Shortest running shows ever to hit Broadway

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If you recall, a few weeks ago I posted a list of the longest running Broadway shows and promised to follow up with a list of the shows with the shortest runs. It turns out, there have been a LOT of really terrible shows with incredibly short runs. Here are my top picks:

10. High Fidelity

You've seen the movie, right? Well, this is a musical based on the novel upon which the movie is based. It should have been good, but it makes the top ten shortest runs on my list, as it closed in December 2006 after only 14 regular performances and 18 previews.

9. Elling

Elling was a play based on a Norwegian film of the same name, starring Brendan Fraser and Denis O'Hare. The story is of two mismatched roommates, ala "The Odd Couple." Despite a situation that's ripe with comedy, the play closed after only nine regular performances.

8. Lolita

Colin discussed an early incarnation of this production, called Lolita, My Love, in his post on how NOT to get musicals to Broadway. But a play based on the classic novel did make it to Broadway 10 years later...only to close nine days after it began.

7. The Blonde in the Thunderbird

The Blonde in the Thunderbird was Suzanne Somers' one-woman show, made up of stories from her life and career. Apparently Broadway audiences weren't all that interested, because she had to close up shop after 10 previews and 9 regular performances.

6. Anyone Can Whistle

For me, this is one of the most surprising shows on the list. The musical was written by the legend that is Stephen Sondheim, and it featured eventual stage and screen legend Angela Lansbury in her first stage musical role. If someone pitched this to me today, I would be joyous. But something clearly went horribly wrong, since Anyone Can Whistle was panned and closed after nine regular performances (are we seeing a pattern here?).

5. Story of My Life

This musical only featured two characters: two childhood friends and how their relationship evolved over 30 years of their lives. But the story of Story of My Life isn't too uplifting...the show shuttered after only five regular performances. (But gets worse! Four more left on the list!)

4. Carrie

Carrie was one of the most expensive theatrical disasters of all-time. The production cost $8 million to mount (which was nothing to sneeze at in the 1980s, or today for that matter), but investors pulled funding after 5 regular performances and 16 previews.

3. The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

This was a one-woman play starring Ellen Burstyn, as she told stories through the eyes of...well, the title character. The show opened November 17, 2003, and closed the next day, after two total regular performances.

2. Glory Days

Nearing the top of the worst list, we have Glory Days, which was about a group of high school friends reuniting one year after graduation. But most people never got to see what happened, because the show closed RIGHT AFTER opening night. So, if you're keeping track, that's exactly ONE regular performance.

1. Moose Murders

Here's another show that has starred in a previous post; this one was featured in my post about terrible theater reviews. Moose Murders is basically the standard of terrible shows, against which all other terrible shows are measured. The play closed on opening night, right after the first regular performance, and after being ripped apart by critics.

Did I miss any super-short Broadway runs? Or have you seen a show that you think SHOULD have had a very short run? Let us know in the comments!


Comments (4) -

Adam_in_NYC said...

"Brothers" (1983) also closed after one regular performance, even though it starred Carroll O'Connor. It's difficult to find any information about this play!

July 14, 2012 at 12:01 AM

James DeSalvo
James DeSalvo said...

Frankenstein the Musical 1981 opened and closed the same night.

August 1, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Lauren said...

You missed the Breakfast at Tiffany's musical. After only 4 preview performances it closed without actually opening.

October 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Carl said...

Wasn't  Donny Osmond in a musical called "Yankee Doodle Dandy" which closed after 1 night?
  or did it ever make it out of previews?  does anyoe know?

November 23, 2012 at 8:31 PM