The Cotton Club-style revue, inspired by Duke Ellington’s years at the legendary uptown venue and featuring a rotating roster of guest stars, was one of the best-reviewed tuners of the 2013-14 season and was nominated for seven Tonys, winning one for Warren Carlyle’s choreography. But despite the glowing reviews, the production has logged middling box office since it opened in the fall.
Although producers had lined up a trio of big names to pump up business this summer — including Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole and current guest star Patti LaBelle — the attention attracted with that casting didn’t prove enough to sustain the musical.
The $7 million tuner will shutter at a loss, before Knight or Cole get a chance to step in for their own stints in the tuner.
The season’s big Tony winner, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” was another well-received fall opener that has had trouble attracting hit-level sales. But the awards love showered on that show, which emerged on top in the Tony race, is expected to fuel B.O enough to prolong its life expectancy considerably.