This past Broadway season was unusual in at least one respect: there wasn't a flurry of closing notices immediately following the Tony Awards, at least with respect to musicals. Which was pretty surprising considering the middling quality of the new-musical offerings this year, as well as the disappointing sales most of those shows have been experiencing.
But the first shoe has officially dropped. The Tony-less Come Fly Away will end its run at the Marquis Theater on September 5th. At that time the show will have played 187 performances and 26 previews.
Regular readers may recall that I virtually loathed the Come Fly Away when I saw it in March. (Read my review here.) I found the show beyond tedious, and not because it was a jukebox musical, nor because there was not one word spoken throughout the show. (Apart from some Spanish extemporizing from one of the dancers.)
I just didn't see any differentiation among the faceless dancers on stage, which made it hard for me to care about what happened to them on the seemingly endless night at a dance club that the show depicts. I'm normally a huge modern-dance enthusiast, and I've enjoyed much of Twyla Tharp's work in the past, but here even her energetic eclecticism wasn't doing it for me. Perhaps if I were a bigger fan of Frank Sinatra and his music, I might have been more predisposed to enjoying the proceedings, but in truth I really shouldn't need to be a fan to appreciate a well-crafted show. And, in my most humble opinion, Come Fly Away was anything but.
The closing notices for Come Fly Away promise (as these notices always do) that the show will have a national tour, which I suppose could actually materialize given the respective fan bases for Sinatra and, to a far lesser extent, Twyla Tharp. Lately, we've been witnessing a succession of tours from shows that didn't succeed on Broadway, but have enough of a built-in brand to fill touring houses, at least for a week or two. Young Frankenstein and Shrek are currently making their mediocre way across the country, and word has started to leak out about casting for a 9 to 5 tour.
Will these tours tip the financial scales for these shows toward profitability? For Young Frankenstein and Shrek, it's highly doubtful, given the profuse amounts of money the producers poured into the them. For 9 to 5 and Come Fly Away, finishing in the black may be slightly more attainable, but certainly not a guarantee.