The Broadway musical Play On! will close Sunday, May 11, after 61 performances and 19 previews.
However, it looks like Broadway's loss will be London's gain; producer Mitchell Maxwell announced that Play On! will open at the Savoy Theatre in the West End Oct. 1. A U.K. producer also will be involved.
The decision to close was made just hours after the show was nominated for three 1997 Tony Awards. Tonya Pinkins was nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Andre De Shields was nominated for Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. Luther Henderson was nominated for Best Orchestrations -- a new category this year.
"We got some strong nominations -- but not the ones we needed," said production spokesman Rick Miramontez. The producers "were holding out, I think, to see if it would get Best Musical. That might have put the show over the edge."
The production was playing to less than two-thirds of its capacity at the 1080-seat Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Cast members were informed May 5 of the likelihood of the show's closing; the actual closing notice was posted the evening of May 6.
Play On! uses the music of Duke Ellington to retell the story Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, but updated to an idealized 1940s-era Harlem.
Play On! opened March 20, 1997. Miramontez said the original cast album capturing the Tony-nominated work will still be released as scheduled May 20.