‘Car Man’ brakes

Post-attack climate puts kibosh on 3 dates

“The Car Man” tour is about to run out of gas.

Wrapping up a limited nine-week run at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theater, Matthew Bourne’s retooling of Bizet’s “Carmen” will play its final North American performance at UC Berkeley on Nov. 3. It opens there Tuesday.

Weak ticket sales in the wake of the terrorist attacks have been cited for the decision.

Bourne’s full-evening dance piece had been scheduled to follow the California dates with brief runs at Chi’s Auditorium Theater (Nov. 14-18), Toronto’s Hummingbird Centre (Nov. 21-25) and Boston’s Shubert Theater (Nov. 23-Dec. 9). Those engagements have been dropped.

In a joint statement, the three theaters announced, “It is with reluctance and great regret that we announce the cancellation of this spectacular show. We share in the disappoint that we know our audiences will feel because this outstanding production will not visit our cities, but we encourage people to continue their support of the arts in these difficult times.”

“The Car Man” will air on Trio, the new USA cable network, Nov. 18. The taped performance is from the original London production.

Show had its North American debut at St. Paul, Minn.’s Ordway Center this summer. It was to have opened at the Ahmanson on Sept. 12. That performance was canceled after the terrorist attacks, with the first perf being pushed back one day. The show closes in Los Angeles on Sunday as originally scheduled.

Game performer

Tony Sherwood, a spokesperson for the Ahmanson, said the show’s upbeat reviews and ticket sales were in line with Bourne’s previous offerings there, “Swan Lake” and “Cinderella,” which had their North American debuts at the theater.

“It did steady business throughout the run,” said Sherwood. “We got lucky with it, and considering the problems (of Sept. 11), the show did very well here.”

Unlike the Ahmanson engagement, “The Car Man” was not part of a subscription series at the other three theaters. “They were also short runs,” said Sherwood, “which do not allow for word of mouth.”

“The Car Man” is produced by Katharine Dore for Adventures in Motion Pictures and Center Theater Group/Ahmanson Theater. The production had been mentioned as a possible Broadway entry for the currently free-floating spring season.

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