'Forbidden Broadway' scraps summer Broadway run, citing crowded season

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'Forbidden Broadway' scraps summer Broadway run, citing crowded season
Chris Collins-Pisano, left, as Bob Fosse and Jenny Lee Stern as Gwen Verdon in an earlier version of “Forbidden Broadway,” subtitled “The Next Generation” at the Triad Theater in New York on Sept. 18, 2019. In a sign that there are not enough investors and ticket buyers to sustain all of the Broadway shows now onstage and in the works, the producers of “Forbidden Broadway” canceled a planned summer run on April 26, 2024. (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

by Michael Paulson

NEW YORK, NY.- In a sign that there are not enough investors and ticket buyers to sustain all of the Broadway shows now onstage and in the works, the producers of “Forbidden Broadway” said Friday that they were canceling a planned summer run.

The scrapped production, “Forbidden Broadway on Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song,” was announced in February and was to be the first Broadway venture for the satirical revue, which has been performed periodically since 1982, mostly off-Broadway but also on tour. The show, consisting of comedic sketches that parody Broadway hits (and misses), has been frequently rewritten to remain reasonably timely and topical; the Broadway run was to feature a number of Stephen Sondheim spoofs, reflecting the heightened interest in his work since his death.

In a statement, the producers, Ryan Bogner, Victoria Lang and Tracey Stroock McFarland, called the move a postponement, and cited the volume of offerings on Broadway — there are currently 36 shows running, 12 of which opened in a nine-day stretch before the Tony-eligibility season ended Thursday night.

“The Broadway landscape is enormously crowded at this moment,” the producers’ statement said, “and while we adore ‘Forbidden Broadway,’ we are disappointed that the show will not open at the Hayes on Broadway this summer.”

The show, written by Gerard Alessandrini, was to begin previews July 15 and to open Aug. 5 at the Helen Hayes Theater, and was to be capitalized for $3.2 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is not clear if the producers had successfully raised all that money, and ticket sales, which began this month, had been slow.

“Without getting into the details of the financials or sales, it is self evident by looking at the current offerings on Broadway and their sales that in this incredibly crowded environment without recent precedent, the title would not have been served by launching at this time,” the producers said in a written answer to questions about the show’s economics.

This is the second show to cancel a Broadway production this year; in February, the producers of a planned run of Rob Madge’s “My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?)” announced that they were postponing that production less than three weeks before previews were to begin.

As for Madge, the performer is planning to take “My Son’s a Queer” back to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. But first, next month Madge is planning a show in London, reflecting on the Broadway disappointment. The title, of course, is “Regards to Broadway.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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