“Even though New York City is getting stronger every day and ticket sales are slowly improving, theatergoing tourists and, especially for our show, family audiences have not returned as soon as we anticipated,” Kevin McCollum, the show’s producer, said in a statement Thursday. “Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to run the show without those sales, especially when capitalizing with Broadway economics on three separate occasions.”
Other Broadway productions have also struggled in this new landscape. A much-praised revival of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” which had struggled at the box office, announced last week that it would close May 22, just a month after opening and three months earlier than planned. But on Thursday, after receiving seven Tony Award nominations and a social media campaign to sponsor female-identifying people of color with a pair of gifted tickets, it announced it will now play an additional two weeks, through June 5.
Last week “Mrs. Doubtfire” grossed $477,132, and the audience was just 69 percent full. Still, the show is moving forward with a British engagement, which McCollum said is scheduled to play for a month starting Sept. 2 in Manchester, England; a U.S. tour is also scheduled to kick off in October 2023.
In development for years and capitalized for $17 million, the production had gotten through just three preview performances in March 2020 when Broadway shut down. After a 19-month hiatus, “Mrs. Doubtfire” resumed previews last October and opened on Dec. 5, bolstered by a nearly $10 million grant from the Small Business Administration. It opened to tepid reviews — and a pan in The New York Times — just as Omicron began causing cases to spike again.
Then, in a startling example of the financial damage caused by the pandemic shutdown, McCollum decided to close his production for several months, saying he saw no other way to save it. The musical comedy temporarily closed Jan. 10, and had planned to reopen on March 14, but later postponed its reopening until April 14. The closure cost 115 people their jobs for that period.