Today's New York Post ran a pointlessly snarky column by Michael Riedel announcing the imminent closure of the Broadway musical 9 to 5, probably around Labor Day. Of course, this was before the producers had a chance to break the news to the cast before today's matinee, but that didn't seem to matter to Miss Riedel.
Then, later in the day, came the official announcement, which ran on Playbill.com and other online sites, that 9 to 5 would indeed be closing, specifically on September 6th. At that time, the show will have played 148 performances and 24 previews, which makes it likely that the producers will have lost their entire investment, which is rumored to have been about $14 million.
I must admit that it's a bit two-faced of me to admonish La Riedel for dumping on 9 to 5. For weeks, as I've pored through the Broadway grosses, I've been predicting in my Twitter updates that the show would be shuttering soon. After all, 9 to 5 has been playing to about 70% capacity with and average ticket of around $70. And this is during the summer, when New York is teeming with pleasure-seeking tourists. Plus, 9 to 5 has been grossing around $700,000 a week at a time when no fewer than ten Broadway productions are bringing in $1-million plus. And even if $700k is enough to meet the show's weekly nut, that amount would likely plummet come fall, much like what happened to Legally Blonde last year, precipitating the show's October 2008 demise.
Now, I didn't much care for 9 to 5 when I saw it in April. (Read my review.) I found it to be a middling entry in the movies-into-musicals genre, ranking somewhere below Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Wedding Singer. But I know a number of people who enjoyed 9 to 5, including my esteemed blogger buddies Esther and Steve. (Click on their names for their respective takes on 9 to 5.) And there was much to appreciate in the show's central trio of performers: Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block, and Megan Hilty. So I take no great pleasure in seeing 9 to 5 close, although I genuinely wish that the show had been better.
As always, with the closure announcement for 9 to 5, came word that the show will launch a tour. I definitely see this happening; the movie has a sufficient fan base that the musical version will likely attract decent crowds in the provinces, although I can't really seeing it making more than one nationwide sweep. Those who aren't able to catch the show before it closes, or won't get to see the tour, will have to make do with the 9 to 5 cast recording, which came out yesterday. I haven't received my copy yet, but I'm hoping the Dolly Parton songs hold up better than they did in the theater. After all, she's the person who turned a so-so song ("I Will Always Love You") from a pretty bad movie ("The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas") into a veritable goldmine. The self-described "Backwoods Barbie" will rise again.