“Once on This Island,” this year’s Tony Award winner for best musical revival, will close its Broadway run on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. When the curtain falls for the last time, the Caribbean-inspired musical will have played 29 previews and 458 performances.
Despite the awards attention, “Once on This Island” has struggled at the box office. With ticket sales flagging, the producers tapped Destiny Child’s Michelle T. Williams to headline the show. However, it’s a crowded fall on the Great White Way. Hit plays such as “The Ferryman” and “Network” are drawing audiences, as are juggernauts such as “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and “Hamilton.” Initially, the show’s backers had signaled that they planned a longer run, saying that Williams would be appearing in “Once on This Island” through next June.
Instead, the producers are turning their attention toward a national tour, set to launch in the fall of 2019. “Once on This Island” opened on Dec. 3 at Circle in the Square Theatre and became a hit with critics, who swooned for director Michael Arden’s immersive imaginative staging (complete with a live goat) and the peppy music by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.
Variety’s Marilyn Stasio raved that the production was “just what the weary world needs now” and called it “lush and lovely.”
“Once on This Island” was originally performed on Broadway in 1990, closing that run after 469 performances and 19 previews.