Some Broadway shows are getting a lucrative post-Tony “bounce” as summer tourists flock to New York City. Almost nobody flocked to these misbegotten musicals.
- Into the Light (1986) was the story of a physicist (Dean Jones, from That Darn Cat and The Love Bug), who becomes obsessed with examining the Shroud of Turin to determine if it really was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. He escapes into his work, leaving his son so lonely he conjures up an imaginary friend: a modern-dancing mime. Throw in some priest doing line kicks and mid-show laser light extravaganza, and this musical about the conflict between science and religion still couldn’t last more than six performances.
- In the 1880s, a New York daredevil named Steve Brodie claimed to have survived a jump from the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1965, his story was fictionalized, set to show tunes, and produced on Broadway as Kelly. The plot: a busboy named Kelly bets a bunch of inveterate gamblers that he can jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. It was the first Broadway musical experience for both the writer and producer. Critics panned it, and Kelly closed after a mere one performance.
- A few weeks ago, we wrote about the failed attempt to tour a massive production of Verdi’s opera Aida around the U.S. in 1990. Americans apparently don’t like Aida in most forms—an adaptation of the 1871 opera opened on Broadway in 1952. How do you adapt an opera—which is all music—into a musical? You keep most of the beautiful music, write new English lyrics for them, keep the plot, and change the setting…and come up with something like My Darlin’ Aida. The opera was set in the Memphis of ancient Egypt; My Darlin’ Aida was set in the Memphis, Tennessee of 1861. Audiences did not respond well to a show about slave uprisings, KKK rides, racially-motivated beatings, and a tragic death for the romantic leads. (Hey, it’s based on an opera.) Total number of performances: 89.