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Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.

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MamasDoin'Fine
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joined:9/28/08
Broadway Legend
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9/28/08
Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.
By now, everyone knows that "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" risks becoming to Broadway musicals what the Titanic was to ocean voyages.
If things keep going the way they have, with previews constantly extended, WalMart might open in New York before this $65 million show does.

So, is a special niche being prepared for "Spider-Man" along West 46th Street, on a wall that is a testament to true disaster?
"No, no, no, no," Joe Allen said. "It won't need a position of honor. It will fit right in with the worst experiences Broadway can remember."

Mr. Allen runs a restaurant that bears his name, a long-running establishment that is a watering hole for the theater crowd. Covering its eastern wall are posters for old Broadway shows, about 50 of them, from the mid-1960s on. Their titles will ring few bells except among the most knowledgeable of theater buffs.
There is a reason.
Each was a notorious flop.

Some closed after only one performance. "Breakfast at Tiffany's," in 1966, didn't even make it to opening night. Holly did not go lightly.
After four dismal preview performances, the show's producer, David Merrick, pulled the plug. "He said, 'This was my Bay Of Pigs,' " Mr. Allen recalled.
Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.

The restaurateur seems confident that in time, a poster for "Spider-Man" will take its place alongside the established wrecks. "I'm sure that some well-meaning soul will get it to me, one way or another," Mr. Allen said. "There's always someone who can't wait to see them up there."

Qualifications for the wailing wall are somewhat fluid.
"It started out, and this is way, way back, that the show had to cost $500,000, and it had to run less than a week," said Mr. Allen, who opened his doors in 1965, when $500,000 was real money, equivalent to about $3.5 million today.
"But then it all got blurred. Now there are no standards to meet. It's how publicly big the flop is."

Peter Parker, there's your cue.

"Someone told me that 'Spider-Man,' to break even, has to run at 90 percent capacity for five years," Mr. Allen said. "So that's not going to happen. I would be amazed if it did."

He began putting up these posters soon after he opened. "The first big one was 'Kelly,' " he said.
Hmm, don't recall that one.
"How could you remember it?" Mr. Allen said. It was one of the one-night-and-gone catastrophes, based on Steve Brodie, who claimed to have survived a leap from the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886. Howard Taubman began his review for The New York Times in 1965 with a reference to a show business star of that era: "Ella Logan was written out of 'Kelly' before it reached the Broadhurst Theater Saturday night. Congratulations, Miss Logan."
Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.

Mr. Allen took it from there.

"The producer," he said, "was Joe, Joe...." He struggled to recall the name. "Anyway, he invited Lewis Lapham, who was writing for The Saturday Evening Post. He said, 'I want you there from the first day of rehearsal right up to the opening.' Then it went out of town, to Boston. There were all kinds of troubles. It opened, and that was about it."

One of Mr. Allen's favorites, his and many others', is "Moose Murders," which closed after one performance in 1983 and set what is widely regarded as a low-water mark for the theater arts.
Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.

Why this interest in calamities?

"It was just kind of showing up how hollow these claims can be," said Mr. Allen, who is 78. "The producers issue statements along the way about how wonderful it's going to be."
"Joe Levine," he suddenly said, referring to the producer Joseph E. Levine. "That's who it was with 'Kelly.' It was perfect, because he called in the artillery on his own position. He insisted that The Saturday Evening Post send a reporter along to see every detail of the production. And it was awful."

A golden pedigree does not guarantee success.
With "Breakfast at Tiffany's," theater titans like Nunnally Johnson, Abe Burrows and Edward Albee had all worked on the libretto, not to mention that the play was based on a Truman Capote novella and a popular movie, and had stars like Mary Tyler Moore and Richard Chamberlain.
It bombed.

The creative forces behind "Spider-Man" are learning that lesson. "Budgetwise," Mr. Allen said, "it will have surpassed everything that's on the wall, maybe all of them combined." But there's no need for the show's producers to despair should they end up there.
"Sometimes there's a bit of anger in the beginning when you put the poster up," he said. "But it becomes some kind of badge of heroism over time."

Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.

Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.

Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.

Spider Man Creeps Towards The Joe Allen Wall Of Flops.










Updated On: 2/26/11 at 01:07 PM
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Phantom of London
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Might have to go in there for a quick tipple in three weeks time. What do you reckon Bob?
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twinbelters
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May I ask for the source of this piece, please?
With Irma you gotta do something!
fitz2
Swing
joined:11/11/10
Swing
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I'll be interested on their take on it! And I would LOVE to go to this restaurant! xxx
Perfect to see Spiderman
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bob8rich
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Would love to check it out, POL - seels an iknteresting place!

The only obstacle is the prices lol. Just checked out the menu and it's $7 for soup! and $13,50. for a sandwich! That's way outside my normal budget for a meal! But maybe a drink after a show would be okay.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
After Eight
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I've been to this restaurant. The food is good, though pricey. Of course, in the spectrum of restaurants in the New York theatre district, it's not that inordinately high.

I'd say it's worth going to, if only for its place as a theatre icon. It's fun to eat there, and to see the flop posters on the wall.

The thing that surprises me about "Spider-man" being there is that all these other flops had really short runs, and though it may not make money, I expect it will run at least until the end of summer. But maybe the show's notoriety will earn it a place there.
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Smaxie
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Joe Allen's website has a "Flop Viewer" feature - an online slideshow with the posters for the shows on the wall and a little information about each of them. Fun, if you haven't seen it.
Joe Allen Flop Viewer
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
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MamasDoin'Fine
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I've eaten there many times, I'd never recommend the place for the food. It's full of tourists.
Totally different atmosphere to the London branch.
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Phantom of London
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Hey, it is always good to see the Broadway 'Smaxie' over here a walking Wikipedia on theatre.
fitz2
Swing
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Swing
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So, whilst awaiting this big Spider-man announcement, I've been reading this:
So Musical Theatre Spider-Man Review

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