By now, you’ve heard that new Broadway revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever will be closing up shop on January 29th, 2012. Maybe you are wondering: Why is this show closing?
Here’s the top 5 reasons I think On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is closing:
5. Shortage of Tony Nominations Come May – I have a feeling that the Tony committee might be overlooking this revival come May. With other huge revivals like Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar I don’t think that On a Clear Day… stands a chance. You also have to throw in the newly refreshed and revamped Godspell and Porgy & Bess into the mix and both of those shows are still running. There might be a few nominations in the technical categories but not for Harry Connick, Jr. or anyone else, though we have heard so many positive things about Jessie Mueller’s Broadway debut. Actually, come to think of it, that’s the only positive thing that I’ve heard about this production. (Watch a video of Mueller performing below.) If the producers don’t think they are going to get any Tony buzz, then it’s a lot easier to close a show “early”.
4. Not Enough Starpower to fill the St. James Theatre – We can all agree that Harry Connick Jr. has been very successful on Broadway. Generally, the critics have loved him and his fans have flocked to the theatre to see him perform. The question is, can he fill a 1300-seat theatre eight times a week? That’s a total of 10,400 people a week, 41,600 (roughly) a month. That’s a crazy amount of people! I think he has enough draw and appeal to fill seats, just not enough seats in this case. (Check Playbill Vault for all of the stats.)
3. The St. James Theatre is the Wrong Theatre – The St. James Theatre was selling out when The Producers opened April 2001. Since then, it hasn’t really had a hit. Recently, Hair (the touring cast), American Idiot and Finian’s Rainbow have all struggled trying to fill seats. All three of those shows probably could have run for a longer time in a smaller theatre. (I’ve been saying all along that American Idiot should have never been produced at the St. James Theatre.) Though producers thought On a Clear Day, with a huge star, could sell seats, I think they continue to under think the power of “selling out” in a smaller theatre. (See The Book of Mormon as an example of pure genius when it comes to marketing and selling a show.) Overall, it has done fairly well, but an average of 75% attendance over the last two months just isn’t enough to keep the show afloat during the Broadway winter slump.
2. The Critics Hated It – There are some shows out there that the critics, regardless of what they say, can’t kill like The Addams Family. Other shows, the critics have an easier time swaying the public. I think On A Clear Day falls in the latter category. People knew that On a Clear Day… didn’t do very well the first time on Broadway (even though it ran for a year), so they were waiting to hear what the critics had to say. Ben Brantley of The New York Times said, “This wholesale reconception of a fluffy, muddled 1965 musical about reincarnation appears to have given everyone who appears in it — including its charismatic star, Harry Connick Jr. — a moaning case of the deep-dyed blues.” Ouch. Stage Grade gave the entire production a C- overall. The Broadway Critic Blog posted some of their thoughts back in previews, and anticipated the nasty reviews and early closing. With iffy reviews and okay word-of-mouth, the ticket sales just weren’t at the producer’s expectations.
1. Make Way for Leap of Faith – When a show is not living up to expectations and there’s another show in the pipeline, then producers jump on the chance to push another show into the theatre. This happened with On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Leap of Faith was eyeing Broadway for a fall 2012 opening, but when they heard that On a Clear Day… wasn’t doing as well as predicted, then they jumped on the chance to put Leap of Faith into the centrally-located St. James Theatre. They even announced it’s opening before On a Clear Day… posted its closing notice. (Tacky, if you ask me.) But let’s see if Leap of Faith can do what On a Clear Day… couldn’t.
Why do you think On a Clear Day You Can See Forever closed so soon?