Disaster! and Neverland to close on Broadway

Faith Prince, Kevin Chamberlin and Kerry Butler in Disaster! at the Nederlander Theatre, New York. Picture: Jeremy Daniel Photography

Faith Prince, Kevin Chamberlin and Kerry Butler in Disaster! at the Nederlander Theatre, New York. Picture: Jeremy Daniel Photography

The fallout from the Tony nominations has begun. Disaster!, the musical spoofing all those 1980 disaster movies, announced it would close 8 May instead of its earlier scheduled closing of 3 July. In the Hamilton-dominated Tony race, the show received only one nomination, for its featured actress Jennifer Simard, portraying a gambling-addicted nun with a very special thing for slot machines.

Disaster!, takes place on a casino ship in New York harbour, beset by everything from earthquakes to killer bees, not to mention a jukebox score of 1980s pop tunes. Most tellingly, though, it suffered from a lack of ticket-buyers.

The show officially opened on 8 March. It had had two earlier Off-Broadway runs. With its closing, it counts 32 previews and 72 regular performances on Broadway.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated move, Finding Neverland, the musical exploring how James M. Barrie came to write Peter Pan, posted a closing notice of 21 August.

A national tour is planned to start in October, with an eventual return to Broadway, as well as a transfer to London’s West End in spring 2017.

The show, which opened on Broadway in April 2015, will have played 33 previews and 565 performances, overcoming the fact that in last year’s Tony race it received nary a nomination. It also marked the Broadway producing debut of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who further announced with the closing that he was planning a movie version of the musical, which was in turn based on a non-musical movie.

These latest closings follow the farewell notice from Matilda the Musical, which last month said it would wind up its run on 1 January, chalking up nearly 1,600 performances.

In contrast to Disaster! and Finding Neverland, Matilda, which opened in April 2013, was well favoured by the Tonys, picking up five awards, including a special one for the four girls alternating as the title character. However, it lost out as Best Musical to Kinky Boots.

Ron Cohen 

Readers may also be interested in:

Finding Neverland – Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, new York – Review

Disaster! – Nederlander Theatre, New York – Review

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