Broadway’s ‘Torch Song’ to Close in January

Posted December 4, 2018 8:12 p.m. EST

NEW YORK — “Torch Song,” the slimmed-down revival of Harvey Fierstein’s 1980s trilogy, is ending its run on Broadway on Jan. 6. The play, about a drag performer looking for love and family, is a classic of gay theater, and in 1988 was adapted into a film featuring Matthew Broderick and Anne Bancroft, as well as Fierstein.

The revival, starring Michael Urie and featuring Mercedes Ruhl, was praised by critics, but failed to catch on with ticket buyers during a year rich with important gay plays (including starry revivals of “Angels in America” and “The Boys in the Band”). Last week it grossed $220,459, which is 34 percent of its potential, and about one-third of the theater’s seats went unsold.

The early closing is a disappointment for the show’s producers and for Second Stage, the nonprofit that developed the revival and is now its landlord. Second Stage had initially hoped that the play would run for a year; by the time the commercial production began, it was being billed as a 20-week run. Instead, it will close after 13 weeks (26 previews and 77 regular performances).

The play was capitalized for up to $3.4 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission; it has not recouped that investment.

The producers, led by Richie Jackson, said they will mount a national tour, starting next fall at the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles, starring Urie, who is winning plaudits for his performance as the lead character, Arnold Beckoff, in the Broadway production.

The original production, which opened on Broadway in 1982, won the 1983 Tony Award for best play, as well as for best actor for Fierstein.