White Fades to Black Feb. 19: Lloyd Webber Musical Closes
By Andrew Gans
The new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Woman in White — which marked the Broadway debut of Olivier Award-winning actress Maria Friedman —plays its final performance at Broadway's Marquis Theatre Feb. 19.
The show, which began previews Oct. 28, 2005, and officially opened Nov. 17, 2005, will have played 20 previews and 109 regular performances. The only Lloyd Webber show to have played fewer performances on Broadway was 2001's By Jeeves: 15 previews and 73 performances.
"'We are enormously proud to have produced The Woman in White on Broadway," producer Bob Boyett said in a recent statement. "It is a groundbreaking piece of musical storytelling and at the forefront of pioneering new technology with its innovative design. The production and the performances of this extraordinary cast have given pleasure to hundreds of thousands of people in London and New York while Andrew Lloyd Webber's glorious score has been hailed by critics as his best since The Phantom of the Opera."
Boyett's statement continued, "Unfortunately, early in previews, the show experienced a number of medical problems among the cast. Maria Friedman performed admirably through a diagnosis of breast cancer and its treatment and Michael Ball battled a serious viral infection. As a result of these and other health issues among the company, audiences got to see the entire original cast perform just 31 of the 108 performances played to date since the show's first preview."
Composer Lloyd Webber added, "There have been performances when two or more leads have been absent due to illness. I'm not sure even The Phantom of the Opera could have survived the illnesses which have beset this wonderful company."
Boyett said he looked forward to working with producer Sonia Friedman and The Really Useful Group on "plans" for a reconfigured production of The Woman in White "for both London and a U.S. national tour."
Though it was previously announced that Maria Friedman would take a medical leave of absence beginning Feb. 12, she has continued in the role of Marian Halcombe and is scheduled to be part of the final performance. Michael Ball, however, played his final performance in the show Jan. 20, citing a viral infection in his throat.
The Woman in White is directed by Trevor Nunn (Nicholas Nickleby, Cats, Les Miserables), with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Cats, The Phantom of the Opera), lyrics by David Zippel (City of Angels) and a book by Charlotte Jones (Humble Boy).
The Woman in White is based on the Victorian gothic novel by Wilkie Collins. According to production notes, "The tale begins when a dashing young man, employed as the art tutor to two devoted sisters, is stranded at a remote railway station. Out of the darkness looms a woman, a mysterious figure dressed in white, desperate to share a chilling secret. He and the sisters soon find themselves trapped in a web of betrayal and greed, the victims of a seemingly flawless crime. Together they will need all their resourcefulness and courage to outwit a hugely charismatic and ingenious villain."
The principal cast also includes Angela Christian, Adam Brazier, Jill Paice, Ron Bohmer and Walter Charles.
The Woman in White is produced by Boyett Ostar Productions, Nederlander Presentations Inc., Sonia Friedman Productions Ltd., The Really Useful White Company, Inc., Lawrence Horowitz/Jon Avnet, Ralph Guild/Bill Rollnick, Live Nation/PIA and Thomas L. Miller.
Tickets may be purchased by visiting Ticketmaster.com, by calling (212) 307-4100 or visiting the Marquis Theatre box office. Visit www.womaninwhitethemusical.com for more information.
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