The curtain is to fall on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest show Stephen Ward, a musical interpretation of the Profumo scandal, after less than four months following disappointing ticket sales. The musical, which cost £2.5m to stage, opened at the Aldwych Theatre on 19 December.
Stephen Ward producer Robert Fox said in a statement: ‘I am very sad to see the show close in London but firmly believe this piece will be seen by many audiences in the future.’
In response to the criticism the show had received, Lloyd Webber said in a letter to The Telegraph: ‘The difference between success and failure in musical theatre is a horrifyingly fine line. However, I believe that if you choose a subject purely because it appears commercial, catastrophe looms’.
According to statistics from The Society of London Theatre, out of the 24 longest-running shows on London’s West End, five are Andrew Lloyd Webber productions (Details correct as of November 2013: The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Starlight Express, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita).
Stephen Ward runs at the Aldwych Theatre until 29 March www.stephenwardthemusical.com.
Apollo Theatre: home of Curious Incident (Credit: Bikeworldtravel)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is to depart from the Apollo Theatre following the collapse of the venue’s auditorium celling. The production and the theatre had been due to reopen on 13 January.
Up to 80 people were injured, seven seriously, when plaster from the theatre’s roof and part of the balcony fell during an evening performance of the show on 19 December. More than 700 people were attending that evening’s performance.
National Theatre’s executive director Nick Starr said in a statement: ‘It will be a real wrench to leave that beautiful theatre, but sadly the closure of the gallery to enable its restoration means that the show no longer works economically there. We look forward to renewing our relationship with Nimax Theatres on another show in the future.’
Nica Burns, CEO of Nimax Theatres, said: ‘This was and is a deeply upsetting incident for everyone. We are sorry to lose such a wonderful production and wish it well.’
The production will transfer to the Gielgud Theatre, running from 24 June 2014 with the official opening night taking place on 8 July. Starr said: ‘We are grateful to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres for providing us with another home on Shaftesbury Avenue for the show’.
The National Theatre has also announced plans for free performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for schools and young people next month during the play’s lay-off period in February. These will be performed by the cast from the Apollo in a rehearsal-room format with minimal settings and lighting. Further details are to be announced by the National Theatre.