Musical to end two-year L.A. run in 2009

Legit juggernaut “Wicked” flies out of Hollywood on Jan. 11, when the tuner will close at the Pantages Theater after a run of almost two years.

Producers say they’re closing the show in order to free up the 2,700-seat Pantages, whose Broadway L.A. subscription season has been displaced by “Wicked” since it began perfs there in February 2007.

Musical’s performance at the box office hasn’t slowed. For the past several frames, weekly receipts have hovered in the $1.3 million-$1.5 million range, and its $1.95 million sesh over the holidays broke the weekly B.O. record for L.A. legit.

The Hollywood production has so far grossed more than $90 million. Closing would steer biz to the show’s other outposts, including the original 2003 Broadway staging, a long-running Chicago incarnation and a national tour. “Wicked” also has productions in London, Tokyo, Stuttgart and Melbourne.

Few Broadway shows have established successful long runs in L.A. “The Phantom of the Opera” ran at the Ahmanson for more than four years beginning in 1989, and “The Lion King” played the Pantages for more than two years starting in 2000. More recently, “The Producers” played nine months, starting in May 2003.

“Wicked,” a sympathetic take on the Wicked Witch of the West, has consistently been the top earner on the Rialto since early in its run, with cumulative receipts about to surpass $300 million. Produced by Marc Platt and David Stone, among others, the tuner has a score by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman based on the novel by Gregory Maguire.

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