After a run of a little over a year, and just over 500 performances (30 previews and 473 regular performances), the acclaimed 1961 musical “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,” by Frank Loesser, is finally closing its doors. Nick Jonas, Darren Criss, and Daniel Radcliffe, all very popular teen idols who starred, were clearly not enough to keep the show on its feet. The final performance will be on May 20.
“How To Succeed” opened in February 2011 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. According to The Huffington Post, the show did exceedingly well at first, thanks to Daniel Radcliffe, former Harry Potter star, who played corporate climber J. Pierrepont Finch, a role previously played by Matthew Broderick. In 2011, the show received eight Tony Award nominations. They even took one home for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. The award was given to John Laroquette, for his performance as J.B. Biggley.
Radcliffe allowed the show to recoup its $9 million initial investment in December of 2011, and Darren Criss, star of the hit TV show Glee, brought in $4 million in his three-week run in January. Nick Jonas came in after and, despite his star power, ticket sales have been steadily declining since April. The week before this decision to close the show was made, “How To Succeed” brought in only $367,605 in ticket sales — a mere 26 percent of its potential gross.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the show’s attendance also fell below 50 percent capacity for the first time. Jonas will unfortunately not be fulfilling his July 1 contract.
Tony and Emmy Award-winner Rob Ashford received positive reviews as director and choreographer for the production, the third revival of “How To Succeed” on Broadway. Producer John Gore praised Ashford’s work, according to The Huffington Post. “We could not have asked for a better vision of this legendary show than Rob Ashford’s joyous production which literally sent audiences dancing out into the streets.”
This production is celebratory of the show’s 50th anniversary, and on its third Broadway run. Unfortunately, with the decline in ticket sales, there isn’t much the show can do to remain open. “Coupled with the success of all the new productions opening this season, a closing — however unfortunate — seemed imminent if not inevitable,” said Gore in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.
On the same day the show’s closing notice was announced, producers realized they were not alone. Another show, “Leap of Faith,” at the St. James Theatre closed on Sunday, May 13, according to The New York Times. The show, based on the 1992 film of the same name ran for less than one month, after just 20 performances.
The show’s producers are keeping a positive attitude about the closing of the show. The last year and a half of performances have been successful, and the show has starred three young and famous actors. As producer John Gore told Entertainment Weekly, “I am certain the original creators would be proud of this chapter in the legacy of this great show.”