Despite recent efforts to turn the male cast-members of Footloose into Backstreet Boys-style pop icons, the show itself has continued to do only passable business at the box office. As such, the producers will close the show July 2, after 21 previews and 737 regular performances at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre.
For the week ending June 18, Footloose filled 62.5 percent of its seats and grossed $281,066 -- up more than $4,000 from the week before but still less than half of box office potential. The closing announcement also comes hot on the paws of the full casting announcement and commencement of ticket sales for Seussical, due to start at the Richard Rodgers Oct. 15.
According to production spokespersons, Footloose is planning a national tour to start in September, as well as international mountings in London, Australia and Europe. There are already productions playing in Atlantic City, NJ and Las Vegas, NV.
Footloose, a stage musical adaptation of the hit 1984 film, has been a grassroots favorite, particularly for the teen-girl crowd, since opening Oct. 22, 1998. Critics largely dismissed the show, but audiences have been eating up the hit-filled score, which includes "Holdin' Out for a Hero," "Let's Hear it for the Boy," "Almost Paradise" and is rounded out by new songs by Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow.
The plot concerns a preacher who bans dancing in his small town, and the rebel (Kushnier) who breaks the rule. Walter Bobbie directed and co-wrote the stage version with screenwriter Pitchford. *
As mentioned above, in the tradition of 'N Sync, five "boys" from Broadway's Footloose are being marketed as the "Footloose Five" in the hopes of luring the teenage market. The culmination of a marketing campaign that began earlier this spring is the addition of a post-curtain call remix version of the title number performed by star Jeremy Kushnier and fellow cast members Casey Miles Good, Jamie Gustis, Bradley Jay Madison and Mark Myars. The boys are already being seen on building-size billboards and posters around Times Square.
A specialty performance of a song is not foreign to musicals: One of the highlights of the recent Donny Osmond version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was the post-show "megamix" that was part reprise, part party. Similarly, Saturday Night Fever has an audience friendly disco party in the aisles in the final moments of that show, at the Minskoff.
The recent outdoor posters and the new promotional photos for Footloose show the intense-looking five guys staring aloofly or broodingly (pick one) in their club-worthy duds, with moussed-up hair.
The Richard Rodgers is at 226 W. 46th St. For tickets, call (212) 307 4100.