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What the Heck, Broadway?!?

By Suzy Evans in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 31, 2009 8:30PM

Broadway doesn’t love Chicago as much as it led on. Just one week after the opening of Chicago director David Cromer’s Broadway debut with Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, producers posted a closing notice for Sunday and cancelled plans for Broadway Bound, another Cromer-directed Simon show scheduled to open in a few weeks. Memoirs received mixed reviews, but apparently it needed rave reviews to live on. The show didn’t do well in the box office and advance ticket sales were weak.

Producers Emanuel Azenberg and Ira Pittelman issued a statement this morning:

“A lot of nice people on stage and off will be out of work and a lot of good partners and investors will have lost a great deal of money. They all deserve better. It makes us sad.”

It makes us sad to. We know of plenty of shows that succeed on Broadway without rave reviews. Wicked, anyone? It saddens us that a work of art can’t succeed without critical acclaim or an all-star cast (And by all-star we mean Hollywood. Steppenwolf ensemble member Laurie Metcalf, who stars in Memoirs and would have starred in Broadway Bound, is as good as they come.)

We hope other producers aren’t discouraged from taking chances with theater. This wasn’t even a new play or an unknown cast. It’s Neil Simon! He has a theater named after him on Broadway. Maybe the Nederlander Theatre is cursed after Rent closed in September 2008. The revival of Guys and Dolls was a catastrophe and now this. We need someone to exorcise whatever’s going on in there.