Broadway’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, director Arin Arbus revival of the Terrence McNally play starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon, will close a month earlier than expected. With box office on a downward slope in recent weeks, the production will play its final performance on Sunday, July 28 at the Broadhurst Theatre.
The play, generally well received by critics, had been set to close Aug. 25. Box office has been disappointing, to put it mildly. Grosses for last week fell to $231,745, 20% of a potential $1.1 million. Attendance of 4,597 was 49% of capacity.
The early closing was announced today by producers Hunter Arnold, Debbie Bisno and Tom Kirdahy.
The $4.1M revival began previews May 4 and opened May 30 – too late to qualify for the 2019 Tony Awards or benefit from potential nominations (though McNally was honored with a Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre honor, and both McDonald and Shannon seem likely early contenders for next year).
The production, notable for being Broadway’s first to employ an “intimacy director” (Claire Warden) to assist with the graphic depiction of sex and nudity, is officially the first production of Broadway’s 2019-2020 season.
In a joint statement, the producers said, “We are all very proud of the work that Audra, Michael, Arin, Terrence, Claire and the rest of the company have done to bring this new Broadway production to life. There is so much for us to celebrate: Arin’s Broadway debut, Terrence’s 80th birthday this year – including a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award!, and Claire’s work as the first intimacy director on Broadway.”
The statement continued: “What Audra and Michael do on stage eight shows a week in this timely and relevant story of human connection is nothing short of remarkable; their performances are certainly worthy of the extraordinary enthusiasm with which audiences greet them every night – from their first entrance right through to curtain call.”
Upon closing, the production will have played 26 previews and 70 regular performances.
Frankie and Johnny is the latest in a raft of summer closings. Since the June 9 Tonys, shows that have closed earlier than expected include Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus and Hillary and Clinton. Be More Chill and The Prom close Aug. 11, and Pretty Woman, King Kong and The Cher Show are bowing out Aug. 18.