by Trish Causey
On the heels of the sudden and unexpected closing of RAGTIME, Playbill.com announces the closing of FINIAN'S RAINBOW on January 17, 2010. Some thought FINIAN'S would only last as long as RAGTIME did, but no one expected a January end so soon after Fall openings---especially after both shows made it on TIME'S Top 10 List.
This is a worrisome trend for big musicals that employ large casts and real orchestras. Perhaps it was the historical plot-points or political satire that made them less appealing to vacationing audiences seeking solely entertainment sans enlightenment?
Investors should know better than to put so much money into a show and wimp out just a couple months into it. They should be there for the long haul. When WICKED was mounted, the producers knew it could be a year before they saw a return in their investment. Even with mixed reviews, they stuck it out, and now WICKED keeps breaking records.
Broadway should remain an avenue for all types of shows, both the traditional book musical and the experimental modern music revue. We need it all. Only musical theatre makes such diversity possible, and it all needs to be supported and nurtured.