Richard Maltby Jr.'s musical opened Thursday
“The Story of My Life” has come to an end in its infancy.
Producers confirmed Saturday that the Sunday matinee would be the final performance for the intimate two-character musical, which opened Thursday at Broadway’s Booth Theater.
Despite strong support from reviewers at Associated Press and local cable news outlet NY1, critical response was mainly cool toward the show, the Broadway debut for composer-lyricist Neil Bartram and book writer Brian Hill. Directed by Richard Maltby Jr. (a Tony winner in 1978 for “Ain’t Misbehavin’”), the musical starred Will Chase as a successful author struggling to pen a eulogy for his lifelong friend, played by Malcolm Gets, while reflecting on where the relationship fell apart.
Chase Mishkin led a producing team that includes Jack M. Dalgleish, Bud Martin and Carole L. Haber, in association with Chunsoo Shin.
Business during the first two weeks of previews was dismal, with the show playing to 33% and 42% capacity, respectively; total grosses were $180,551.The show’s swift downward trajectory mirrors that of this season’s revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo,” which opened to blistering reviews and poor advance sales, closing Nov. 24 after eight regular performances.
Other musicals this season have failed to gain traction on Broadway, including “[title of show],” which closed after 102 perfs; “A Tale of Two Cities,” which lasted just 60 perfs; and “13,” which shuttered after 105. “The Story of My Life” closes following 18 previews and 5 regular performances, making it the swiftest crash-and-burn for a Broadway show since coming-of-age tuner “Glory Days,” which opened and closed the same night last May.
While the dire economy no doubt contributed to the abridged life of “Story” — which premiered at Toronto’s Canadian Stage Company in 2006 and underwent further development in a Goodspeed Musicals staging last year — the short-lived venture more significantly underlines the need for solid material and a strong marketing hook in order for Broadway musicals to survive.