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B’way Shutters In Winter’s Chill Grasp

“Shogun, The Musical” has become “Shogun, The $6.9 Million Flop.” The legit version of James Clavell’s novel is the latest victim of chilling mid-winter Broadway boxoffice.

The musical, which opened Nov. 20, was to close Jan. 20, having completed only 18 previews and 72 performances. The show will not recoup its considerable investment.

“Shogun” producers Clavell, Joseph Harris and Haruki Kadowaka announced the closing Jan. 15 after a particularly dismal week, with attendance at the Marquis Theater only slightly more than 40% of capacity. Receipts for the week ended Jan. 13 were a scant $162,174 of a possible $629,861.

At the Marquis, “Shogun” replaced the ill-fated “Annie 2,” which shut down last spring in D.C. Sole hit so far for the new theater was its debut show, “Me And My Girl,” which opened in August ’86 and ran for more than three years.

The plummeting post-holiday Broadway attendance also hastened the “provisional” closing notice of “Black And Blue.” The show’s publicist said Wednesday that the musical will remain open on a week-to-week basis, with producers hoping to keep the production running until the completion of a video shoot in late February.

The “Black And Blue” video, per the publicist, would not be released until after any out-of-town runs. Producer Mel Howard said even the Broadway run could last beyond February if legit business picks up.

“Peter Pan,” starring Cathy Rigby, also will close Jan. 20, the six-week limited run at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater having come to an end. The musical revival will resume its road tour after doing tidy business in New York.

The latest depletions of the Broadway roster come only two weeks after the exodus of David Merrick’s “Oh, Kay!” and the Linda Lavin-starrer “Gypsy.” Unlike “Oh, Kay!” and “Shogun,” “Gypsy” had a decent 476-performance run.

“Black And Blue” opened at the Minskoff Theater Jan. 26,1989, and enjoyed solid tourist biz before running out of steam. Receipts for the week ended Jan. 13 were only $160,917 of a possible $729,820. The show has recouped about half of its $5.2 million capitalization, according to producer Mel Howard. “We expect to recoup the other half on the road.”

Other productions with previously announced closings are the plays “A Few Good Men” (closing Jan. 26) and “The Piano Lesson” (Jan. 27).

Meanwhile, the Broadway opening of “La Bete” has been reslated for Feb. 10 (from Jan. 31, with previews still set to begin Jan. 29). The additional time is being used for last-minute rehearsals necessitated when Tom McGowan took over the lead from Ron Silver during previews in Boston.

This year’s typical post-holiday boxoffice drop seems particularly severe, with some observers pointing to Saddam Hussein as a culprit. “People are fixated on sitting home and watching CNN and ‘Nightline,'” says one legit producer.

Off-Broadway, the critically lauded but financially strapped “Falsettoland” will close Jan. 20 after 145 performances and four previews at the Lucille Lortel Theater. Despite good press after its Sept. 16 opening, the musical failed to recoup its investment, according to general manager Steven Suskin. “Falsettoland” producers declined to disclose figures.

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