Could an opening/closing night happen nowadays?

sparksatmidnight
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Of course they were never popular to begin with, but it seems to have completely died down recently. The last one was Glory Days, I think?

Not that I want to see theatre failing, but it's interesting how it seems completely far fetched nowadays.
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I can't really see it happening nowadays. The closest thing I remember in recent years was Elling with Brendan Fraser, Dennis O'Hare and Jennifer Coolidge from 2010.

Not counting previews, opening night was November 21st and it closed November 29th with only 9 performances.

I actually saw the show and didn't think it was as bad as it was made out to be at that time. I've definitely seen much worse.

Updated On: 8/12/19 at 06:25 PM
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How badly does a show have to do to only have one performance? I'm also curious on if they are even more uncommon now, why would that be? 

Jarethan
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DoTheDood said: "How badly does a show have to do to only have one performance? I'm also curious on if they are even more uncommon now, why would that be?"

Producer's vanity.  That is what kept Honeymoon in Vegas, Disaster, King King, Amazing Grace, that musical that played at Circle in the Square a few seasons ago and others running much longer than sane people would allow.  It is like they convince themselves into thinking word-of-mouth will take over.

Also, shows are so damn expensive to put on these days than they were years ago (relative to inflation) that it must that much harder to admit failure.

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getupngo
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Keep an eye on The Lightning Thief and we'll see haha

superiska123
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I think Hurt Locker the Musical closed at intermission on opening night.
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Miles2Go2
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Jarethan said: "DoTheDood said: "How badly does a show have to do to only have one performance? I'm also curious on if they are even more uncommon now, why would that be?"

Producer's vanity. That is what kept Honeymoon in Vegas, Disaster, King King, Amazing Grace, that musical that played at Circle in the Square a few seasons agoand others running much longer than sane people would allow. It is like they convince themselvesinto thinking word-of-mouth will take over.
"

Also, don’t forget Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson

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Patti LuPone tells the story about making her debut in a play called WOMAN IN CHAINS. Joe Papp was producing it and during intermission he ran backstage and announced he was closing the show right then and there. He then went on stage and sent the audience home.

LuPone's character didn't appear until the 2nd act, so her debut was put off for a while.
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Dollypop said: "Patti LuPone tells the story about making her debut in a play called WOMAN IN CHAINS. Joe Papp was producing it and during intermission he ran backstage and announced he was closing the show right then and there. He then went on stage and sent the audience home.

LuPone's character didn't appear until the 2nd act, so her debut was put off for a while.
"

That is a great story...makes one wonder just how bad the show was, as he allowed ‘The Lead People’ to run at the Booth for quite awhile...that may still be the single worst thing I ever saw on any stage.

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Back in 2012, The Performers ran only from November 14th - November 18th.

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TheGingerBreadMan said: "Back in 2012, The Performersran only from November 14th - November 18th."



I had no idea! I was stuck here on vacation when Sandy happened and when the buses were back up and running, it's the one thing my friend and I went out and did. It was really funny; I now consider myself lucky to have seen it!

SouthernCakes
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Me too! I thought that show was hilarious and was waiting for a movie version.
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TheGingerBreadMan said: "Back in 2012, The Performersran only from November 14th - November 18th."

I totally forgot about that show, I saw it too and thought it was over the top and ridiculous yet entertaining 

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Urban Cowboy kinda ALMOST did this? It announced it's closing after the first preview that would have resulted in only 4 shows (plus previews) but they changed their mind the day it was meant to close and ran another month and a half, keeping it open long enough to be seen by the Tony nominated committee but when it resulted only 2 nominations, they gave up. That was 2003.
 

bk
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Jarethan is correct - a lot of producer vanity.  I remember when the Sarah Jessica Parker Once Upon a Mattress opened to horrid reviews and little business - it should have closed instantly, but the Dodgers kept it going way past its expiry date and lost even more money.  188 performances.  

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veronicamae said: "TheGingerBreadMan said: "Back in 2012, The Performersran only from November 14th - November 18th."

I had no idea! I was stuck here on vacation when Sandy happened and when the buses were back up and running, it's the one thing my friend and I went out and did. It was really funny; I now consider myself lucky to have seen it!
"

I was also stuck in the city during Sandy! It was a surprise trip, my first time in NYC. Very memorable! 

magictodo123
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Didn't Moose Murders not last a performance past opening?

 

Also...I think now producers want to make as much money as possible so unless a show was truly, truly awful, they wouldn't do that now. 

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Except if ticket sales are that bad, they arent making money, because they cant even meet or barely meet their nut.

Yes, I believe it could still happen, after all, the shows many of you are mentioning aren't THAT long ago.

And lets not forget the Neil Simon tragedy of 2009. (2010?) Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound were suppose to run to repertory but the 2nd never was seen (if I remember correctly) as it only played 9 regular performances.
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magictodo123
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OH I just thought of a great book on this topic...NOT SINCE CARRIE is about shows that did NOT succeed on Broadway. It's a fascinating book!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Not-Since-Carrie-Broadway-Musical/dp/0312082738

Updated On: 8/13/19 at 07:31 AM
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superiska123 said: "I think Hurt Locker the Musical closed at intermission on opening night."

lmao!!!!!!! On the bright side, it provided a theater for Hedwig and the Angry Inch revival!!!!! Could an opening/closing night happen nowadays?

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ddenoff2
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It's now known as "Glory Day"   

and if you look at the window card, the design actually makes it look like that already....stranger than truth!

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It was never common. It is very unlikely but I don't know how anyone could say it could never happen. There is nothing structural to prevent it.

There are lots of reasons it does not happen, but in my experience vanity is very low on that list.Actually, I would say that if vanity were to have any impact, it would be in the opposite direction. I would say the 2 biggest reasons are that producers generally believe in their shows and think they can turn sales around notwithstanding lousy reviews, and that the short term marginal costs are not usually that great. Another factor is that when the show closes the revenue stream dries up for the producer. 

 

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in the 50's and 60's a small group of shows opened and closed on the same night. That is because they were only budgeted to play up to the opening night. At the time, reviews were all. Some shows had almost no advance sale and just enough money to open---then they would wait for the reviews, particularly the Times review. If it was favorable they would stay open and hope that the good review would send people to the box office. A bad review and the producer simply pulled the plug. There are some interesting stories about this. I remember reading an interview with Richard Kiley in which he said that the opening night of Man of La Mancha was supposed to be its last performance---he really did not think he would perform it again. Then the raves came in and it became a classic. Little Mary Sunshine opened off Broadway with an advance sale of $8.70. Same thing. 

Nowadays I think shows are budgeted to run for a certain amount of weeks  because there is much more money at the top---also with the internet etc. there are so many ways of getting people to consider it, before the reviews. In the 50's and 60's, plays were cheaper to produce  and some producers could raise just enough money for a pre-Broadway tryout and to open a play .In this era, I don't think the owners of the Broadway theaters would rent one of their theaters out, to a producer who was working that way. 

 

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Hogan, I'm curious about the idea that there isn't anything structural preventing it. Aren't there rules now requiring actors be paid through a certain time after they're notified of closing or something like that? I don't know the rules, but I had the sense there was something like that which would make running a show out for an additional week or two no more expensive than closing after opening night. I could be wrong, but I thought there was sommmmething like this?

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Yes, the actors would still need to be paid out a certain amount if the show closed with less than the contractually agreed upon notice, but salaries are far from the only cost (and there are a number of people involved with a production who do not have any sort of notice built into their contracts). Closing immediately would still be a cheaper option than posting the closing notice for the required amount in the AEA Production contract.

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