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‘Chaperone’ to close on Dec. 30

Broadway musical ends run

The Broadway incarnation of “The Drowsy Chaperone” goes to sleep at the end of the year, shuttering Dec. 30 after a 21-month run.

Tuner was a last-minute entry in the 2005-06 Broadway season and went on to become a surprise hit, winning five Tonys and recouping its $8 million investment about eight months after it began previews in April 2006.

Earlier this year, however, its box office dropped more suddenly than most observers expected. Last week the musical — playing in the Marquis Theater, one of the largest Rialto houses — logged sales of $336,058 and played to 39% capacity.

Musical comedy, about a reclusive man who cheers himself up by listening to the cast recording of a fictional 1920s tuner, has music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and book by Bob Martin (who originated the central role of Man in Chair) and Don McKellar.

Show began life at the Toronto Fringe Fest in 1999. Current production, helmed by Casey Nicholaw, preemed at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theater in 2005 before it made the jump to Broadway. Tuner has so far grossed about $62.5 million during its time in Gotham.

London engagement of “Drowsy” proved a disappointment when it closed in August after a run of less than three months. But in the U.S. the show has a life ahead on the road, with a North American tour that bowed in Toronto and is set to hit more than 30 cities including Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.

Rialto incarnation currently stars Bob Saget as Man in Chair. Cast also includes Cindy Williams who signed on Dec. 11.

Broadway-bound musical “Cry-Baby,” which recently wrapped a tryout at the La Jolla Playhouse, is expected to play the Marquis in the spring.

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