“The Inheritance,” a sprawling and ambitious epic that grappled with the legacy of the AIDS epidemic, will close on March 15.
The two-part play has struggled mightily at the box office despite receiving strong reviews. Last week, it grossed $345,984, or 52% of its capacity, a dispiriting number for a show that was reported to have a budget of $9.5 million. Written by Matthew Lopez and directed by Stephen Daldry, the play follows a group of younger gay men in New York City as they debate what they owe to the older generations that came before them. It was loosely inspired by E.M. Forster’s novel “Howards End.”
The closure is a disappointment for the show’s backers, who were hoping “The Inheritance” would hang on and get a boost from the Tony Awards nominations. The show is expected to be a major contender, but its chances could be hurt because of the early closure. It also faces stiff competition from the likes of “The Lehman Trilogy” and “Slave Play.”
“The Inheritance” was a success in London, where it won the Olivier Award for best play, and earned comparisons with “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s seminal look at gay life in the 20th Century. However, the seven-hour running time, the depressing subject matter, and the lack of big name stars (Vanessa Redgrave appeared in London, but didn’t make the move to Broadway) may have proved too difficult to overcome.
At the conclusion of the run, the production will have played 46 previews (28 of “The Inheritance” and 18 of “The Inheritance Part 2”) and 138 performances (86 of “The Inheritance” and 52 of “The Inheritance Part 2”).
“We are all extremely proud of this production and the 32 actors who bring this ambitious story to life eight times a week and honor the legacy of those we’ve lost to the AIDS epidemic,” said producers Tom Kirdahy, Sonia Friedman and Hunter Arnold in a joint statement. “We thank all of the actors, crew, co-producers, audience members and community partners who have made this run such a milestone for everyone involved.”