By Robert Simonson
10 Nov 2003
Bobbi Boland, which was directed by David Esbjornson, only survived a week of performances, beginning its short life on Nov. 4. It was to have opened on Nov. 24.
A show spokesman indicated that during the morning of Nov. 10 talks were ongoing between producer Joyce Johnson and star Fawcett, but they were apparently to no avail. An official closing announcement followed shortly thereafter.
Johnson said in a statement released on Nov. 10: "I decided to close the production now because we learned in previews that the play simply does not work in a Broadway house. This work debuted in a more intimate (Off-Broadway) theatre some years back, which is where I first saw Bobbi Boland. The vivid characters that I saw in such a small setting did not transfer to the Cort. It's as simple as that."
In a subsequent statement, released still later on Nov. 10, Johnson said. "I am hoping our playwright, Nancy Hasty, will make the necessary script revisions, and that Farrah will star in a new version of Bobbi Boland that I would like to bring to Off-Broadway this spring."
A closure before opening night is an increasingly rare thing in the world of Broadway. The last such occasion was David Henry Hwang's Face Value, which collapsed short of its opening in 1993 (ironically, at the unlucky Cort). A famous example of a pre-empted show was the 1966 musical Breakfast at Tiffany's, on which producer David Merrick famously pulled the plug after a few performances.
The play is set in Florida in the late 1960s and demonstrates how far a former beauty queen will go to protect her realm. The character Bobbi has built a life that could be compared to a shrine, symbolized by the glass cabinet in her living room that houses her 1947 crown. Boland's formal world is tossed into chaos with the arrival of a young, beautiful woman.
Tom Wiggin played Fawcett's husband. Also in the cast were Tom Beckett, Leon Russom, Kelli Giddish and Janine Barris.
The designers were John Arnone (set design), Ellizabeth Hope Clancy (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design) and John Kilgore (sound design).
The new staging was produced by Deep End Productions.
Farrah Fawcett was a 1970s bombshell blonde in TV's "Charlie's Angels" but also impressed critics with her work in the TV movie, "The Burning Bed," and the film version of the play Extremities. Past stage experience include a 1980 production of Butterflies Are Free at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Florida.
It's been a rough week for producer Johnson. Last week, she announced the closing of her Off-Broadway effort, Omnium Gatherum.
Bobbi Boland is the latest ill-fated play to be associated with the Cort Theatre, which hasn't had a hit within its walls since 1998's Nicole Kidman starrer, The Blue Room. The house was first claimed for the current sesaon by a revival of Harvey which was susequently called off. Last season, it was home to Hollywood Arms and A Year with Frog and Toad, both short-lived. In 2002, it was briefly mentioned as the destination of Paper Doll, another play which this fall retreated prior a scheduled opening.