Broadway’s King Lear has not received the positive attention it has hoped, so it will close a month early.
The revival play, produced by Scott Rudin, opened on February 28 at the Cort Theater and was scheduled to run until July 7. However, the show, which was originally dubbed as one of the most highly-anticipated plays of the season, did not live up to par. According to The New York Times, the Broadway League said the play brought in $286,108 at the box office during the week ending June 2, which is only 32 percent of its potential. Additionally, the audience has been dwindling over the past few weeks; while it originally brought in about 80 percent of the theater’s capacity, last week’s crowd was only at 60 percent capacity.
Critics didn’t particularly jump to praise the show either, as the Times‘ Ben Brantley called it a “glittery, haphazard production.” The Washington Post‘s Peter Marks similarly called the production “confoundingly muddled,” and New York Magazine‘s Sara Holdren went even further to call it a “hot, heavy mess.”
It didn’t seem to have entirely bad reviews, as Brantley noted that Glenda Jackson offered a “powerful and deeply perceptive performance” in the lead role, however, the Tony Award-winning actress was snubbed at the Tonys, along with the play itself. The Times also points out that while the play cost up to $4.9 million to capitalize, it has not recouped the costs.
This was at least the 20th production of the Shakespeare tragedy, which was last seen on Broadway in 2004 with Christopher Plummer. Jackson picked up the role this year after her portrayal in the 2016 production of the play at London’s The Old Vic.