Top Ten of the Worst Broadway Shows Ever Made. What Made Them Fail and Why. Including Moose Murders, Carrie, Dracula, and Lestat
No Broadway show producer want to be remembered for bringing in a show that become the worst Broadway show ever, but here are the top Ten of the very worst Broadway shows of all time:
Aug 2004 - Jan 2005
With classic lyrics like "Give me your mouth upon my mouth", how can this musical be that bad? Just one year after another vampire musical, Dance of the Vampires became a notorious flop, the producers of Dracula decided that it would be a great idea to try the Broadway vampire musical format again. In short, they were wrong. Reviewers remarked that it looked like "the longest Meat Loaf video ever".
9. Moose Murders
Feb 1983 - Feb 1983
Dracula was an infamous flop, but Moose Murders was a spectacular train wreck. The mystery farce was reportedly so bad, that a reviewer who saw the show wrote that viewers of Moose Murders should hold regular meetings and cry together, just like the survivors of the Titanic. One reviewer said the show "would insult the intelligence of an audience consisting entirely of amoebas". The story included, of all things, mother-son incest and dinosaur game show hosts. The show closed after just one performance and 13 previews.
Apr 1992 - Apr 1992
The Polish version of A Chorus Line did not go over well with critics. Though the play was a big hit in Poland, the writers failed to translate the script into fluent English, which did not bode well for English speaking audiences. The music was not well received by critics and audiences either. One critic noted that Metro "looks as if it is taking its cues from a faded 10th-generation bootleg videocassette of the film version of its Broadway prototype - complete with heads on the way to the bathroom". After just 13 performances, and with an average of 35% attendance per show at just $20 per ticket, Metro mercifully closed.
7. Bobbi Boland
Nov 2003 - Nov 2003
Farrah Fawcett's play run was so short, it technically never really opened as it never made it to a red carpet opening night. Little is remembered about this play that that so few people saw that starred Fawcett as the shallow, materialistic main character. In the title role, Fawcett plays a former beauty queen, who's hopes and dreams have long since faded. She now runs a charm school and a chance meeting with friends threatens to derail any residual chance of happiness for her.
Critics suggested that the play was not just written for Fawcett, but it was actually about her. Audiences yawned and the production was beset with all kinds of problems. The show did not even get a media boost when Fawcett was abducted by a gypsy cab driver on the way to the first night of previews. This event made the audience wait an extra hour to see a frazzled Fawcett attempt to remember her lines and get to her cues. The show closed after just one week of previews and lost $2 million for investors. It was a rough year for Fawcett and in 2006 she was diagnosed with Cancer and sadly died of the same in 2009, at the age of 62.
Mar 2006 - May 2006
After Dance of the Vampires bombed in 2002 and Dracula fizzled in 2004, producers thought "third time's the charm!" and birthed Lestat, yet another vampire musical. Spoiler alert: the third time was not the charm, and Lestat became known as a just a "horribly boring play". Inspired by Anne Rice's "The Vampire Chronicles", the show attempted to construct a coherent plot, but failed miserably. The thinly veiled homoeroticism has caused critics to call this play "the Brokeback Mountain of vampire musicals", even though the characters are never actually identified as gay. Ben Brantley, the head Broadway critic from the New York Times, called Lestat "the musical sleeping pill", but he was still able to stay awake after ingesting large quantities of his favorite coffee. Others in the audience may still be asleep in the Palace Theatre.
5. Pirate Queen
Apr 2007 - June 2007
Imagine Les Miserables, but just a lot more miserable. The creators of Les Mis attempted to recreate their prior success, by creating a carbon copy of the sung-through musical, but with "gaudy" female pirates on the high seas instead of leaders in the French revolution. The show was just all too similar to Les Miserables and critics, and audiences pointed out that the song "Boys'll be Boys" sounded exactly like "Master of the House" from the aforementioned musical. Expect the creators to rework Hamilton, but set it in the Hackensack NJ Costco with cashiers dressed as gender bender Teletubbies.
Oct 2004 - June 2005
In the musical Brooklyn, five homeless musicians sing "American Idol" esque ballads. Multiple Broadway theater critics compared the show experience to listening to annoying subway performers bang on the garbage bins usually left outside Broadway theaters. The banged so loud that the rats quickly left NYC, much like the art.
Apr 1988 - May 1988
The musical adaptation of Carrie is perhaps the most infamous failure in Broadway history. The show was such a failure that books have been written about just how terrible Carrie was. The musical was adapted from Steven King's homonymous novel, and the classic horror film that followed. The Broadway version of the classic was also a horror, but for entirely different reasons. Even the set design has been slammed by critics, and was described as a "hospital kitchen" posing as a high school. The musical vanished after its closing in the 80's, and only short clips from the show can still be seen today on Youtube.
2. Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark
June 2011 - Jan 2014
Critics said Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark was a nightmare to produce and a train wreck to watch. The show cost $75 million to produce, and reportedly lost $60 million over its 3 year run. After over 1000 performances, many cast injuries, and scathing reviews, the show finally closed in 2014. The show lacked any real substance, but was a good vehicle for the music of U2 and it is this that kept the theme park style show alive for so long. A New York Times critic called the show "grievously broken in every respect". To give the show some credit, it was better than the movie "Spider-Man 3", but not by much. The producers had a great idea to have Spiderman land in the worst seats in the theatre, right in the 2nd Mezzanine. They increased the price of the tickets to make this area now called the "landing Zone" and it quickly became the most expensive place to sit in the entire theatre. This was a first for Broadway. Polls at the time also found that over 50% of the attending audience were driven to see the show to see if someone else gets injured.
1. Dance of the Vampires
Dec 2002 - Jan 2003
This show was so bad, we had to actually create a separate page to describe exactly how this show went so horribly wrong.
For the worst show ever made, please read THE WORST BROADWAY SHOW EVER MADE