What went wrong with Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Broadway revival that shut down Sunday just one week after it opened? Everything, according to the Times.
There were no big stars like Jude Law in the current commercial hit Hamlet, there was no marketing campaign that framed the Simon play as a can’t-miss theatrical event, and there was no wow factor that brought the period piece to life, like the breakneck pacing of the popular farce Boeing-Boeing last year. But the failure also reflects America’s evolving sense of humor and taste.
How exactly has our sense of humor evolved? We’ve left behind the snappy dialogue of Simon’s sitcom-style plays in favor of “reality shows like American Idol,” the “sardonic humor of The Office,” the “wit of Up“, and the “fratty banter of The Hangover.” The result: a $3 million production by one of America’s most celebrated playwrights that can’t make more than $125,000 a week. Thanks a lot, Simon Cowell. And Steve Carell. And Pixar. And Mike Tyson’s tiger.