'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' Musical to Close on Broadway

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Broadway - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Plans have been announced for the Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures co-production to launch a U.S. national tour in September 2018.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is closing up shop.

The Broadway musical will play its final performance at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Jan. 14. It will have played 27 previews and 305 regular performances, running less than a year.

The New York production extensively revamped an earlier version directed by Sam Mendes, which had opened in London in 2013 and ran for three-and-a-half years despite mixed reviews. The Broadway makeover opened April 23, directed by Jack O'Brien. Critical response was generally harsher than in London, and the show was completely shut out of this year's Tony Award nominations.

However, the enduring popularity of the Gene Wilder film and Roald Dahl novel helped propel the show to initially strong grosses north of $1 million a week, suggesting it might be critic-proof. But box office has slipped in recent months, hitting a low of $558,636 for the week ending Oct. 1. While the production has posted cumulative grosses of $32.9 million to date, it is not expected to recoup its investment on Broadway.

Producers nonetheless took an upbeat tone in their closing announcement, revealing plans for a U.S. national tour to launch next September, and an international tour to kick off in Australia in 2018 and the U.K. the following year.

“It has been a privilege to share this timeless story with audiences of all ages", said producers Mark Kaufman, Kevin McCormick and Caro Newling. “Our remarkable creative team, led by the incomparable Jack O’Brien, have re-imagined the story of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka for a new generation. We now look forward to a long life for the production across North America and around the world.”

Christian Borle stars in the musical, which features a score by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, along with existing songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from the 1971 Warner Bros. motion picture. The book is by Scottish playwright David Greig and choreography by Joshua Bergasse.

Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures co-produced the musical with Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions.

Warners' stage division is continuing to develop new theater projects from its library, including the Judy Garland-James Mason version of A Star Is Born, with Bill Condon attached to direct; Beetlejuice, to be staged by Alex Timbers; Dave, which will feature a score by Tom Kitt and Nell Benjamin; and Dog Day Afternoon, being adapted into a stage drama by Pulitzer-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis.

The January closing of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Lunt-Fontanne creates a vacancy in a prime Broadway house, which an incoming production appears likely to jump on before the 2018 Tony eligibility cutoff date of April 26.