Last week the economic apocalypse hit Broadway with the announced closings of four shows. But as out-of-work actors and stagehands dine on old Playbills and light ushers on fire for heat, theater people still have reason to smile this morning — one of those shuttering musicals is The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein. The Times reports today that last week’s bad news for the show is inspiring an “unusual guilty glee” in those who hated it (i.e., just about everybody).
Thanks to the producers’ hilarious decision to charge upwards of $450 for premium seats at the outset, along with crappy reviews once the show opened, brokers and tour operators lost money when they found themselves holding too many expensive, unsellable tickets. Also, due to an unfortunate initial limitation on bulk purchases, many charities and theater groups were shut out (and by the time the policy was relaxed, the groups had already seen the reviews and likely decided to attend other, better shows). “The tour and travel people, they don’t forget,” says Scott Mallalieu, president of Group Sales Box Office, presumably while dancing in a conga line.
But there’s even more cause for celebration! The Times speculates that — despite producer Robert F.X. Sillerman’s outlandish claims to the contrary — Frankenstein might not have earned enough to repay its investors. Because the show cost “one and a half times more than The Producers, it would take the show that much longer to earn back its investment, which would seem to put the recoupment date beyond its Jan. 4 close” (especially with recent drops in ticket sales). It’s almost enough to make you forget that Broadway, along with the rest of our country, is just one slow holiday season away from total economic ruin!
Earlier: It’s Not Alive! ‘Young Frankenstein’ to Close in January Too
Related: Young Frankenstein [NYM]