After a mere two months, Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning musical Sweeney Todd about the demonic London Barber, closed in Madrid, January 25. The show's close was reportedly due to low ticket sales, which on average left Madrid's Teatro Albeniz filled only to 17 percent of capacity.
The same production, including actors and orchestra, was incredibly successful in Barcelona last season. Although the Madrid production received stupendous reviews, with exceptional praise for Vicky Pena's Mrs. Lovett, not even the drastic reduction in ticket prices (from 5000 pesetas to 3500 pesetas for the top-priced ticket) increased the number of attendees.
In addition to the poor attendance, Sweeney Todd had to compete with musicals like West Side Story and Man of La Mancha, which, perhaps due to their Spanish-related content, are far more popular with Spanish audiences. The sparsely populated location of Madrid's Teatro Albeniz, and the scarce tradition of Spanish theater are other possible reasons for the rapid closing.
Man of La Mancha and Sweeney Todd are both produced by Pigmalion Productions. Although the former was successful in breaking all record earnings in Spain, the latter seemed to have an opposite fate.
--By Carlos Lorenzo