Miss Them At Your Peril: Winter Blues Brings Show Closings

News   Miss Them At Your Peril: Winter Blues Brings Show Closings Millennium or no millennium, this post-holiday season resembles so many others in one respect: shows try to ride out Christmas and New Years and then close before the winter doldrums set in.

Millennium or no millennium, this post-holiday season resembles so many others in one respect: shows try to ride out Christmas and New Years and then close before the winter doldrums set in.

Nearly a dozen Broadway and Off-Broadway productions shutter between mid-December and mid-January, which, on the upside, makes room for other productions desperate to find a theatre.

Here's a chronological rundown of plays and musicals that are singing Auld Lang Syne in the weeks to come:

Dec. 26: If Memory Serves: Jonathan Tolins' comedy, starring Elizabeth Ashley and Sam Trammel, leaves the Promenade Theatre after only 20 previews and 16 regular performances.

Dec. 30: A Christmas Carol: This year, the Madison Square Garden extravaganza features Didi Conn, Tony Roberts and Reginald VelJohnson. Jan. 2: Contact leaves Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theatre, but this one doesn't count as a closing, since it'll open up again at the Vivian Beaumont March 9.

Jan.2: Fuddy Meers: David Lindsay-Abaire's drama leaves Manhattan Theatre Club's Second Stage, but don't fret: it moves to the Minetta Lane Theatre (current home of Thwak) Jan. 28.

Jan. 2: Thwak: The Umbilical Brothers' sound effects comedy goes silent, after playing at off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre since late May.

Jan. 2: Give Me Your Answer, Do!: The latest from Brian Friel, about a dinner party that brings out the worst flaw in each guest, ends its run at the Gramercy Theatre.

Jan. 2: Minnelli On Minnelli: Liza's comeback show, which opened Dec. 8, finishes its scheduled 24-performance run. Ticket sales have been very brisk, but reviews were iffy, making an extension less likely.

Jan. 2: Kat and the Kings: A big London success that didn't quite catch on across the Atlantic, this South African musical will have run 157 regular performances at the Cort Theatre.

Jan. 2: The Scarlet Pimpernel: They did not seek him anywhere, and so The Scarlet Pimpernel will end its third attempt at becoming a hit. This scaled-down version, at the Neil Simon Theatre, will be followed by The Music Man in April.

Jan. 9: Marie Christine: Michael John LaChiusa's operatic setting of Medea against the voodoo culture of Louisiana finishes its scheduled run Jan. 9, with Contact swooping into the Vivian Beaumont Theatre just a few weeks later.

Jan. 9: It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues: Good reviews and positive feedback allowed the producers to move this revue from Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont space to the Ambassador Theatre, but the show never quite caught on. (Having a song bumped from the 1999 Tony Awards gave producers some much-needed but short-lived publicity.) Nevertheless, a national tour is planned for summer 2000.

Jan. 9: Tango Argentino: This feast of fancy footwork first exhibited in 1985 exits the Gershwin Theatre following its limited return run, Nov. 17-Jan. 9.

Jan. 16: Ragtime: Despite all the acclaim, awards and promotional hoopla, Livent's perceived money machine turned into a machine that ate up money. Vague rumors are still floating that the producers might reopen the show in a scaled-back version, but for now, this musicalization of E.L. Doctorow's history-based novel is set to finish Jan. 16, after more than 800 performances.

Jan. 16: Smokey Joe's Cafe: After more than 2,000 performances, this sleeper hit, directed by Jerry Zaks, will finally dim its neon lights on Broadway.

Jan. 16: Inappropriate: From the DeSisto Theatre Ensemble, this collection of true-life teen tales ends its extended run at the Theatre Row Theatre.

Jan. 23: The Rainmaker: Woody Harrelson and Jayne Atkinson star in this Roundabout, which received mixed notices, and was initially scheduled to end Feb. 6.

-- By David Lefkowitz