The sole remaining road company of Show Boat has canceled its final week of performances at Milwaukee's Performing Arts Center due to disappointing ticket sales, company spokesman Terence Womble told Playbill On-Line. The production, which opened at the PAC on July 18, will now run until Aug. 9 instead of the scheduled Aug. 16.
"Ticket sales are steady but they aren't what we would have liked them to have been," said Womble. "It's still selling, but not enough to sustain that final week of performances." Womble said it was the first time the tour had eliminated shows due to week box office. "It could be attributed to the fact that really avid theatregoers in Milwaukee will travel to Chicago to see something, and Show Boat played in Chicago for a year." The tour will continue in Pittsburgh on Aug. 21.
Livent's $10 million, Tony Award-winning revival of Show Boat opened at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre Oct. 2, 1994 and starred John McMartin, Elaine Stritch, Rebecca Luker and Lonette McKee. Show Boat, based on a novel by Edna Ferber, was composed by Kern & Hammerstein in 1927.
The troupe is the last of three original Show Boat road companies. Company III had its final engagement in early 1998. Michael Ovitz's arrival in April as Livent's new leader spelled the end of a second road show. Responding to $20 million first quarter losses, Livent announced it would focus on "productions with potentially higher margins." That translated into the axing of Company I. The musical closed and Livent wrote off roughly $16 million in expenses related to the show. Womble said Company II had to rearrange its schedule to accommodate all the remaining Company I tour dates.
-- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz