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National Tour Flops

Dallas Theatre Fan
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National Tour Flops#1
Posted: 6/23/18 at 11:26am


We all know that putting a show on the road can be a financial gamble.  I've been wondering has there been any tours recently or in the past that was a flop or had to close prematurely?

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markypoo
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National Tour Flops#2
Posted: 6/23/18 at 11:34am
The Full Monty closed its initial tour after the Chicago engagement which was the 1st tour stop; but that was in 2001.
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choitoy
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National Tour Flops#3
Posted: 6/23/18 at 11:35am

I recall that the first national tour of Sunset Boulevard was a flop and closed up shop pretty early.  I think they tried to replicate the original sets and staging more (so very expensive), and they cast Linda Balgord as Norma (so basically an unknown).  I don’t remember how quickly the tour canceled, but I think it never made its way over to the west coast.   (Though the Canadian production did play Toronto and Vancouver BC).  The Seattle area didn’t get to See Sunset until many years later when the Petula Clark version came. That one was slightly more successful because Petula was more well known, and the sets were CHEAP (curtains, a moveable stair rail, and that was about it). 

Xanadu! Can't cry on cue!
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Dave13
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National Tour Flops#4
Posted: 6/23/18 at 11:40am

Tours are much different. Most productions on tour schedule 8 show contracts in every city based upon the season ticket holders schedule for an entire season. So it’s partially a scam as sometimes season ticket holders get stuck watching crap, while productions are virtually guaranteed at least one successful season. 

Obviously the more popular shows book longer because they are able to sell to the general public.

There are productions that book less than 8 shows, which are not part of the season ticket packages. Usually I find that these shows to be classics like Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia that will still sell out a few shows but will not appeal to all of the season ticket holders.

If it is a new production and it cannot book 8 shows based upon the season ticket holders schedule, it will probably not tour unless it has a “cult” following.

Not to be confused with Dave19.
Updated On: 6/23/18 at 11:40 AM
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BalconyClub
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National Tour Flops#5
Posted: 6/23/18 at 11:41am
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
ActorGuyIL
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National Tour Flops#6
Posted: 6/23/18 at 11:43am

I got to see the ill-fated first national tour of SUNSET with Linda Balgord - she was wonderful, but, yes, the tour was sunk due to the expense of moving the set (and her non-celebrity status didn't help, I'm sure). 

Sadly, I also had tickets for the Petula Clark tour but that canceled before it hit Chicago.

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ClumsyDude15
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National Tour Flops#7
Posted: 6/23/18 at 12:25pm

As Dave mentioned, national tours are sold through subscription in each city and subscribers purchase these packages of performances - they are generally new tours making their first engagements or revivals of classic musicals that have been apart of the recent Broadway season. Cities also have performances that are returning engagements - ie: long runners like Book of Mormon, Wicked, Phantom, etc that patrons can add on to their subscriptions as extras. Those packages are sold before single tickets, so performances will always have the subscriber base behind them before any single tickets are sold and especially in years like current where Hamilton is apart of subscriptions they are selling fast. 

In the past I've seen shows come through town that are very undersold - If/Then being one of them, and honestly if they weren't apart of subscription I'd be surprised if they wouldn't have cancelled. I have not seen any show in my experience with Broadway subscriptions that cancelled their engagements but I do know tours have finished earlier and cancelled stops places in the past. 

Updated On: 6/23/18 at 12:25 PM
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Call_me_jorge
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National Tour Flops#8
Posted: 6/23/18 at 1:01pm
The cheers tour???

I do remember reading how Matilda was doing poorly on tour.
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qolbinau
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National Tour Flops#9
Posted: 6/23/18 at 1:08pm

I remember Matilda was having some trouble but I thought they were technical issues rather than financial? It would surprise me because it seems like one of those shows that would be perfect to tour.

But I am curious too. The financial state of tours seem much less transparent than Broadway. When variety did post the road grosses years ago I took a look at n2n and it is interesting how much it grossed - nearly 1 million per week in some venues if I recall. The touring market seems lucrative.

"Rose in Gypsy was like going through therapy for me. Playing Rose helped me put a lot of emotions to bed. There was so much lacking in Rose and that's why she had to prove herself through her children. [interviewer]In ways that reminded you of your mom?[/interviewer]. Let's just say the role was very interesting for me. That one was the most interesting [I've ever played]" - Bernadette Peters (2018)
Updated On: 6/23/18 at 01:08 PM
Solipsist234
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National Tour Flops#10
Posted: 6/23/18 at 1:19pm
That horrible I Love Lucy show...

Good riddance, honestly!
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Sondheimite
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National Tour Flops#11
Posted: 6/23/18 at 1:24pm

Matilda was too smart for American Families and it's a shame.

It says everything about American culture and nothing about the quality of the show.

(Side note:  Kinky Boots did not deserve to win any award, aside from Billy Porter, over Matilda.  Tony Voters are also not as smart as Olivier voters... and Tony voter mostly vote based on theatre politics)

Broadway World's Fireman.
MannPhan24601
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National Tour Flops#12
Posted: 6/23/18 at 1:28pm

ClumsyDude15 said: "As Dave mentioned, national tours are sold through subscription in each city and subscribers purchase these packages of performances - they are generally new tours making their first engagements or revivals of classic musicals that have been apart of the recent Broadway season. Cities also have performances that are returning engagements - ie: long runners like Book of Mormon, Wicked, Phantom, etc that patrons can add on to their subscriptions as extras. Those packages are sold before single tickets, so performances will always have the subscriber base behind them before any single tickets are sold and especially in years like current where Hamilton is apart of subscriptions they are selling fast.

In the past I've seen shows come through town that are very undersold - If/Then being one of them, and honestly if they weren't apart of subscription I'd be surprised if they wouldn't have cancelled. I have not seen any show in my experience with Broadway subscriptions that cancelled their engagements but I do know tours have finished earlier and cancelled stops places in the past.
"

My first touring show was If/Then back in 2016 and I remember getting 3rd row ORCHL  seats for only $50 per ticket on TrazelZoo.Think they were originally $150. My friend rushed and got 7th row ORCHC seats for only $30. When Idina did the early stops of the run,I remember people were saying on here that some of the shows were empty,especially when Janine Divita  was on as Elizabeth.

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MarkBearSF
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National Tour Flops#13
Posted: 6/23/18 at 1:49pm
I seem to recall that the Billy Elliott tour ended abruptly. (It may have met its contracted cities but then didn't continue as previously announced, or perhaps downsized the production early)

And to expand on some of the previous notes, the guarantees and terms can vary by city and tour (I'm told SF is unusual both in the length of engagements [4 wks] and the typical contract which has fewer guarantees.) Generally, the local presenter needs to sell additional single tickets to make a profit - and, presumably the producers need that as well. Not to mention merchandise.

So, simply being part of a subscription doesn't necessarily guarantee profitability - and as a noted poster here often reminds us, There are no rules.
Updated On: 6/23/18 at 01:49 PM
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MarkBearSF
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National Tour Flops#14
Posted: 6/23/18 at 2:10pm
...although it was/is an odd duck, I recall hearing of cancelled cities and problems with the the tour of "Amazing Grace."
I was going to refer to it as the "death march tour" because I recall the announced schedule looked so difficult.
Updated On: 6/23/18 at 02:10 PM
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Mister Matt
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National Tour Flops#15
Posted: 6/23/18 at 2:37pm

Applause with Stephanie Powers in the 90s.  Didn't the Young Frankenstein tour end early?

"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
Clyde15
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National Tour Flops#16
Posted: 6/23/18 at 2:53pm
How did the Hedwig tour do? When I went in Seattle on a Saturday night the theatre was pretty empty
LesMisRulz
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National Tour Flops#17
Posted: 6/23/18 at 3:29pm

Call_me_jorge said: "The cheers tour???

I do remember reading how Matilda was doing poorly on tour.
"

As qolbinau noted, perhaps you are referring to the sound design issues?

I don’t believe Matilda struggled financially on tour, extending to a second year, and running from May 2015 thru June 2017, including a multi-month stay at the Mirvish Theatre in Toronto. Admittedly, my additional support is anecdotal, based on the capacity and near-capacity audiences I experienced while seeing it on tour five times.

(edited to remove incorrect link to financial figures)

 

Updated On: 6/24/18 at 03:29 PM
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adamgreer
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National Tour Flops#18
Posted: 6/23/18 at 4:00pm

LesMisRulz said: "Call_me_jorge said: "The cheers tour???

I do remember reading how Matilda was doing poorly on tour.
"

As qolbinau noted, perhaps you are referring to the sound design issues?

Matilda did not strugglefinanciallyon tour, extending to asecond year, and running from May 2015 thru June 2017.

Based on figures publishedbyBroadway League on IBDB, attendance in the second yearconsistently averaged close to 90% andpotential of gross appears to be in the mid-80% range, slightly higher than the first year when it had a multi-month stay at the Mirvish in Toronto.

IBDB linkto Matilda figures
"

 

Are you sure those are figures for Matilda? It looks to be figures for all shows combined. As successful as it may have been, I doubt the Matilda tour was pulling in $39 million a week.

 

bk
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National Tour Flops#19
Posted: 6/23/18 at 4:05pm

adamgreer said: "LesMisRulz said: "Call_me_jorge said: "The cheers tour???

I do remember reading how Matilda was doing poorly on tour.
"

As qolbinau noted, perhaps you are referring to the sound design issues?

Matilda did not strugglefinanciallyon tour, extending to asecond year, and running from May 2015 thru June 2017.

Based on figures publishedbyBroadway League on IBDB, attendance in the second yearconsistently averaged close to 90% andpotential of gross appears to be in the mid-80% range, slightly higher than the first year when it had a multi-month stay at the Mirvish in Toronto.

IBDB linkto Matilda figures
"



Are you sure those are figures for Matilda? It looks to be figures for all shows combined. As successful as it may have been, I doubt the Matilda tour was pulling in $39 million a week.


"

Does it even say Matilda on that page???  Of course it's combined grosses.  I gotta tell you.

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adamgreer
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National Tour Flops#20
Posted: 6/23/18 at 4:09pm

bk said: "adamgreer said: "LesMisRulz said: "Call_me_jorge said: "The cheers tour???

I do remember reading how Matilda was doing poorly on tour.
"

As qolbinau noted, perhaps you are referring to the sound design issues?

Matilda did not strugglefinanciallyon tour, extending to asecond year, and running from May 2015 thru June 2017.
It doesn’t. 
Based on figures publishedbyBroadway League on IBDB, attendance in the second yearconsistently averaged close to 90% andpotential of gross appears to be in the mid-80% range, slightly higher than the first year when it had a multi-month stay at the Mirvish in Toronto.

IBDB linkto Matilda figures
"



Are you sure those are figures for Matilda? It looks to be figures for all shows combined. As successful as it may have been, I doubt the Matilda tour was pulling in $39 million a week.


"

Does it even say Matilda on that page??? Of course it's combined grosses. I gotta tell you.
"

It doesn’t. But if you read his link it specifically says “Matilda figures.” That’s why I was asking. Calm down. 

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markypoo
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National Tour Flops#21
Posted: 6/23/18 at 4:25pm
The national tour of Parade cancelled its stand in Chicago in 2000, but I don't recall the details of the eventual folding of the tour itself.
I was lucky enough to catch it in Cleveland.
Dallas Theatre Fan
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National Tour Flops#22
Posted: 6/23/18 at 6:00pm

Mister Matt said: "Didn't the Young Frankenstein tour end early?"

I think it made it through its entire run but, I think it struggle because if I remember correctly it went on hiatus after a year or so to be re-stage without any mechanics.  The set was just scrims and things pushed on stage by the actors once it reopened.  

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David10086
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National Tour Flops#23
Posted: 6/23/18 at 8:43pm

ClumsyDude15 said: "As Dave mentioned, national tours are sold through subscription in each city and subscribers purchase these packages of performances - they are generally new tours making their first engagements or revivals of classic musicals that have been apart of the recent Broadway season..."

I must add - sometimes these shows in the Broadway subscriber package are not from Broadway at all. For example (and I started a thread on this back in February), in my city "The Bodyguard" was an 8 show production, boasting "direct from Broadway - the smash hit musical..' 

We all know that show never touched a stage on Broadway, yet it was promoted as a huge Broadway hit finally touring. And before that, in late December, we had "Love Never Dies" under the same 'Direct from Broadway - smash hit Broadway musical' banner. That's 2 misleading productions in one season. (Both shows got awful reviews from the local critics, but no mention of the fact that neither one was so bad they never played Broadway).

An interesting - if unethical - practice to lure innocent people to the box office. 

Dallas Theatre Fan
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National Tour Flops#24
Posted: 6/23/18 at 8:51pm

David10086 said: "ClumsyDude15 said: "As Dave mentioned, national tours are sold through subscription in each city and subscribers purchase these packages of performances - they are generally new tours making their first engagements or revivals of classic musicals that have been apart of the recent Broadway season..."

I must add - sometimes these shows in the Broadway subscriber package are not from Broadway at all. For example (and I started a thread on this back in February), in my city "The Bodyguard" was an 8 show production, boasting "direct from Broadway - the smash hit musical..'

We all know that show never touched a stage on Broadway, yet it was promoted as a huge Broadway hit finally touring. And before that, in late December, we had "Love Never Dies" under the same 'Direct from Broadway - smash hit Broadway musical' banner. That's 2 misleading productions in one season. (Both shows got awful reviews from the local critics, but no mention of the fact that neither one was so bad they never played Broadway).

An interesting - if unethical - practice to lure innocent people to the box office.
"

More like direct from the West End where it didn't get received well and any Broadway plan's had to be cancelled.

If I remember correctly in Dallas The Bodyguard sold really poorly even with Deborah Cox.

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MarkBearSF
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National Tour Flops#25
Posted: 6/23/18 at 8:59pm
Dallas Theatre Fan said: "If I remember correctly in Dallas The Bodyguard sold really poorly even with Deborah Cox."


It seems each season as a SHN subscriber in SF, one set of tickets goes straight to StubHub. This was our immediate "StubHub show" a couple of years ago.

Updated On: 6/23/18 at 08:59 PM