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‘Johnson’ packs up, hits the road

Ventriloquist show posts closing notice

This article was updated on Monday, Nov. 27, 2006.

The Broadway production of “Jay Johnson: The Two and Only” closed Sunday Nov. 25 while at the same time finalizing plans for a national tour.

Starring ventriloquist Johnson, best known for ABC’s popular late-’70s comedy “Soap,” and his trunk full of puppet sidekicks, the show opened Sept. 28 at the Helen Hayes Theater. But despite warm notices and wide availability of discount offers, it has struggled to find an audience. Average attendance in recent weeks has been below 30% capacity.

To celebrate the birthday of Bob, Johnson’s puppet companion from “Soap,” producers last week introduced a special offer of 222 tickets at just $2 each.

Previously seen at Off Broadway’s Atlantic Theater and at the Brentwood Theater in Los Angeles, “The Two and Only” will launch its national tour in spring at the Majestic Theater in Johnson’s hometown, Dallas. That engagement comes under the auspices of Dallas Summer Musicals.

The closing of Johnson’s show creates a vacancy at the 590-seat Helen Hayes, the smallest of the Broadway houses and a desirable Rialto venue for modestly scaled plays.

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