Motown The Musical, the tuner loosely based on label founder Berry Gordy’s memoir, will play its final performance at Broadway’s Lunt Fontanne Theatre on January 18, 2015, a few months shy of its second anniversary. The musical has yet to recoup its $18 million capitalization but will, according to a New York Times report, “in the next few weeks.” Show — featuring many of the hits from the Motown catalogue and impersonations of the Jackson Five, the Supremes, the Temptations, etc. — has been a popular, if not critical, success at the Nederlander-owned theater. It’s produced by Gordy with Kevin McCollum and music biz veteran Doug Morris.
Producers plan to use the physical production for a West End stand slated to begin next summer. The closing, meanwhile, opens up a key Nederlander property in time for next year’s Tony Awards. That part of the announcement has Finding Neverland written all over it, given producer Harvey Weinstein’s statement last week that his show, currently trying out in Cambridge, MA., will open in the spring in a Nederlander house.
Whether that means Motown was actually given the boot in light of softening box office and increased competition from incoming fall shows remains to be seen. The closing announcement for the show indicates a plan to return to Broadway in July 2016, in a scaled-down version at another Nederlander theater. This, too, remains to be seen.