Harlem Song, the critically hailed musical celebration of Harlem life, may close Nov. 3 if additional funds cannot be raised to support the show. A production spokesperson confirmed that the George C. Wolfe-inspired revue is in danger of closing, but hopes for a $300,000 rescue from a company, foundation or producer have delayed an official closing notice.
The $4 million musical has been running at a loss since it opened, although it has also sold some 50,000 tickets. Estimates put that at almost $2 million in sales with $4 million generated to local businesses and restaurants, the Harlem Song producers told the New York Times.
Unfortunately, the production hasn't been generating its weekly running cost of $300,000. Plans to increase Harlem Song's visibility through a commercial featuring Whoopi Goldberg — one of the show's producers — were scrapped, as they were deemed too expensive, the Times reported.
At 1:30 PM today, members of the cast and production will appear outside the Apollo to continue discussions about the future of the show.
Tony nominee BJ Crosby (Smokey Joe's Cafe) and solo performer Queen Esther lead the company of Harlem Song, which released an original cast recording CD Oct. 15 on Legacy Records. Also in the cast are Rosa Arredono, Renee Monique Brown, Gabriel Croom, Rosa Curry (The Rocky Horror Show, Chicago), Randy Andre Davis (Peter Pan), Delandis McClam, Sinclair Mitchell, Zoie Morris (Ragtime, The Scarlet Pimpernel), Dana Shavonne Rainey, Stacey Sargeant, David St. Louis (Jesus Christ Superstar), Keith Lamelle Thomas (Swing!) and Charles E. Wallace (Miss Saigon). Harlem Song revisits and transforms the great songs that have come out of the neighborhood's vibrant musical community, including jazz standards, rap and R & B hits. Using projections and photographs, the musical re-creates life in Harlem from the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance to the area's current spirit of urban renewal and economic rebirth.
The brand-new Daryl Waters and Zane Mark score, some of which is jazz and R&B pastiche, includes the numbers "Well Alright Then," "Drop Me Off in Harlem," "Donnies Inn Kids," "Tarzan of Harlem," "Shakin' the Africann," "For Sale," "Drop Me Off in Harlem (Reprise)," "A Train," "Doin' the Niggerati Rag," "Hungry Blues," "Miss Linda Brown," "Here You Come With Love," "Time Is Winding Up," "King Joe," "Joe the Bomber," "Fable of Rage in the Key of Jive," "Apple Honey," "Dream Deferred," "Shake" and "Tree of Life."
Harlem Song celebrated its opening at the historic Apollo Theatre Aug. 4. Previews began July 8 after the first three performances were canceled due to technical difficulties in rehearsal. For further information and tickets, call (212) 307-7171 or visit Harlem Song on the web at http://www.harlemsong.com.
—By Christine Ehren