What makes a Broadway musical a flop? The truth is that Broadway is a brutal business, in which real success is enjoyed by only a handful of shows, while a vast majority crash and burn within the first 100 days – some even sooner. According to Theater Online, “Shows fail because not enough people buy tickets to see them. Maybe the title wasn’t as popular as the producers thought, the performers not as appealing, the stories not as dramatic, the songs not as memorable.”
This past year we heard so much of the success of Hamilton, School of Rock, On Your Feet!, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Color Purple. But what about the shows that flop? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest flops on Broadway.
- Carrie – With a whopping five shows, this, my friends, is the ultimate quick flop. Stephen King’s Carrie was a great book, a great movie, and a painfully expensive failure of a musical.
- Kelly – With a sad and pitiful one-night showing, Kelly wins for shortest run. Kelly opened and closed on the same night, with Howard Taubman savagely writing in the Times: “Ella Logan was written out of Kelly before it reached the Broadhurst Theater Saturday night. Congratulations, Ms. Logan.”
- Enron – This show, about the rise and fall of the Enron company, ran for only 15 nights. While the story itself was epic and true in nature, it did not last the boring mathematics that the audience endured.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Hard to believe that the film that did so well flopped on Broadway after 45 nights. Rocky Horror got the last laugh, however, eventually becoming the longest running theatrical release in film history.
Visit us next month as we look at the best and worst of children’s musicals.