Germany's musical theatre boom seems to be going through a difficult year as the largest legit German theatre producer, Stella AG, is struggling to make ends meet. As a result, three major musicals are to close this year in Germany. All three musicals were playing at specifically designed, new musical theatres in three different German cities.
The first musical to close is Boublil /Schonberg's Les Misérables, which opened at the 1,550 seat Musical Theatre in Duisburg on Jan. 26, 1996. The last performance of the musical will be Nov. 28, 1999, after approximately 1,500 shows. American actor Charles Fornara is currently leading the cast as Jean Valjean.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice musical Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opened Dec. 13, 1996 at the new Colosseum in Essen, which also seats 1550. The final performance will be on Dec. 12, 1999, after almost 1,200 performances.
And finally, Miss Saigon, which opened Dec. 2, 1994 at the 1,816 seat Music Hall in Stuttgart, will also end in December. Currently the cast is led by the original Chris, German musical star Uwe Kroger, who will play the role until July 18 before moving to Vienna, where he will star in the musical Mozart. American actress Melinda Chua currently plays the part of Kim, while Canadian actor Johan Carnat plays the Engineer. The last show will be Dec. 19, 1999, having played more than 2,000 performances.
Reached June 21, the Cameron Mackintosh office in London confirmed the Les Miz and Miss Saigon closing dates. Musical producer Stella AG still has 5 other musicals running in Germany: Cats and The Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg, Starlight Express in Bochum and, jointly with the Disney Corporation, Beauty and the Beast in Stuttgart and The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Berlin, which opened June 5th.
-- by Maxim Bezembinder