Perhaps theatre fans have the mentality that when a show closes on Broadway, that is the end of the run unless it gets a tour. The fact is, that for most productions when the lights go down on Broadway it is the end of the road. However, here are three shows that closed on Broadway and were revived Off-Broadway.
Avenue Q is about a recent college graduate named Princeton who is looking for his first New York City apartment. When he moves in, he meets his next-door neighbors Kate, Rod, Trekkie Monster and other colorful puppet characters, such as Lucy — and I don’t mean the one from Charlie Brown. By the end of this musical, Princeton finds his purpose in life with the help of his friends. This show combines puppetry with an engaging storyline and music that will leave you wanting more. This musical is something that feels current because it uses a real-life situation; college graduates have experienced the same doubts as those of the title character. With music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, as well script by Jeff Whitty, this musical has all the makings of a hit. After the musical closed its six-year run on Broadway, Avenue Q opened a month later at New World Stages III on October 21, 2009, and is still entertaining audiences nightly.
Avenue Q is clever, witty and has a lot of heart to boot which is what I enjoy most about the piece. What keeps people coming back is because every time you see it, you will notice something new. Today more than ever, audiences like to go to the theatre for an escape and that is just what this production is — a fun escape for older teens and adults that will have you leave the theatre smiling.
Another musical making a splash Off-Broadway is Jersey Boys; a tale about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The band was four men from New Jersey and until they sang, nobody had heard anything like the sound of this group. While the Boys might seem like they had it all, off stage it was an entirely different story. Music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and script by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, this musical has found global venues. After almost 12 years on Broadway, the revival opened at New World Stages I on November 22, 2017, and has an open-ended run.
Known as a rock and roll musical, Jersey Boys is another story about real people and the drama of their on– and off-stage lives. The well-loved music and lyrics create a nostalgia factor, which keeps fans coming back to this show. A timeless rag to riches tale that people enjoy hearing because they find it relatable. This is another fun night for playgoers that are looking for something less avant-garde than Avenue Q.
A comedy called The 39 Steps, based on the film of the same name, this play follows Richard Hannay who is seeing a demonstration of (a man with a photographic memory) “Mr. Memory,” when a fight breaks out and a gunshot is fired. Hannay needs to console a frightened Annabella Schmidt who ultimately talks him into inviting her back to his flat. After they arrive safely, Annabella reveals that she is a spy, and assassins from an espionage organization known as The 39 Steps are trying to kill her. Hilarity ensues in this vaudeville-style play with only four actors performing many multiple roles (some reviews state over 100 roles) in the show! Based on the original novel by John Buchan, a concept by Nobby Dimon and Simon Corbie, the film by Alfred Hitchcock and Patrick Barlow writing the play, you’re in for a night of ‘Monty Python’ style fun. While this production had a huge nine-year impact on London’s West End and abroad, the Broadway version opened in 2008 and closed in 2010; then went off-Broadway to New World Stages I. The play enjoyed a brief Off-Broadway return in 2015 to Union Square Theatre and closed on January 3, 2016.
It is laugh-aloud funny with numerous references to Hitchcock’s other famous film titles. Due to the film of the same name, it had the draw because fans of the movie wanted to see how well the play measured up to the movie they love. Nostalgia is a factor here as well because it takes you back to the time of vaudeville. A Broadway revival is anticipated for 2018-2019.
Do you have a show that closed on Broadway than opened Off-Broadway? Let us know in the comments.
(Photo credits: Walter McBride, Joan Marcus, and Jessica Fallon Gordon.