Harvey Fierstein's 'Torch Song' to End Broadway Run Seven Weeks Early

WEB TORCH SONG - Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl - Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy

Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl in Torch Song

Originally scheduled to close Feb. 24, the acclaimed production has underperformed at the box office, though star Michael Urie will headline a national tour starting in fall 2019.

The 2018 revival of Harvey Fierstein's landmark play Torch Song will end its Broadway run on Jan. 6 at New York City's Hayes Theater, seven weeks earlier than planned, the production announced Tuesday. 

"Since we first began the Torch Song journey, I have heard from people all over — including our director Moisés Kaufman, who first met Arnold when Torch Song Trilogy toured in the ‘80s — that Arnold’s pride, strength, and frankness helped them come out, come to terms, and come together," star Michael Urie said in a statement. "This is something I hope our tour will do today. We need Harvey’s play when our world is suddenly and continually confusing and divided.”

Originally scheduled to conclude Feb. 24, Torch Song has seen slow box office returns, perhaps partly due to the fact that the production transferred from an extended off-Broadway run at Second Stage, which may have eaten into its core audience.

Though the revival scored glowing reviews overall, Torch Song underperformed in its Broadway transfer, never playing to more than 45 percent of its gross potential or hitting $300,000 in any week. Total box office to date is a modest $1.9 million. As of its Jan. 6 end date, Torch Song will have played 26 previews and 77 regular performances.

In his positive Hollywood Reporter review of the production, chief theater critic David Rooney wrote, "Taking a second stab at the material, Kaufman and his cast hit every note of humor and heartache in a durable work that functions as both a historical piece and a universal expression of our search for human connection and the comforts of family."

Torch Song Trilogy, as the play was originally titled, premiered on Broadway in 1982 at the Little Theatre, now the Hayes Theater, which also is home to the revival. Written and performed by Fierstein, the original production lasted for three years and won two Tonys in 1983 for best play and best performance by a leading actor in a play.

In the 2018 revival, Urie stars as Arnold Beckoff, a gay Jewish New Yorker and part-time drag queen portrayed in the play at three different points in his life. The production also stars Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl in the scene-stealing role of Arnold's quarrelsome, unaccepting mother, along with Ward Horton, Roxanna Hope Radja, Michael Hsu Rosen and Jack DiFalco, all of whom reprised their roles from the off-Broadway run.

Urie also will headline the national tour of Torch Song, scheduled to kick off in fall 2019 at the Center Theatre Group's Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

Producers on Broadway are Richie Jackson, Eric Kuhn & Justin Mikita, Stephanie P. McClelland, Ken Fakler, David Mirvish,Lassen Blume/Karmen Boyz Productions, CJC & Priest/Judith Ann Abrams, Burnt Umber Productions/True Love Productions, Caiola Productions/Torchbearers, Jujamcyn Theaters and Second Stage Theater.