The Two and Only Closes Early in London; Jay Johnson Blogs the Blues

News   The Two and Only Closes Early in London; Jay Johnson Blogs the Blues
 
The Tony Award-winning specialty play, The Two and Only, which opened at the Arts Theatre in London on July 2, following previews from June 25, closed July 13, earlier than expected.

The one-man ventriloquism show by and starring Jay Johnson (TV's "Soap") — with a trunkful of puppet partners — was on sale through Sept. 28. The play ran two months on Broadway in 2006, but managed to win the 2007 Tony as Best Special Theatrical Event. The well-reviewed showbiz memoir about Johnson's life on the stage and the history of voice-throwing played engagements Off-Broadway and around the U.S. in recent years. In an entry on his personal blog after the final performance, Jay Johnson stated, "I don't know how many closing nights I have experienced in my life and career. It feels like hundreds maybe thousands. The actual count is not important, even one is too many to forget the profound emotion one feels at the time. I am just settling in to a comfort level with these British audiences, just beginning to feel like I can lead them in the dance. At the moment I know them, I have to tell them goodbye. That's not right, there is no way that feels satisfying. Tonight was a tough show to get through. It wasn't a very big house but they were a very good audience. Even through teary eyes I could see them standing on their feet at the end. I'm told that British audiences don't do that, and I almost wish they hadn't. How much harder it is to leave when you are receiving such appreciation. I thought for a moment if I could just keep going and never leave the stage the show would never have to end. Is there such a thing as a theatrical filibuster? But it couldn't work. Eventually it was much to traumatic and emotionally draining to stay on stage a minute longer."


 In earlier entries during the week prior to the closure, he expressed his anger and dismay at the outcome. On July 8, he was told the news of the early closure, and said, "Today I get the call from [London co-producer] Andrew Collier that the show will close this Sunday, July 13th. (Thirteen seems a perfect number to end on)... I have rarely felt such heartache. I will someday come to a conclusion as to what happened. I think it was mostly the wrong venue and inexperienced producers. This is not a theatre it is a cabaret booked like a comedy club. I'm not sure I believe in cursed theatres, but if I did the Arts would be the poster child for the black hole of entertainment. This is not a show that fits any paradigm. With a word of mouth show as different as this one, I didn't expect to draw crowds for several weeks, obviously I expected it would take more than days. School is not even out yet. Why spend all this time and money knocking on the door if you don't stay around long enough for someone to open it. The reviews were good and the crowds were loving it. I'm not sure what was expected. I am very disappointed in the people over here I believed in.”

The day before the closure, he wrote, "I blasted the Producers in my dressing room on Wednesday like Hitler addressing his generals in the bunker. Later I realized that I had vented Broadway anger that was pent up for two years and in some ways did not fit my anxiety over the current situation. I later told them that I was more upset with the situation and their mistakes than I was with them personally. That is true, I don't think they are dishonest, nor underhanded, they are producers, the natural enemy of the artist. They are just young and inexperienced and made some tragic mistakes. I like them a lot and still think they are good producers. They will take the hit for this failure more than me. I leave town with the hottest show that didn't run. Great reviews, everyone who saw it thought it was the best show in London. And I believe it was. The mortgage crunch has hit Britain and the oil prices affect them as much as us. There are no Americans on holiday here. No one can discount the fact that the show opened in the worst economic times London has experienced in ages. There is not a show in London right now that isn't struggling. There will be more closures than just my show before this economy turns around. The world economy is on a knife’s edge and we have not seen this sort of depression worldwide in a long time."

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