Usually the closing notices go up after the Tony nominations are announced. But poor business and no prospects of improvement have brought a quick end to The Heidi Chronicles, a revival of the Wendy Wasserstein Pulitzer Prize winner that was generally acclaimed by the critics but met with indifference by ticket buyers. The New York Times reported the closing on Tuesday night shortly after lead producer Jeffrey Richards told the cast. Richards declined Deadline’s request for a comment on Wednesday morning.
“It was a wonderful production that honored Wendy’s play and even though it only played a few months on Broadway, it introduced thousands of young people to her work and certainly upheld her reputation as a distinctive and pioneering voice in the American theater,” André Bishop told Deadline on Wednesday morning. The producing artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, Bishop was a close friend of the playwright, a longtime producer of her work and is co-executor of her estate. Wasserstein died in 2006. “My gratitude to the cast and to the committed and fervent producers is boundless,” Bishop added.
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The revival was staged by Pam MacKinnon, her second show of the season after the Glenn Close and John Lithgow-led revival of Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. Mad Men star Moss plays the title role of an art historian dedicated to giving neglected women artists their due, and her struggles to find love and friendship during the most tumultuous years of second-wave feminism. Jason Biggs (Orange Is The New Black) plays the married love of her life and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder) plays her best friend.
The show began previews February 23 at the Shubert-owned Music Box Theatre and opened on March 19. Last week, it took in $312K at the box office, 35% of its gross potential, and filled half the seats in the house.
Discussing her decision to take on the revival, Moss told Deadline in February that The Heidi Chronicles still had much to say to women today.
“A woman is asked to define herself over and over,” she told me. “She is asked to put a label on herself. Are you a feminist? Are you a career woman? Are you a wife or a girlfriend? Are you a mother? Are you a pacifist? Are you a superwoman? Heidi, just sort of by accident, sometimes refuses to. And it lands her in this place in that second act of being stranded and a feeling like she didn’t make the choices that everyone else seemed to make so easily.”
Those choices stirred much debate when The Heidi Chronicles opened in 1988 at Playwrights Horizon before moving to Broadway. Perhaps it will again, in another time.
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