Friday, February 08, 2008

Farnsworth Invention To Be Turned Off

Farnsworth Invention To Be Turned Off

Last night, it was announced that Aaron Sorkin The Farnsworth Invention has posted its closing notice. The play about the race to build the first television will shutter at the Broadway's Music Box Theatre on March 2.

Directed by Des McAnuff and starring Hank Azaria and Jimmi Simpson, the show scored mediocre reviews when it opened in early December (I gave it two out of four stars). Sorkin has been put through the proverbial wringer for twisting historical facts in fictionalizing this true story.

No matter now. The cold hard facts as we know them are this. During the February winter doldrums, The Farnsworth Invention's box office take last week was down to $186,343 for a total capacity of just 43.2%, while the average ticket price was $53.65. The only show to pull a lower capacity crowd was the 11 year old revival of Chicago (42.8%), and the only shows to pull in lower grosses were the very funny Is He Dead? (which at just $165,165, sadly appears to almost be caput) and cult favorite Xanadu ($153,328).

When Sorkin's drama finally closes, it will have played a total of 104 regular performances. Then on March 2, it will be history.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Sorkin "No Tracy Letts" (December 14, 2007)
Did Critics Enjoy Sorkin's Invention? (December 4, 2007)
The Farnsworth Invention (The SOB Review) (December 4, 2007)
Don't Touch That Dial: Farnsworth Invention Opens (December 3, 2007)
All Of Great White Way Gleams Tonight (November 29, 2007)
Strike Fallout, Part Two? Opening Nights In Question (November 12, 2007)
Television Comes To Broadway (June 21, 2007)

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At 08 February, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

I think you're right that the mediocre reviews, plus the twisting of history kind of doomed The Farnsworth Invention. I mean, once it opened, there was no buzz to keep it going. I just didn't find it terribly compelling, although I think Jimmi Simpson brought a kind of appealing boyish quality to Farnsworth. After this and the ill-fated tv series Studio 60, I've come to the conclusion that I'm simply not a big Aaron Sorkin fan. I think too often, he writes caricatures instead of fully fleshed-out characters. And he veers toward a kind of sappy melodrama.

At 09 February, 2008, Blogger Alicia said...

I say good riddance. I was so excited when they announced FARNSWORTH because I, unlike Esther, am a fan of Aaron Sorkin. The story seemed compelling enough and I was happy to see Sorkin's return to the stage after his swift departure to Hollyweird after the success of A FEW GOOD MEN. However, I feel like he's taken to resting on his laurels a bit and, in the case of FARNSWORTH, he just phoned in the script. Plus, it didn't help that the project was stuck in "am I a film or am I a play?" limbo forever. I think the finished product definitely showed that and now they are paying the price.

At 09 February, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I thought it ironic that a story on the development of television was told via the oldest form of entertainment (OK, maybe the second oldest...).

Like Alicia, I thought it better suited to a movie. But it's journey to Broadway sure was interesting. When it first made its detour through the La Jolla Playhouse, its "promise" included the possibility that Steven Spielberg might produce on Broadway.

I'm ambivalent to Mr. Sorkin. As enjoyable as "West Wing" was, it never struck me as a show that captured the DC I knew and worked in. So I wasn't surprised when the drumbeat began that he was playing loose with the facts on The Farnsworth Invention. Maybe this will make him redouble his efforts when he writes the film script for Follies.

At 11 February, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most boring Play to hit Broadway. I hated it.


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