Five Broadway Shows Close Today

War Horse Broadway ShowSeveral Broadway shows end their runs today. After taking advantage of the holiday crowds over Christmas and New Year’s, these Broadway shows determined that it wouldn’t be worth it to continue running through the traditionally slow months of January and February. Of the five, Elf was the only holiday-specific show and had no reason to run any longer, though it may return to Broadway again next Christmas.

Dead Accounts and Grace were the only two straight plays among today’s Broadway closures. Despite boasting film stars (Katie Holmes in Dead Accounts and Paul Rudd in Grace) in their casts, both shows struggled to sell more than a middling number of tickets throughout late autumn and early winter.

A play with music, War Horse was a popular and highly acclaimed show that enjoyed a healthy run but decided to close once ticket sales were starting to run out of steam. Chaplin, on the other hand, one of the first musicals to open this season, had a difficult time during its entire run. Leading man Rob McClure enjoyed a great deal of positive buzz for his performance, but it wasn’t quite enough to create the great reviews and sensational word-of-mouth that a new musical typically needs to succeed.

War Horse To Close on Broadway in January

War Horse Broadway Lincoln Center TheaterLincoln Center Theater has announced that its long-running hit War Horse will be shuttering on January 6, 2013. The epic play with music will have played for nearly two years on Broadway when it closes.

Touching audiences with its sweeping and story of a young man searching for his beloved horse in the midst of World War I, and also impressing them with its incredible life-size puppets, War Horse enjoyed both critical and commercial success. But ticket sales gradually started to decrease this year, with capacity getting as low as 60% mid-summer.

Though War Horse ticket sales have improved recently, the massive production is too costly to survive such dips in sales in the long term. A January end date gives the show an opportunity to reap the financial benefits of the lucrative Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons (when War Horse is likely to do particularly good business with family audiences), closing just as the winter doldrums set in.

With War Horse concluding its run at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater will now be able to resume using the space for its regular seasonal programming.  Ever since War Horse premiered and proved to be a lasting hit, LCT has had to use other Broadway houses for its productions.

The original West End production of War Horse continues to play in London, and the U.S. tour is also still out on the road.  Upcoming productions in Australia and Berlin are also being planned, so War Horse will soldier on even after it leaves Broadway.

War Horse Launches U.S. Tour

War Horse, the theatrical sensation currently playing in London’s West End, on Broadway in New York, and in Toronto, is finally going out on the road. The North American tour of War Horse has begun with an engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, where it will play until July 29. After the L.A. stop, War Horse will march on to numerous stops across the U.S., including San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, and Minneapolis. A number of smaller cities, such as East Lansing, Tempe, Spokane, Fayetteville, and Appleton are also on the docket.

Based on the Michael Morpurgo novel (adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford), War Horse started as a huge hit for the National Theatre in London, going on to enjoy a successful Tony Award-winning production on Broadway at the Lincoln Center Theater.  In addition to the power of its World War I-era tale of a boy and his beloved horse, War Horse‘s main draw has been the phenomenal life-size (and life-like) puppets created by the Handspring Puppet Company.

This past Christmas, director Steven Spielberg brought the story to a global movie-going audience with his adaptation of War Horse.  The film — which of course used real horses — was well-received and earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but the stage adaptation still offers a uniquely theatrical experience that is likely to draw large audiences as it makes its way across the country.