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Top 10 Musicals That BOMBED ON Broadway

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  • Jeffrey Kare
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    WatchMojo just published a video of the Top 10 Broadway musicals that were initial flops…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4lKgJfsYws

    What do you think?

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    Andrew Carden
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    Big was legit headache-inducing stuff. Taboo, on the other hand – a marvelous musical that unfortunately never had a prayer outside the West End.

    I would nominate A Class Act, the Ed Kleban musical that was beloved when it played off-Broadway but struggled in its move to the Great White Way. One hell of a musical but, if I recall correctly, it was playing to like 25% capacity in its final weeks.

    For the finest in film reviews and awards analysis (and my annual Oscar predictions contest), please visit me at The Awards Connection!

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    Alex Meyer
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    I’m surprised they never mentioned any Sondheim flops like Anyone Can Whistle or Merrily We Roll Along or Lloyd Webber flops like Sunset Boulevard or The Woman In White.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    I would nominate A Class Act, the Ed Kleban musical that was beloved when it played off-Broadway but struggled in its move to the Great White Way. One hell of a musical but, if I recall correctly, it was playing to like 25% capacity in its final weeks.

    It even closed the week after the Tonys that year.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    I’m surprised they never mentioned any Sondheim flops like Anyone Can Whistle or Merrily We Roll Along or Lloyd Webber flops like Sunset Boulevard or The Woman In White.

    Nor did they mention any of Disney’s flops such as Tarzan and The Little Mermaid.

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    adamunc
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    Nick & Nora was a 1991 mega-flop with big names attached which became famous for its nine weeks of previews (unheard-of at the time, but later surpassed by Spiderman‘s fifteen weeks). It received dismissive reviews and closed after nine performances. It had a book and direction by Arthur Laurents and a score by Charles Strouse and Richard Maltby, Jr. It starred Barry Bostwick, Joanna Gleason, Faith Prince, Christine Baranski, and Chris Sarandon.

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    Andrew Carden
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    I admittedly once owned a bootleg of one of the Nick & Nora previews. Bostwick and Gleason were awfully charming but holy shit were the score and book a disaster. The plot was all but impossible to follow.

    For the finest in film reviews and awards analysis (and my annual Oscar predictions contest), please visit me at The Awards Connection!

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    adamunc
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    I remember being in NY when it was previewing. The word of mouth was just poisonous. Even people who didn’t really follow Broadway knew Nick & Nora was a dog.

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    Alex Meyer
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    I guess Moose Murders at #1 isn’t much of a surprise. I know Frank Rich considered it to be the worst show he had ever seen during his tenure as chief theater critic of the New York Times.

    Also, there’s The Visit. That show was certainly a high-profile flop, having started all the way back in 2001 with Angela Lansbury in the lead role. It was also one of the last collaborative scores between John Kander and Fred Ebb, and Terrence McNally wrote the book. But of course, after 9/11 happened, the plot was deemed too depressing for Broadway audiences and Lansbury left the production to care for her ailing husband.

    Chita Rivera then stepped in, and after years of revisions and out-of-town tryouts, finally premiered on Broadway in 2015. But despite the anticipation, it received mixed reviews and poor ticket sales, and Rivera’s leading man Roger Rees had to depart the production a few weeks later because of his advanced-stage brain cancer, from which he died of later that summer. The show also failed to win all 5 of its Tony nominations, and ended up closing a week after the Tonys that year.

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    Alex Meyer
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    I just realized, even though Moose Murders is the most infamous flop in Broadway history, it technically shouldn’t even be on this list because it’s a play, not a musical. So therefore, its inclusion on this list is contradictory to the title of the video. If they wished to include it, the video should have just been called Top 10 Broadway Flops and consisted of both plays and musicals.

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    SHT L
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    I saw a very small, slimmed-down production of Big where they brought the “Heart and Soul” piano scene from the movie (I believe an original tune took over in the original production) with Kerry Butler and John Tartaglia in the lead roles and I have to say that it really worked in a much smaller venue. The music and book was able to shine a lot more and you realize this is actually a show about relationships between between and calls for more nuanced and intimate directing, not the bloated, overproduced monstrosity that the original production had.

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