‘Steel Pier’ dismantling

NEW YORK — “Steel Pier,” the $7.5 million musical snubbed by Tony voters and drowned at the box office by “Titanic,” will close June 28, making it the first of the spring’s big Broadway tuners to flop.

“We were undone by the failure to win a single Tony Award despite 11 nominations,” producer Roger Berlind said. Even with lackluster business and mixed reviews for the Broadway production, Berlind vowed to mount a national tour for the 1998-99 season.

The musical, with a score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, direction by Scott Ellis, book by David Thompson and choreography by Susan Stroman, struggled to find an audience when tepid reviews followed its April 24 opening. The 11 Tony nominations offered some hope, but the shutout spelled doom.

For the week ending June 15, receipts for “Steel Pier” dropped by about $43,000 from the previous week, hitting only $350,912 of a potential $669,064.

By comparison, “Titanic,” winner of five Tonys including best musical, grossed a big $616,801 of a potential $715,255. The receipts reflect a $28,000 increase over the previous week.

Although falling far short of “Titanic’s” high-water mark, both “The Life” and “Jekyll & Hyde” showed continued growth, with “The Life” up by about $22,000 for a $351,084 gross. “Jekyll” was up only slightly — $976 — to $391,901.

Another spring musical, “Dream,” a revue of Johnny Mercer tunes, is having a tougher time. Like “Steel Pier,” “Dream” declined at the box office last week by $12,000, grossing only $154,572 of a potential $497,200.

“Dream” will inaugurate a summer survival plan on June 18, slashing matinee prices to $40 for all seats. The tickets previously ranged from $45 to $60.

As for “Steel Pier,” when it closes at the Richard Rodgers Theater, it will have played 33 previews and 76 regular performances. Stars Gregory Harrison, Karen Ziemba, Daniel McDonald and Debra Monk will complete the run. Set in Depression-era Atlantic City, the musical tells the story of a group of competing marathon dancers and a ghostly visitor.

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