Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brighton Beach: Too Soon To Fade To Memories

Brighton Beach: Too Soon To Fade To Memories

The new Broadway revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs that just opened at the top of this week will close Sunday.

Over the past 15 hours, there has been a flurry of slightly varying news items about the future of the show, along with word that the planned production of Broadway Bound originally scheduled to run in repertory with Brighton Beach Memoirs beginning in November would be scuttled.

Last evening at 8:11 p.m. The New York Times' Pat Healy posted the initial scoop noting the production's weak ticket sales:

The production had failed to build a strong advance sale and grossed only about $124,000 for eight performances last week.
A little later last evening, in taking note of Healy's story, Playbill's Kenneth Jones quoted a statement indicating only a "provisional" closing notice had been issued:
The notice can be taken down at any time and no final decision on closing will be made until Monday, Nov. 2, when a statement will be issued.
However, this morning, the fate of Brighton Beach Memoirs appeared to be sealed as noted by The New York Times' Healy in a story posted at 10:08 a.m. Healy quotes producers Emanuel Azenberg and Ira Pittelman from a statement released earlier today:
A lot of nice people on stage and off will be out of work and a lot of good partners and investors will have lost a great deal of money. They all deserve better. It makes us sad.
It would be hard for anyone to say with a straight face that they didn't see this coming. As noted above, ticket sales have been extremely weak. Over the past couple weeks, Brighton Beach Memoirs had been the single lowest-grossing Broadway production by a mile, as well as the one with the lowest average ticket price. For the week ending October 25, the play's average ticket price was a steal at just $21.32.

Personally, having easily scored a front-row seat without paying a premium just a week prior to attending the show, I was hardly shocked by the news. On my Saturday at the Nederlander Theatre, I was surprised by how few people were in the audience.

While I can't say I had not anticipated the closing notice, I am extraordinarily disappointed. I love what David Cromer and his excellent cast have done with Neil Simon's heartfelt material. It is a beautifully executed production deserving to be seen. While most reviews were largely favorable (my own SOB Review was a rave), the one that I concede matters most was mixed with a dash of withering.

While I'm thankful I had an opportunity to see Brighton Beach Memoirs for myself, I'm a little sad that my hopes for seeing what Cromer et al had in store for us with Broadway Bound have been dashed. So excuse me for feeling a little melancholy today.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 31 October, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

I'm really broken up about Brighton Beach Memoirs closing. You know how much I loved it. (Just like you said I would!) I don't understand some of the criticism. I think David Cromer did a terrific job and I loved the cast, especially Laurie Metcalf. I'm just glad I had a chance to see it. And I'm very disappointed about Broadway Bound.

At 04 November, 2009, Blogger Linda said...

This is what I get for waiting until it opened to see it. Now I won't get the chance. Too bad, I was looking forward to it.

At 04 November, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Linda, I can't tell you how sorry I am that you've missed this excellent production. I wish the producers had given it a little more time to find its audience.


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