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‘Life’ to ebb on Sunday

Berlind: 'We couldn't make it work'

It’s the end of “The Life” as we know it. “The Life,” at least in New York, is shuttering on Sunday. It’s an ironic but fitting date for the finale — it coincides with the Tony Awards — since insiders say “The Life” was undone by not winning last year’s trophy for best mnusical.

“It was a production we loved a lot, and gave it every opportunity to find its audience, but we couldn’t make it work,” said Roger Berlind, one of the tuner’s producers.

Beyond its failure to win the Tony for musical, — it did win actor and actress honors, and was nominated in 12 other categories — the other millstone dragging down the tuner was it’s tiny playhouse.

Playing at Shubert-owned Ethel Barrymore Theater, it found itself with 1,096 seats — largest of Broadway’s playhouses, but the smallest of music houses.

But production insiders defend the decision to produce the tuner there. With no other venues available at the time, and in order to keep it’s director, Michael Blakemore, it had to run for an April opening in 1997 at the Barrymore. The result was a musical unable to attract a sizable audience during the week, and one in too small a theater to capitalize on the weekend crush.

Meanwhile, negotiations have started to secure a London venue for “Life,” where most of the New York cast will likely be transplanted, according to Berlind. It would likely run in the West End by the start of next year.

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