A Year Later, Who's Still on Broadway

News   A Year Later, Who's Still on Broadway
 
Late April 1997 saw one of the busiest weeks in Broadway history since the 1920s, with seven shows opening in the last eight days before the deadline for the Tony Awards.

Late April 1997 saw one of the busiest weeks in Broadway history since the 1920s, with seven shows opening in the last eight days before the deadline for the Tony Awards.

A lot of hope (and cash) was riding on these openings. Critics scrambled to get to them all. Coming up on a year later, here's a recap of the openings on that busy week, and how they fared (number of performances as of April 19, 1998):

April 23, 1997: Titanic (412 performances and still running) -- Lethal word of mouth in previews and mixed reviews were followed by . . . lines at the box office and five Tony Awards including Best Musical. Word of mouth did a 180, and people decided they just wanted to see the show. The biggest hit of the 1996-97 season and still SRO at most performances. The cast album recently surpassed an impressive 100,000 units sold. (5 Tony nominations; 5 awards)

April 24: Steel Pier (closed June 28, 1997 after 76 performances) -- The Kander & Ebb show got better reviews than Titanic but had the opposite reaction from the ticket buyers. They just stayed home. The stars have bounced back, however, with Karen Ziemba in Chicago, Daniel McDonald opening April 27 in High Society, and Kander & Ebb riding high on the success of their Cabaret revival. (11 Tony nominations; no awards)

April 26: The Life (410 performances and still running) -- Cy Coleman and Ira Gassman bet people would want to see 1980-era hookers in the new Disneyfied Times Square, and they appear to have been right. (12 Tony nominations, 2 awards) April 27: The Little Foxes (closed June 15, after 56 performances) -- Lincoln Center Theatre's Lillian Hellman revival played out its scheduled limited run, with Stockard Channing as Regina. (2 Tony nominations, no awards)

April 28: Jekyll & Hyde (408 performances and still running) -- The cult show survived mixed reviews and established the Frank Wildhorn beachhead on Broadway. Cuccioli, Eder and Noll continue to pack them in at the Plymouth. (4 Tony nominations; no awards)

April 29: Candide (Closed July 27 after 103 performances) - Livent hoped to have another Show Boat style hit with another opulent revival -- and with some new lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Audiences passed. (4 Tony nominations, 1 award)

April 30: London Assurance (Closed June 29, after about 70 performances) The well-received revival extended its original limited run, then folded its tent. (3 Tony nominations, no awards)

-- By Robert Viagas

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