An era in Vienna theatre has come to an end.
On April 23, the musical hit Elisabeth had its 1278th and last performance at the Theater an der Wien. Michael Kunze's and Sylvester Levay's musical about the popular Austrian empress Elisabeth was a big hit with locals and tourists since it's opening Sept. 3, 1992. About 1. 3 million people have seen the show, with an average capacity percentage of 87 %.
Elisabeth has also been a big success abroad, as more than 500,000 fans have attended 203 performances in Tokyo. Local productions have also been seen in Osaka (Japan), Budapest and Szeged (Hungary). In March 1999, the German city of Dresden will open a new theatre with Elisabeth.
The Vereinigten Buehnen Wien (United Stages of Vienna) have been widely criticized for closing Elisabeth in a year when the 100th anniversary of empress Elisabeth's death draws a lot of tourists to Vienna. Rudi Klausnitzer, director of the VBW, said that "it was simply time to move on to new projects."
From September to December, Chicago will follow Elisabeth at the Theater an der Wien. Dutch actress Pia Douwes, who played the empress 626 times, left Vienna to portray Roxie Hart in Utrecht (Netherlands). Maya Haakvort, Elisabeth for 427 performances, will be in the Viennese premiere of Blood Brothers in September. -- By Bernd Freimueller