Show set to close despite recent announcement
Rialto tuner “Grey Gardens” won’t make it beyond July 29 — despite a recent announcement stating otherwise.
Producers decided over the weekend to shutter the musical when co-star Mary Louise Wilson departs the show at the end of July. Late last week, producers announced Wilson’s final perf date but said that the production would continue with topliner Christine Ebersole.
“Gardens” got a decent boost at the B.O. since taking home three Tonys in June (both Wilson and Ebersole won thesp kudos, while William Ivey Long picked up a statue for costumes). But for the week ended Sunday, that momentum had begun to sag, with the weekly gross dropping $25,000 to $439,922 and audience attendance slipping to about 82% of capacity.
“Gardens” has regularly struggled to pull in crowds since it opened in November. Kelly Gonda, prexy of “Gardens” producing org East of Doheny, called the oncoming summer months an “uphill challenge.”
Based on the 1975 doc by Albert and David Maysles, “Grey Gardens” follows a mother-daughter pair of East Coast aristocrats, relatives of Jacqueline Ken-nedy, who ended up living in a squalid mansion in East Hampton. With music by Scott Frankel, lyrics by Michael Korie and book by Doug Wright, the show opened in spring 2006 at Playwrights Horizons, where it extended three times before it was picked up for a commercial Broadway transfer.
Although the musical itself got a mixed reception, Ebersole’s dual-role lead performance, playing the mother in one act and the daughter in the second, scored universal raves from the press. Wilson’s turn as the mother in the second half also garnered strong reviews.
When it closes, the show will have played 307 perfs and 33 previews. Production will not recoup its initial capitalization.
Producers of “Gardens” are planning a London incarnation for the 2007-08 season, with Ebersole in the title role.