NEW YORK — Lincoln Center Theater has posted a Sept. 1 closing notice for “Contact.”
The new musical by director-choreographer Susan Stroman and book writer John Weidman will have played a total of 1,174 performances at the Vivian Beaumont and Mitzi Newhouse theaters, making it the longest-running show in the 17-year history of the LCT.
Originally billed as a “dance play,” “Contact” uses tapes of old standards rather than an original score in a unique presentation of performers who speak and/or dance but do not sing. Shortly after “Contact” opened at the Tony-eligible Beaumont on March 30, 2000, some members of the press and theater community voiced the opinion that the show was not a musical and therefore ineligible to be nominated in that category for a Tony.
Regardless of the controversy, “Contact” went on to take the musical Tony that spring, beating out such competition as “James Joyce’s The Dead,” “Swing!” and “The Wild Party.” Shortly before “Contact” took the honor, the Tony administrative committee created a new category, special event, which was implemented for shows opening during the following season.
Best score in 2000 went to Elton John and Tim Rice for “Aida,” which was overlooked in the best musical category by the Tony nominating committee. Legit trivia worth remembering this awards weekend: Despite its major Tony snub, the Disney tuner will be the only production to preem during the 1999-2000 season to remain open after Labor Day 2002. Last week’s receipts for “Aida” stood at a very healthy $690,819, making it the seventh highest-grossing show on Broadway.
As for the Beaumont, LCT will temporarily close the 1,067-seat venue this fall for renovations of the lobby and backstage area. A production to be announced will reopen the theater in early 2003.
In October, the new musical “A Man of No Importance,” based on the 1994 Albert Finney film, will open at the smaller Mitzi Newhouse. Roger Rees and Faith Prince have been announced to co-star in the tuner, by Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.