I had heard rumors today that this announcement would be coming, but now it's official. The new Broadway musical The Story of My Life will close tomorrow, after five regular performances and 18 previews. The mixed-to-negative reviews apparently did nothing to improve attendance, which was hovering at about 40% during previews.
It's really a shame, because the show had much to recommend it. When I saw The Story of My Life at the Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theater, I found Brian Hill's book to be riddled with clichés, but I thought that Neil Bartram's score was strong. Very strong, in fact, something that none of the reviews really gave the show credit for. In my review, I pointed out the merits of the show, including two terrific performances by Malcolm Gets and Will Chase, but that I thought New York audiences and critics would eat the show alive.
Neil Bartram sent me an E-mail, thanking me for my kind words, but taking me to task for digging the show's grave prematurely. I wrote back, emphasizing that I was really quite impressed by his score, and that truly hoped that I was wrong, and that New York would embrace this earnest but sweet show. But something about the nature of the show, as well as the current economic climate, made it very hard for me to back off on my dire prediction.
Unfortunately, I proved to be right, and I take absolutely no pleasure in that fact. I can only hope that Bartram's wonderful score receives a recording, because this is really the sort of show that could catch on in regional productions. (Because no recording, no afterlife. That's just the way it works, folks.) The cast and production requirements are extremely modest (two actors, one set), and the sentiment of the show would work much better outside the cynical, critical, unforgiving Manhattan environment. Even if it doesn't, I greatly look forward to the future work of the very talented and promising team of Bartram and Hill.