Bloom Off: Flower Drum Song to Close March 16

News   Bloom Off: Flower Drum Song to Close March 16 After toughing out the bleak winter, the Broadway revival of Flower Drum Song, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical starring Lea Salonga, will close on March 16.

The cast was notified just prior to the performance on Feb. 21. When the show closes on Sunday, March 16, it will have logged 26 previews and 172 regular performances.

Although Flower had seen upticks in grosses the past two weeks, it was headed towards a competitive spring, when media attention would shift towards two high-profile musical revivals, Gypsy and Nine.

The closing notice comes on the heels of news of an impending national tour, which will commence in Dallas on Sept. 16. A separate, international tour is set to begin in New Zealand early 2004.

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The "revisal" about Chinese immigrants assimilating into American life circa 1960 — sweetened by such R&H tunes as "Love, Look Away," "Sunday" and "I Enjoy Being a Girl" — opened Oct. 17, 2002, at the Virginia Theatre and stars Lea Salonga as an immigrant who falls for a Chinese American boy who struggles with issues of his heritage. Book writer Hwang drew on the 1958 libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joseph Fields, and the original novel by C.Y. Lee to reshape the work. Theatre Under the Stars in Houston also announced the show for March 11-28, 2004. A spokesman for the Broadway show told Playbill On-Line details for the tour are still being put together and a list of tour dates has not been announced. Single tickets in Dallas won't go on sale for a month or so. Producer Michael Jenkins and DSM were involved in producing the show on Broadway.

After opening on Broadway in 1958, Flower Drum Song ran for 602 performances before closing in 1960.

TUTS bills the show this way: "Flower Drum Song tells the story of Mei-li, a young woman who flees to America in the late 1950s when her father, a Chinese opera master, falls under persecution from the Communist government. Arriving in San Francisco, she finds work in a run-down Chinese opera house where the patriarch, Master Wang, struggles to keep old traditions alive, while his American-born son, Ta, dreams of converting the space into a Western-style nightclub. Together with a showgirl and her fast-talking agent, Ta realizes his dream when the old theatre becomes a popular new nightspot, Club Chop Suey. In the whirlwind that follows, Mei-li finds herself falling in love, while the characters grapple with the joys and the challenges of life in the new world. This funny and moving story explores what it means to be an American."

For Houston TUTS information, visit www.tuts.com. For Dallas Summer Musicals information visit www.dallassummermusicals.org.

For ticket information about the Broadway run, call (212) 239-6200.