Producers for “Memphis” have announced the show will end its Broadway run in August, while “Jesus Christ Superstar” has already closed its doors, becoming the latest shows to call it quits on the Great White Way.
“Memphis,” which won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical, will end its Broadway run on August 5 after 30 previews and 1,166 regular performances at the Shubert Theatre, according to The New York Times. The musical is currently on a U.S. tour and plans to play a stint on London’s West End.
Through the sales week ending July 1, receipts for the show totaled just over $500,000 with a capacity of 67 percent, according to figures posted by The Broadway League. “I do think that they will see some uptick sales during their final week,” said Amanda Pekoe, president of theatrical marketing and advertising company The Pekoe Group, in a recent email to TicketNews. “This is a show that has been running for several years now and has provided entertainment for a great number of people.”
Set in the underground clubs of the segregated 1950s, “Memphis” tells the story of a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun, played by “Rent” star and Tony nominee Adam Pascal, who falls in love with a black singer, Felicia Ferrall, played by Montego Glover.
The musical began previews in September 2009 after a run at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. Chad Kimball and Montego Glover played the original lead roles of Huey and Felicia.
The latest Broadway revival “Jesus Christ Superstar” closed its doors on July 1 after 24 previews and 116 regular performances at the Neil Simon Theatre. Producers previously announced on June 20 that unless sales picked up, the show would end July 1.
Created by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical based loosely on the Gospel’s account of the last week of Jesus’ life, received two Tony Award nominations despite opening March 22 to mixed reviews.
The musical originally began as a record-breaking album before hitting Broadway in 1971 with additional runs in 1977 and 2000, according to Broadway.com. The current production first played at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival before its run at La Jolla Playhouse.
Luckily for Rice and Lloyd Webber, their current revival of the 1970s musical “Evita” has been successful so far with ticket sales totaling over $1 million through the week ending July 1. During its final week of performances, “Jesus Christ Superstar” pulled in $678,052 in ticket sales and played to an audience at 79 percent of capacity based on figures posted by The Broadway League.
“Memphis” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are not the first shows to announce their closings. “Anything Goes,” which had previously announced an August 5 closing date will end their run on July 8. Based on a list on NewYorkTheatreGuide.com, several shows will play their final performances before the end of the summer including “The Columnist” on July 8, “A Streetcar Named Desire” on July 22, “Harvey” on August 5, and “Sister Act” on August 26. Recently closed productions are “Godspell,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert,” and “The Lyons.”
According to Pekoe, newer titles like “Newsies,” “Once,” and “Harvey” have seen such great success with ticket sales because of the buzz surrounding the productions in addition to their Tony Award wins and nominations — “many ticket buyers have already seen ‘Memphis’ and even more people have performed in a local production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,'” Pekoe told TicketNews.