Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

I can't say I am surprised, but I can say I am disappointed.  Come Fly Away, the Tharp-Sinatra dance musical, will play its last performance September 5 at the Marquis Theatre.  That leaves you with just 52 chances to see this show (as of today).

Only the second non-scheduled closing of a show (Next Fall being the other), post-Tonys, for weeks the show has been among the lowest in percent of attendance.  The week of July 19 - 25, it was at 49%, with only Race pulling in lower numbers.  Interestingly, it is still managing to gross more than 1/2 a million dollars each week ($547,485 last week), and it still has an average paid admission of $91.03.  Does that mean that a large number of patrons are still paying full price?  That average seems kinda high, all things considered.  Still the numbers are what they are, and they are not enough to warrant use of the cavernous Marquis.

The show got only two Tony nominations, both well-deserved: Twyla Tharp for Outstanding Choreography and Karine Plantadit (above, center) for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.  It won neither.

Personally, I loved the show and still recommend trying to get to see it.  This caliber of dancing is becoming rarer on Broadway, really.  You can read my complete review here.  I'll admit that a wordless musical, where the connection between the song and the action is not always clear, and where the story line is really there, but only if you look for it, can be a lot to ask of an audience.  I love that challenge.  And I always have to laugh when someone laments that shows don't ask much of their audiences anymore.  Because here is a show that asks a lot, and still no one came.

I suspect that the national tour, set to begin in May 2011 in Chicago, should do OK on the road, as middle (and aging) America loves its Sinatra, and the show even looks a tad like the the Lawrence Welk Show (though act two should get the blue-haired old ladies a-chattering).

And so this leaves us with our next question:  Which show will be the next to go?  I'm going to go with Million Dollar Quartet, which has no reason to be running as long as it has already.  (Race and Lend Me a Tenor are already scheduled to end, at the end of contracts, August 23 and 15, respectively.)

And I'm betting a big splashy musical - Priscilla: Queen of the Desert - will snap up the Marquis in a hurry!

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