the Atlantic was a highlight. Doyle, who joined the cast in New York, plays a groom with wedding day jitters and sings another well-known Sondheim song, “Getting Married Today”; in the original, that song was sung by the bride-to-be in a heterosexual couple, but in this revival the couple is same-sex.
“Company” is the fourth Broadway show this month to announce an unanticipated closing, following “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Tina” and “Come From Away.”
Source: Theater - nytimes.com