Silence! Chaplin Takes His Final Bow on Broadway Jan. 6

By Michael Gioia
January 6, 2013

Chaplin, the Broadway musical depicting the life of screen legend Charlie Chaplin and chronicling the rise and fall of the infamous Little Tramp, plays its final performance Jan. 6 at the Barrymore Theatre. 



At the time of closing, Chaplin will have played 24 previews and 136 regular performances. The final show is a special 8 PM performance to benefit the Actors Fund.

Chaplin features music and lyrics by Christopher Curtis, and a book by three-time Tony Award winner Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Curtis. Directed by Drama Desk nominee Warren Carlyle (Finian's Rainbow; Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway), the Broadway musical officially opened Sept. 10, 2012, following previews that began Aug. 21. 

AWA Partners will present a U.S. national tour of the new musical, which is set to launch in the fall of 2014, and plans for an international world tour are in the works. Casting has not yet been announced.

Critically acclaimed Barrymore Award winner Rob McClure, who recently took home the Clive Barnes Foundation Award in Theater, stars in the title role. McClure previously starred on Broadway in Avenue Q and originated the role of Chaplin in 2010 at La Jolla Playhouse, where the musical received its world premiere under the title of Limelight; that staging received Craig Noel Awards for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical (McClure) and Outstanding New Musical. 

McClure previoulsy told Playbill.com that "the audience gets to see the ultimate rags-to-riches story." The Broadway musical follows Chaplin from the London slums to his heyday in Hollywood, where he wrote, produced, directed and starred in hit films such as "The Kid," "Gold Rush," "City Lights" and "The Great Dictator." "He really does go from nothing to becoming the most famous man in the world, which is an amazing arc," McClure said. "What a lot of people don't know is that he had a pretty drastic fall from grace, too. It's a beautiful, beautiful life, and, for me as an actor, to get to spend that kind of evening just feels epic."

Click here to read the Playbill.com Leading Men column with Chaplin star McClure.

The original Broadway cast album of Chaplin was released digitally by Masterworks Broadway Dec. 4, 2012, prior to a physical release in stores on Jan. 8. Click here for the Playbill.com exclusive listen to McClure's second-act number, "Where Are All the People?"

Rob McClure, Christiane Noll and Zachary Unger
photo by Joan Marcus

Joining McClure in Chaplin are Jim Borstelmann (The Addams Family, Young Frankenstein) as Alf Reeves, Chaplin's longtime friend and production manager; Jenn Colella (High Fidelity, Urban Cowboy) as Hedda Hopper, a powerful gossip columnist determined to bring down the Little Tramp; Erin Mackey (Anything Goes, Wicked) as the young Oona O'Neill, Chaplin's last wife; Michael McCormick (Elf, Curtains) as producer Sennett, McGranery/Emcee; Tony Award nominee Christiane Noll (Ragtime, Jekyll & Hyde) as Chaplin's mother, Hannah, who appears through a series of flashbacks; Zachary Unger (Encores! Merrily We Roll Along) as Young Charlie/Jackie; and Wayne Alan Wilcox (The Normal Heart) as older brother Sydney Chaplin.

Click here to read the Playbill.com Diva Talk column with Chaplin star Colella.

Rounding out the ensemble are Justin Bowen, Emilee Dupré, Sara Edwards, Leslie Donna Flesner, Lisa Gajda, Timothy Hughes, Ethan Khusidman, Ian Liberto, Renée Marino, Michael Mendez, Sarah O'Gleby, Hayley Podschun, Adam Rogers, William Ryall, Eric Santagata and Emily Tyra.

Here's how producers characterize the new musical: "From the slums of London to the heights of Hollywood, Chaplin is the showbiz Broadway musical about the silent film legend the world couldn't stop talking about — Charlie Chaplin. The brand new 24-person musical reveals the man behind the legend, the undeniable genius that forever changed the way America went to the movies."

Bryan Perri is the musical director, and orchestrations are by Larry Hochman. Jonathan Tunick and Michael Starobin provide additional orchestrations with vocal arrangements by Bryan Perri and dance arrangements by Perri and Curtis.

The creative team members paint the two-act musical in shades of black, grey and white. They are scenic designer Beowulf Boritt, costume designers Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz, lighting designer Ken Billington, sound designers Scott Lehrer and Drew Levy and projection designer Jon Driscoll. (There is a generous use of film in the production, often featuring McClure as the Little Tramp, including recreations of famous Chaplin movie moments.)

Chaplin was produced on Broadway by the Rich Entertainment Group, Roy Gabay, and John and Claire Caudwell, the Viertel Routh Frankel Baruch Group, Chunsoo Shin/Waxman-Dokton and Broadway Across America.

The Barrymore Theatre is located at 243 W. 47th Street. Tickets, which range in price from $66.50 to $135.50, can be purchased through Telecharge or by calling (212) 239-6200.

Visit ChaplinBroadway.com.