You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Boheme’ coughs last

Expensive production to close after 29 weeks

NEW YORK — In another example of Tony fallout, Baz Luhrmann’s production of “La Boheme” will close June 29. The Puccini war-horse about bohemian lovers in Paris had been nominated in the musical revival category but lost to “Nine.”

The Broadway “Boheme” enjoyed huge pre-opening press, a star-studded preem and rave reviews when it opened in December.

It came out of the B.O. shoot at around $1 million a week during the Christmas and New Year’s sessions but quickly tapered off to levels under its $600,000 break-even.

In early April, Luhrmann told Daily Variety, “We have the groovy audience, but we don’t yet have the coach audience.”

A musical like “Rent” or “Cabaret” is considered a box office success at half the receipts it takes to keep “Boheme” running. But again, “Boheme” is an opera, with three rotating casts of singers. Also, Luhrmann and his wife, designer Catherine Martin, did not stint when it came to delivering an opulent eye-popping production that won her a Tony for scenic design.

“Strangely enough, everything is human in our show,” Luhrmann said, explaining the show’s high running costs. “We talked about putting a few engines on some of those trucks and knocking $200,000 off the show.” He also “indulgently insisted” on 29 musicians in the pit, even though the Broadway Theater required he use only 26. Under the new musicians contract, the venue has a minimum of 19. Ironically, the musicians strike, fought over the issue of those minimums, contributed to the show’s B.O. decline.

When it leaves Broadway, “Boheme” will have played 29 weeks, 12 previews and 228 regular perfs. It is expected to return $2.5 million on its $8.5 million capitalization.

The show in many ways replicates the fate of Broadway’s previous attempt at so-called high culture. Matthew Bourne’s ballet “Swan Lake” opened well in October 1998 with lots of media hoopla and a nice advance. Subsequent ticket sales, however, did not warrant an extension beyond the show’s limited engagement of 12 weeks.

More Scene

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content