The Broadway musical “Billy Elliot”, winner of 10 Tony Awards in 2009 and a hot ticket for much of its run, will close on January 8, 2012, after 3 years and 3 months of performances.
The decision to close came after a somewhat precipitous decline in ticket sales that accelerated through the late spring and summer amid competition from new musicals like “The Book of Mormon” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, hit revivals like “Anything Goes” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, and “Memphis”, the durable recipient of the 2010 Tony for best musical.
“Billy Elliot” was one of the most successful musicals in New York in recent years, earning back its capitalization of $18 million – a high figure for Broadway – in just 14 months.
In recent weeks the producers of “Billy Elliot” had cut some profane language from the show and made other minor changes to the script, like clarifying some of the dialogue, in hopes of appealing to groups that buy tickets in bulk. But “Billy Elliot” was unable to rely on another strategy of long-running musicals like “Chicago,” “Hairspray” and “Rent” – casting celebrity actors for limited periods – because key roles required significant dance experience. The United States tour of “Billy Elliot,” meanwhile, is scheduled to resume next month after a hiatus, during which, the producers said, costs are being cut to make the show more profitable on the road.
The first production of “Billy Elliot” opened in May 2005 in London, where it continues to run.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.