As usual, today, the first Sunday after New Year’s, brings a rash of New York show closings. Some are the limited-engagement holiday shows (Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Cirque du Soleil’s Wintuk, and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas) that will no longer have an audience with Christmas come and gone. Other closings are struggling Broadway shows (Shrek the Musical and Superior Donuts) that could no longer afford their running costs because of low ticket sales. Meanwhile, Ragtime, a Broadway musical revival that was just recently scheduled for the January 3 chopping block, received a last-minute extension to January 10. If ticket sales increase, perhaps it could receive yet another reprieve before next Sunday. It was also just announced that the Broadway musical revival Finian’s Rainbow will be closing this month, on January 17.
As always, January is a brutal month for Broadway, which unfortunately gets a chilly reception from the ticket-buying public. The tourists have all gone home following the December holiday season, and locals are staying in the warmth of their homes as they recover from the financial blow dealt by all that Christmas and Chanukah merriment. Knowing this, Broadway producers frequently decide in advance that they will close their more monetarily troubled shows in early January. This year, those doomed Broadway shows include Burn the Floor and The 39 Steps (closing January 10), and Shrek the Musical and Superior Donuts (closing January 3). The limited-run shows In the Next Room and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas will also be shuttering in January. So if you have been dragging your feet on seeing any of these Broadway shows, be sure to get tickets while you can. Even these plays and musicals might not be discounting right over the Christmas holiday, but for most of them you can get good discounts on tickets for January performance dates.
Arthur Przybyszewski (Michael McKean), the proprietor of a dilapidated Chicago donut shop, hires a clever young black man from the neighborhood named Franco Wicks to help out – and gets a lot more than he bargained for.@earthlink.net>
Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts’ newest play is nothing like his two best known works, the creepy psychological thriller Bug and the epic family drama August: Osage County. Unlike those plays, Superior Donuts is a surprisingly conventional comedy about a man with a painful past who finds that an unexpected friendship is what he needs to finally move forward with his life. It is a solid effort, both funny and touching, with notable performances from Jon Michael Hill as Franco and Yasen Peyankov as the Russian business owner who wants to buy Arthur’s donut shop.@earthlink.net>
Fans of the recently-departed darkly comedic drama August: Osage County may now want to return to its old Broadway home, the Music Box Theatre, since August playwright Tracy Letts now has a new play there. Superior Donuts is his latest work, which also debuted at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago before coming to Broadway. Superior Donuts, a poignant comedy, is a return to the intimacy of Letts’ earlier works (Bug, Killer Joe) and is quite unlike the sprawling epic drama of August: Osage County. Superior Donuts stars Michael McKean as the proprietor of a dingy old Chicago donut shop and Jon Michael Hill plays the young employee who wants to turn the business around. The play is scheduled for an open run.