Broadway’s ‘Love Letters’ to Close

Love Letters close Broadway

Broadway’s “Love Letters,” the revival of the A.R. Gurney play with a rotating cast of stars, gets returned to sender Sunday, with the show now set to close Dec. 14.

Broadway productions usually shutter with at least a couple of weeks notice. The quick closing in this case suggests that sales haven’t taken off for the production’s incoming cast, Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg. The current lineup of Candice Bergen and Alan Alda, who had helped the well-received but sales-challenged play uptick at the box office, had been due to exit Dec. 18, with Keach and Rigg stepping in Dec. 19.

After Keach and Rigg, Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen had been set to appear in the show through Feb. 15. Actors to have appeared previously in the play include Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy (pictured above) as well as Mia Farrow, who opened the show with Dennehy.

Despite generally upbeat reviews, “Love Letters” has had trouble building sales momentum, with weekly box office topping the $400,000 mark only a few times since it began previews in September. Among the challenges faced by the title was a highly competitive slate of starry plays — Hugh Jackman in “The River,” Bradley Cooper in “The Elephant Man,” Glenn Close et al. in “A Delicate Balance” and Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick (among others) in “It’s Only a Play — not to mention the difficulty of sustaining a head of steam with the cast changing regularly.

The production, presented as a staged reading with two actors at a table with scripts in hand, carries relatively low running costs for a Broadway play, but nonetheless the producing team faces a significant loss on the show. Some revenue can be recouped, however, with the brewing national tour, launching in fall 2015.

“Love Letters” is produced on Broadway by Nelle Nugent, Barbara Broccoli, Frederick Zollo, Olympus Theatricals, Michael G. Wilson, Lou Spisto, Colleen Camp, Postmark Entertainment Group, Judith Ann Abrams/Pat Flicker Addiss and Kenneth Teaton in association with Jon Bierman, Tim Degraye, Daniel Frishwasser, Elliott Masie, Mai Nguyen and Scott Lane/Joseph Sirola.

The next show to move into the Brook Atkinson Theater is “It Shoulda Been You,” the new musical directed by David Hyde Pierce and starring Tyne Daly. That production starts previews in March ahead of an April 14 opening.

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  1. ThomT says:

    This show is too small for Broadway, always was and always will be. The original staging (Colleen Dewhurst & Jason Robards Jr.) ran only 96 performance at the Edison theater with a seat count of 499 is less than half the 1068 of the Brooks Adkinson. And that was in 1989 with average ticket price of less than $25 during the entire run.

    Without a firm long-run commitment by two major A-list headlines there is no way “Love Letters” could sustain a lengthy, or even reasonable, Broadway run. The pre-opening announcement of the “gimmicky” revolving cast was a poor decision as people who might what to see the play would hold out for later dates because of a desire to see specific performers. You cannot build momentum (and word of mouth sales) with rapid cast changes in a two character play. A small (intimate) off-Broadway house with two respected thespians (A-list not required) would prove a better venue for this play. Yes ticket prices were ridiculously high but put Hugh Jackman and Meryl Streep on that stage and brokers would be getting $500+ per seat with nary a complaint. Someone failed to do their homework on this project and I think the selling point to backers was the frequent cast changes.

  2. cadavra says:

    No, the problem was that they charged full Broadway prices for a show you could literally stage in your living room. No sets, no costumes, no lighting cues–just two actors wearing their own clothes and reading their scripts. It’s a fine play, but certainly not worth $150.

    • Marianne says:

      I paid $200 to see Martin Sheen and Angelica Huston and am really disappointed in the cancellation. It did seem pricey for this type of show but I was willing to pay this for these two fine actors.

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