Broadway is checkered with marquees boasting of shows long gone, soon to come or never to arrive. Then there is the St. James, where the practice of turning a whole theater into a billboard recently began with ‘” Tommy” (yellow, red and black), picked up with “Grease!” (bubblegum pink) and reverted back to the St. James, where the popular artist LeRoy Neiman had turned the entire facade into a poster featuring star Tommy Tune in three different poses, along with costar Darcie Roberts, and jauntily emblazoned with the name of the theater’s new tenant, “Busker Alley.”
“Busker Alley” never made it to the St. James, leaving producers Barry and Fran Weissler, and Jujamcyn Theaters, with perhaps the ultimate donation to Joe Allen’s famed wall of flops and no-shows. Except that this is the whole wall. What do you do with a wall painted by a famous artist for a show that never made it into town?
“Oh, my, what are we going to do?” wondered Fran Weissler. “I don’t think anybody’s actually washing it off or said, ‘By the way, we’re erasing the Neiman.’”
Well, not yet, anyway. Perhaps looking after his own prospective losses on the aborted show, Jujamcyn president Rocco Landesman asked, “It’s art, it’s a Neiman – can we sell it?”