NEW YORK — Broadway could be in for a sleepy summer.
Last week, the Broadway-bound revival of “Little Shop of Horrors,” scheduled to open Aug. 14 at the Virginia Theater, suddenly postponed its arrival.
A day later, the well-received, family-friendly tuner “A Year With Frog and Toad” announced an abrupt June 15 closing.
Following the June 8 Tony Awards, there is traditionally a further thinning of the Broadway roster.
“Horrors,” the tuner by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, finishes its tryout June 15 at the Actor’s Playhouse in Coral Gables, Fla.
Explaining the decision to cancel plans to bring the $8 million production straight to Broadway, the producers said in a statement, “In spite of the great number of talented people involved, the elements of this production did not come together in the way we would have liked.”
Under the direction of Connie Grappo, the 2003 “Little Shop” production received mostly upbeat reviews from the local press.
But then, so did the pre-Broadway run of “Urban Cowboy,” which debuted at the Coconut Grove Playhouse last year and then got panned when it opened March 27 in Gotham.
The producers have quickly lined up a new director, Jerry Zaks, who is already looking at actors for a retooled production.
If all goes well with Zaks’ auditions, “Little Shop” could go into previews shortly after Labor Day.
“I hope we succeed, but I can’t say we will with any certainty,” says Tom Viertel, one of the show’s producers. “Right now we’re doing everything at once. We’re exploring aspects of the physical production and the financial side, and Jerry will be doing some auditioning. It has always been our hope to bring the show in more quickly than not.”
“Little Shop” ran Off Broadway for several seasons, beginning in 1982, but to date has not played Broadway.
Meanwhile, upbeat reviews and several Tony noms weren’t enough to keep the kids in the seats — the $90 seats — at “A Year With Frog and Toad.”
“Frog and Toad” received little B.O. bump when the Tony noms were announced May 12. Weekly receipts have continued to languish under $150,000, at least $50,000 below breakeven. The show represents a loss of $3 million, its entire capitalization.
“Frog and Toad” opened April 13 at Broadway’s Cort Theater after engagements at Off Broadway’s New Victory and the Children’s Theater of Minneapolis. Ticket prices there were around $35; on Broadway, the 90-minute show has a $90 top, which comes to a few cents per minute more than “The Lion King.”
When it closes June 15, “F&T” will have played 15 previews and 73 regular perfs.