'Motown The Musical' Will Break From Broadway

8:58 AM PST 08/22/2014 by Ashley Lee

Bye Bye Baby

In an unconventional move, Motown The Musical has announced that it will play its final performance at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Jan. 18, 2015, but will return July 2016.

In the meantime, the show will continue its successful U.S. tour, which has grossed $20 million over its 16-week run, and kick off a U.K. production next summer.

The hit Broadway musical — penned by Motown founder Berry Gordy and featuring pop standards by Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Gladys Knight and more — is produced by Gordy, Kevin McCollum and Doug Morris. Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, it was nominated for four Tony Awards in the 2013-14 season.

"We are only saying farewell to Broadway for now," said McCollum in a statement. "We are leaving on a strong note, because we have a plan in place to come back even stronger. We’ve seen that Motown The Musical demonstrably appeals to a wide range of audiences. The passionate response to our show and the Motown catalogue puts us in a great position to arrange a successful return, while at the same time Motown The Musical branches out nationally and internationally."

Motown has broken the house record at the Lunt-Fontanne, with weekly grosses consistently north of $1 million for the entire year since its opening, and the production is on track to recoup its $18 million investment within the next few weeks. Still, while the show has cumulative box office to date of $92 million on Broadway, totals have seen a small decline since the holiday season.

Producers have indicated that some minor streamlining will be undertaken before the show returns to Broadway, in order to bring down its high weekly running costs.

"Motown The Musical opened in New York without the benefit of an out-of-town tryout to immediate and amazing response," continued McCollum. "We learned a lot from producing the premiere, both on an artistic and practical level. When we launched the first National Tour on a full Equity Production Contract, we were able to incorporate changes that present a new, visually and musically vibrant version of the show, equal in quality and excitement to its Broadway counterpart and that clearly appeals to audiences, as we have seen from the great sales figures in Chicago.

"By closing in January 2015, we have an opportunity to use the production assets from Broadway for the U.K. production next year. We are pleased to continue our great relationship with the Nederlander Organization for the next chapter of Motown The Musical on Broadway when we will return with a new production, our fourth, in the summer of 2016."

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee

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