For the third time in less than one week, a Tony-winning Best Musical has posted its closing notices. This time, I'm downright shocked.
Spring Awakening, which had only won the Tony just last year, will shutter on January 18, 2009. The box office was still attracting a respectable 62.3% capacity crowd last week. With an average ticket price of $63.91, that was enough to earn the tuner $347,393 for the week.
But as the long-term prospects for the economy have regular theatregoers, along with the all-important tourists to New York, scrutinizing their discretionary dollars, I'm told that the almighty advance box office is disappointing at best and downright dismal at worst for many shows. It will make this winter a particularly chilly one for the Great White Way.
Personally, I enjoyed Spring Awakening. I gave this supercharged musical three-and-a-half stars shortly after seeing it from my front-row seat. As I said then, credit Michael Mayer’s expert direction for enabling this show from Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik to grapple with 19th Century German teen angst at a brisk, riveting -- and highly entertaining -- pace.
When Spring Awakening closes, it will have enjoyed 859 performances. But take heart, Spring Awakening fans -- the North American tour will continue on through at least next June.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).