Catching a show on Broadway is one of those bucket list experiences which sees travelers flock to New York City.
With 41 large theatres concentrated near the iconic Times Square, millions of tourists descend upon Manhattan each year to see the best Broadway shows, from long-running phenomenons such as The Lion King to more recent hits like Aladdin and Hamilton.
But between plays, musicals, and revivals, there’s a lot of variety out there, and sometimes, even shows which make it to Broadway end up being a flop.
The Biggest Broadway Flops in History
Why Does a Broadway Show Flop?
You know how a movie will sometimes only appear for a limited run, then disappear from cinemas? Do you recall those films that receive hype for months, then wind up tanking and getting removed from the marquee?
Shows fail on Broadway in the same manner. Although there are vast differences between the theater world and the production of movies or TV shows, some elements are the same. For example, just because a series is green-lighted for a pilot and first season, it might not get through more than four episodes before the network takes it off the roster.
The Great White Way is the same. Occasionally, a show never makes it past the preview stage. The musical version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” only got through four preview cities before audiences voiced their opinions of the new and unimproved Holly Golightly.
“Kelly,” a show about a busboy who attempts to survive a jump from the Brooklyn Bridge, got through seven previews, but only managed a single performance. At least “Kelly” did better than Holly. “Carrie: The Musical,” based on Stephen King’s iconic novel, put on five performances… but a pig slaughter turned out to be a poor subject for a song and dance number.
You can never tell if a Broadway show will fail or succeed. The actors, directors, and producers behind performances that impress preview audiences never expect to flop once they hit the stage in NYC, but it happens. Continue reading to learn more about Broadway’s biggest failures — and how much money they lost their investors.
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