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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST NEW YORK NEWS

at the Walter Kerr

By David Lefkowitz
Published July 3 2007

What do a Tony nomination for Best Musical and Tony wins for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress bring to a show? Not a heckuva lot if you're Grey Gardens, the acclaimed Broadway musical which will close at the Walter Kerr Theater July 29 after 22 previews and 307 regular performances.

Early in the 2006-07 season Grey Gardens was the musical to beat for all the big awards, but then came Spring Awakening, and the theater community swung towards that fresh, brash rock musical and away from the more traditional, Sondheim/Guettel-influenced work of Grey Gardens tunesmiths Scott Frankel and Michael Korie. That said, producers hoped the Tony win for leading lady Christine Ebersole , along with the supporting nod to Mary Louise Wilson, would boost the show's box office.

The week ending June 3, Grey Gardens grossed $328,000, with houses running at 65 percent. On June 10 (the night of the Tony's), grosses rose to $430,000. Over the following week, the show took in $460K, with similar numbers the week after that. The week ending July 1, Grey Gardens was down to $440,000. Not terrible numbers, but, as producer Kelly Gonda said in a statement, "We always knew that Grey Gardens faced a uphill challenge during the summer months, and so we made the difficult decision to end our run on July 29 with our incomparable original cast."

Earlier in the week, the producers had announced that although Mary Louise Wilson was leaving the show on that date, another actress was being sought for her role, while Christine Ebersole stayed on. Now, the latter is expected to recreate her roles of Edith and "Little" Edie Beale when the show opens in London this season. also reports rumors of a television taping of the Broadway production before it closes.

Another factor in Grey Gardens' relatively short Broadway life is that it opened early in the season - after already having an off-Broadway run (at Playwrights Horizons) last year. Its relatively cultish subject matter - about the aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy - may have also limited its audience.

The book for Grey Gardens, based on a 1975 documentary by David and Albert Maysles, was penned by I Am My Own Wife Pulitzer winner, Doug Wright.

Describing the show for, composer Scott Frankel wrote, "The themes explored...have always fascinated me--roads not taken, missed opportunities, love spiked with resentment, decay, reality vs. delusion, things that are not `black and white' but literally `grey.'" Much like the business of Broadway.



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