B’Way’s ‘Dead’ show will be buried April 16

Musical ends at the Belasco after 112 regular perfs

Producers Gregory Mosher and Arielle Tepper have announced that “James Joyce’s The Dead,” now playing at the Belasco Theater, will close April 16.

Musical, by book writer-lyricist Richard Nelson and composer-lyricist Shaun Davey, played 67 performances at Playwrights Horizons, where the tuner had its world premiere on Oct. 28, 1999. In December it transferred to Broadway, where it played 32 previews. It opened Jan. 11, starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown, who was later replaced by Faith Prince. It will have played 112 regular performances. The producers originally announced a limited Broadway engagement to end March 12, but later extended the run indefinitely.

‘Dead’ slowly dropped

“The Dead” had a gross potential of $451,168 at the Belasco, and came closest to realizing that B.O. during the week of Feb. 14-20, when the show grossed $315,500. However, the box office had declined every succeeding week, falling a precipitous $72,811 for March 20-26.

“It was like a summer squall,” said Mosher. “We were fine March 12, and the projections for May are very good. But we are looking at a narrow, deep chasm until then.”

Tour in question

Mosher said they had been casting a national tour for the show. “I don’t know what that means now. Five days ago, we were casting,” he said. “We’ve got to regroup on a number of fronts.” The producer said that over a dozen not-for-profit theaters around the country wish to add “The Dead” to their upcoming seasons.

With Tony nominations due in early May, a mid-April closing is unusual for a show such as “The Dead,” which is considered a strong contender for a number of theater kudos. This week it received the Lucille Lortel Award for Off Broadway’s best musical of the 1999-2000 season.

“This is the best-reviewed show I’ve ever been involved with,” said Mosher. “It is startling to us. We just did not have enough tickets sold in advance to last until May.”

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