'Young Frankenstein' sets closing date

November 23, 2008 7:09:45 PM PST
"Young Frankenstein" is closing after nearly 500 Broadway performances, a much shorter run than Mel Brooks' previous big stage effort, "The Producers." The decision was announced Sunday by producer Robert F.X. Sillerman. Brooks' monster spoof, based on his 1974 movie, will have played a little over a year - 484 performances - when it folds Jan. 4.

"As anyone who has seen this stunning production can attest, it is a spectacular and extravagant musical," Sillerman said in a statement. "In these uncertain economic times, my partners and I have decided to end our run on Broadway and focus our efforts on the first national tour, which will launch in September 2009."

It's uncertain how much of the show's considerable production costs have been recouped since the musical opened in November 2007 at the Hilton Theatre, one of Broadway's largest houses.

In the past, Sillerman has declined to publicly reveal what "Young Frankenstein" cost or its weekly grosses. Other Broadway shows release their grosses each week in a report put out by the Broadway League, the theater's trade organization.

Most musicals with big casts and lavish sets and costumes similar to "Young Frankenstein" cost $15 million to $20 million these days.

"Young Frankenstein," which was the most anticipated Broadway musical of last season, stars Roger Bart as the title character.

The current cast also includes Shuler Hensley as the monster and Beth Leavel as Frau Blucher.

Brooks co-wrote the book for stage show with Thomas Meehan. He also contributed the music and lyrics. The musical was directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman.

The three had previously been involved with "The Producers," which ran for six years and won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards, including the prize for best musical.

Business on Broadway usually skids in January after the holidays. Also ending their runs in early 2009 are "Hairspray" and "13," both shutting Jan. 4; "Monty Python's Spamalot," closing Jan. 11; and "Spring Awakening" bringing down the curtain Jan. 18.


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