'Amelie' Musical Is First 2017 Tony Awards Casualty
The stage adaptation of the 2001 French film scored zero nominations, prompting the decision to close just seven weeks after opening to mixed reviews and modest business.
The stage musical adaptation of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 worldwide French screen hit will close on Sunday, May 21, producers announced Thursday, two days after the show was completely shut out by the Tony Nominating Committee.
Each season invariably yields a casualty or two in the immediate wake of the Tony nominations being announced, as shows that have been struggling at the box office hang on hoping for a potential boost from awards recognition.
Amelie, A New Musical, as it is officially titled, began previews March 9 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and opened April 3 to mixed reviews. Business has been modest since then, last week slipping to just 38 percent capacity with an eight-performance gross of $378,019. The musical's cumulative box office for its eight-week run to date is just over $4 million, meaning a likely loss of the production's entire investment, reported at $12 million.
Starring Phillipa Soo in her first role since her Tony-nominated breakout performance in Hamilton, the show features a book by Craig Lucas, music by Daniel Messe of the band Hem and lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Messe. It is directed by Pam MacKinnon, a Tony winner for the 2012 revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with little prior experience staging musicals.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the brilliant, talented team of writers, actors and creatives who have brought Amelie to life for the past two years, from Berkeley Rep, to Center Theatre Group, to Broadway," said the producers in a statement. "We'd like to express our gratitude to all of them, as well as the audiences who have shared the experience with them and with us."
The spring season has been an unusually crowded one for new musicals, particularly as fall holdovers Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 (a show that starred Soo in its earlier pre-Broadway runs) have continued to do strong business.
Among the newcomers, Come From Away is shaping up to be a crowd-pleasing hit, while Anastasia and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory both opened to promising box office, riding on the marquee clout of their well-known source material. Another recent opener, War Paint, has the combined drawing power of two revered Broadway greats, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, while Groundhog Day, although far from an instant smash, seems likely to benefit from the raves for Tony nominee Andy Karl's lead performance.
But the biggest news on the Broadway musicals front this spring has been the revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler, which opened to superlative reviews, advance sales north of $40 million and record-breaking business at the Shubert Theatre.
Perhaps in anticipation of that spring deluge, another of the season's commercially challenged musicals, In Transit, which opened Dec. 11, opted to close April 16, the same day Cirque du Soleil's first foray into Broadway musicals, Paramour, played its final performance after an 11-month run.
When it closes, Amelie will have played 27 previews and 56 regular performances. The show's original Broadway cast album will be released by Warner Music Group digitally on May 19 and in stores June 9.