You know those bells Hairspray's Tracy Turnblad has heard since the show made its Broadway debut in July 2002? Well, an appropriate question may now be "For whom the bells toll?"
According to Playbill, Hairspray :
...is expected to close in mid-January 2009, but not before welcoming back the Mother of All Ednas -- Harvey Fierstein.With an unidentified spokesperson from the show characterizing the announcement for shuttering of Hairspray as "imminent," could it be that the economic tea leaves are suggesting that this will be one long, cold winter at the box office?
Recent grosses for the six year old Tony-winning Best Musical of 2003 are not bad, but they're not necessarily great, either. For the past three weeks, the tuner has attracted a capacity crowd in the 60% range. However, if you look at the average ticket price -- which this past week was $57.20 -- it's clear that advance sales are down to the point they're sending an awful lot of seats over to TKTS. With all the news about the economy, theatregoers are likely to be more selective about the shows they see and may not readily return to those they've already taken in.
Giving Hairspray a royal send-off with Fierstein reprising his Edna will most definitely put the lilt back in the musical. Personally, I'd love to see them bring back Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy for one last hurrah as well. Those visions of Fierstein and Winokur together are, ahem, timeless to me.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).