UPDATE, 5 PM: Adds more information below.
The Jason Robert Brown and Andrew Bergman musical transferred to Broadway in November on the wings of great reviews and a leading performance by Tony Danza that drew praise for its Rat Pack suavity. But the happily retro, unpolitically-correct show, based on Bergman’s 1992 Castle Rock comedy, stubbornly refused to ignite with audiences and lost hundreds of thousands dollars every week it remained open. On Tuesday evening, the producers finally threw in the towel, announcing the show will close after the matinee on Sunday, April 5.
Danza re-created the James Caan film role of a Vegas card sharp who puts the moves on the fiancée (Brynn O’Malley) of a Brooklyn schnook charmingly played by Rob McClure. Moving from the gambling capital to Hawaii and back, and featuring a purposely cheesy nightclub-style entertainments and a squadron of parachuting Elvis impersonators, the show worked hard at its humor — inevitably too much so. While New York’s first-line critics gave it a thumbs up at its Paper Mill Playhouse tryout in New Jersey, and mostly repeated themselves when it officially opened in January, it never became the kind of hit that left ticketbuyers running to their friends with news that they had to see it. In fact, even with Danza giving his all by personally pitching the musical to Times Square crowds, audiences generally filled only about one-third of the seats at the Nederlander Theatre. There weren’t all that many ticketbuyers coming out at all, and most of them had bought highly discounted seats.
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With an estimated capitalization of $9 million and further losses exceeding $100,000 almost every week since previews began, Honeymoon in Vegas joins a growing list of multi-million-dollar flops this season that includes Sting’s The Last Ship ($15 million), Side Show ($12 million) and Holler If Ya Hear me ($10 million). It’s also the fourth successive flop for Brown, a gifted composer-lyricist who can’t catch a break on the Street, after The Bridges Of Madison County, 13 and Parade.
Vegas is produced on Broadway by Dena Hammerstein, Roy Gabay, Rich Entertainment Group, Dan Farah, Metro Card, King’s Leaves, Dan Frishwasser, Leslie Greif / Thom Beers, Susan Dietz & Lenny Beer, Howard Hoffman / Anna Czekaj, Important Musicals, Sharon Karmazin, L.G. Scott, and Martin Markinson.
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