Tours make more Broadway stops
The Broadway return of “Jekyll and Hyde” has landed the Richard Rodgers Theater for its Broadway return, a run that is the latest example of the increasing frequency with which the Main Stem figures into the lifespan of a national touring production.
The Frank Wildhorn tuner, toplined by Constantine Maroulis as the show’s split-personality protag, arrives on the Rialto as the final stop of a 25-week national tour. The current Rialto stint of tuner “Bring It On” also was the final leg of a tour, and earlier this summer, the road production of “Fela!” played a Broadway engagement as well.
The original production of “Jekyll and Hyde,” which ran on Broadway for 3 1/2 years, was also preceded by a tour that kicked off in 1997. But this season the phenomenon is unusually frequent thanks in part to the increasing willingness of producers to depart from more traditional models.
This season’s runs of “Fela!” and “Bring It On” were both initially announced for limited summertime stints filling Broadway theaters that, thanks to a couple of unanticipated closings, would otherwise have gone empty during the hot-weather weeks when tourist auds flood New York. (“Bring It On,” buoyed by strong response, has since extended through the end of the year.)
As with the 2011 return run of “Hair,” which was a stop on that show’s national tour, both “Fela!” and “Bring It On” reflect legiters’ growing interest in exploring seasonal stints. The year-end holidays also have seen a growing number of limited runs in recent years, with two dueling yuletide shows, “A Christmas Story” and “Elf,” competing this year for Broadway auds.
Given their brevity, such holiday outings can generally be profitable only when producers work in a model that incorporates revenue from return New York runs (as with “Elf,” back on the Rialto following its 2010 preem) as well as from touring and sit-down productions in other markets.
“Bring It On” also works in this model, with the show hedging its Broadway bet by having first capitalized on the national appeal of the cheerleading-franchise title. The same is true for “Jekyll and Hyde,” which in its prior version proved the most successful New York outing so far for a composer whose work seems to resonate more with auds outside of Gotham rather than with those in it.
The new incarnation of “Jekyll and Hyde” will open on Broadway in April, with an exact date to be announced.