Usually the Monday after the Tony Awards is a day of theatrical bloodletting. Shows that didn’t get a Tony and have little hope of drumming up audiences without one, give up the ghost pretty quickly. This season, however, April 16 is shaping up to be a fairly brutal, pre Tony date, both on and Off-Broadway.
Last weekend was no picnic either, what with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Wit, What You Get and What You Expect and Manhattan Theatre Club’s The Wild Party packing it in, but here are the major casualties for this-coming weekend so far:
• James Joyce’s The Dead, which just won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and is expected to be a strong contender for Best Musical, Director, Score and some Actor/Actress Tony Awards (not to mention Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics Circle honors), has nonetheless found it economically unfeasible to stay open till Tony time. The musical, which moved from Playwrights Horizons to Broadway Jan. 11, has been playing to less than 50 percent houses recently, with grossing steadily dropping. (For the week ending April 9, The Dead grossed only $116,987 and filled only 32.45 percent of the house.) It hasn’t helped that the acclaimed Blair Brown had to leave the show to co-star in Copenhagen, and that Christopher Walken started his vacation April 2. The Dead ends April 16, after 112 performances and 32 previews.
• The Big Bang, a spoofy musical about two producers having a backers audition for the most expensive Broadway show in history (encompassing the history of the world), did not make a big bang with critics or audiences and will be closing April 16. The two-person musical featuring its authors -- composer Jed Feuer and lyricist-librettist Boyd Graham -- and produced by Eric Krebs and Nancy Nagel Gibbs, began previews Feb. 15 and opened March 1 at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre.
• Though the theatre was kind to Donald Margulies this week -- his Dinner with Friends won the Pulitzer Prize -- another former Pulitzer winner came a cropper with her latest. Beth Henley’s Family Week will have run just a week after officially opening April 10. A five-character comedy-drama about a family visiting an inmate at a "treatment center," Family Week was critically panned and will end its run at the Century Center April 16. The show started previews March 28 and will have run 16 previews and 8 regular performances by its Sunday evening close. • Lukewarm reviews also proved sour for Suite In Two Keys, a Noel Coward double bill starring Hayley Mills, Judith Ivey and Paxton Whitehead. The show, which started previews March 28 and opened April 10, vacates the highly-desirable Lucille Lortel Theatre April 16.
• Though a surprise hit at Manhattan Theatre Company’s Stage II, David Lindsay-Abaire’s Fuddy Meers has fared less well in its commercial transfer to the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village. By its Sunday close, the absurdist-flecked comedy, which opened Feb. 10, will have played 16 previews and 78 performances at the Minetta Lane -- a venue already booked for its next show: Thunder Knocking on the Door, starting May 12.
• Obie-winner David Cale and Cara Seymour will stop trading monologues in Betwixt, a New Group offering that closes at the Theatre at St. Clement’s April 16. Performances began March 21 for an opening March 30.
Considering the traffic jam on and Off-Broadway all season long, it’s expected that several of these vacant theaters will announce tenants shortly.
-- By David Lefkowitz