Producers cite fundraising troubles
The incoming Broadway revival of “Funny Girl” has dropped out of the 2011-12 Broadway season, with producers indefinitely postponing the project, citing fund-raising difficulties. But the Imperial Theater won’t sit empty this spring: Gershwin redux “Nice Work If You Can Get It” has staked out the venue previously promised to “Funny Girl.”
“Given the current economic climate, many Broadway producing investors have found it impossible to maintain their standard level of financial commitment,” said producer Bob Boyett of the $12 million production, which had moved so far along that it had lined up a theater, dates, an out-of-town tryout at L.A.’s Ahmanson Theater, a creative team led by helmer Bartlett Sher and two attention-getting stars, Lauren Ambrose and Bobby Cannavale.
Although producers attributed the money-raising troubles to the economy, it’s not at all clear the financial climate has proven unduly hostile for other productions looking to come into Gotham. Theater owners have lately faced a surfeit of Rialto-targeted shows, many of which have locked in funding.
One of the more prominent productions circling for a landing had been “Nice Work,” ready to go with a production that will topline Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara. Main Stem potential is also seen for Disney Theatrical outing “Newsies” and the buzzed-about musical adaptation of “Once,” opening Off Broadway later this fall.
It’s rare but not unheard of for producers to pull the plug on a Rialto project that’s as far along as “Funny Girl” was. “Nice Work,” in fact, had originally lined up a 2008 Boston tryout starring Harry Connick Jr., but the show was postponed when producers were unable to come to a mutually satisfactory deal.
Even with “Funny Girl” exiting, the 2011-12 season remains top-heavy with musical revivals, including “Follies,” “Godspell” and upcoming stagings of “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” “Porgy and Bess” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”