Producer Stewart F. Lane tells Playbill On-Line that he came to a decision on the morning of March 23 to close the comedy, If It Were Easy... on April 1. The new comedy began previews at the Douglas Fairbanks on Feb. 15 and opened March 7.
As reported earlier, Lane co-wrote the play and is not only producing and directing it but will perform in the show as well, from March 27 until the close on April 1.
“We decided this morning to throw in the towel,” Lane told Playbill On-Line. “Sales were good this holiday season, but it reached a point where we had to close.”
Earlier, Lane explained that when the actor who was playing his character, Joey got ill and had to bow out, the understudy went on. After a few weeks, however, the understudy felt he was wrong for the part and so the playwright and producer of the show said he would step into the role beginning March 27.
Lane collaborated with former columnist Ward Morehouse III on the piece. "I wanted to get back to the creative end," Lane said. The producer said that the development of If It Was Easy... echoes the days of David Belasco, when the producer and playwright used to collaborate, "before the late '50s and '60s when theatre development became more singular and insular." Working on Easy offered Lane the chance to explore "two distinct points of view," meaning the theatrical (Lane's bailiwick) and the journalistic (Morehouse's). The Easy story is about the development of a stage show. Despite nine revisions, Lane said the play is still about a Sinatra musical which "becomes a runaway hit when the mob gets involved."
The two-time Tony Award-winning producer Lane and former New York Post theatre columnist Morehouse saw the play staged at Atlanta's 7 Stages Theatre last July. Staged readings of the play have taken place at the Berkshire Theatre Festival (directed by Lane) and the Actors Theatre of Nantucket in the summer of 1999.
If It Was Easy also stars John Jellison (On the Town, Titanic, Crazy for You, Sunday in the Park with George), Bonnie Comley (Fortune's Fools) with Brad Bellamy, Gustave Johnson, Christian Kauffmann, Martin LaPlatney and Vicki Van Tassel.
The creative team comprises set designer Michael Anania, costume designer Steven Epstein and lighting designer Phil Monat.
Tickets range from $55-$60. The Douglas Fairbanks Theatre is located at 432 W. 42 St. For tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit www.IfItWasEasy.com.
—By Murdoch McBride