‘King Lear’ Revival Will Close Early on Broadway
The Broadway revival of “King Lear,” starring Glenda Jackson as the anguished male monarch, will close a month early.
The production, directed by Sam Gold, opened in April to mixed reviews. In The New York Times, Ben Brantley praised Ms. Jackson for “a powerful and deeply perceptive performance,” but described the show as a “glittery, haphazard production.”
Others were tougher — in The Washington Post, Peter Marks called the production “confoundingly muddled,” while in New York magazine, Sara Holdren said “the painful truth is that Sam Gold’s King Lear is a hot, heavy mess.”
The show, which is at least the 20th Broadway production of the Shakespeare tragedy, arrived as one of the most highly anticipated productions of the season, given that it offered New York audiences the chance to see Ms. Jackson take on one of the stage’s titanic challenges.
Yet it was largely snubbed by the Tony Awards nominators. Ms. Jackson, who had triumphantly returned to the Broadway stage last season with a Tony-winning performance in “Three Tall Women,” was not nominated; neither was the production as best revival. Ruth Wilson got the only nod as best featured actress for her portrayals of two roles, Cordelia and Lear’s fool.
The play, one of five this season with Scott Rudin as its lead producer, cost up to $4.95 million to capitalize, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and it has not recouped those costs.
Its grosses have been softening — it brought in $285,108 at the box office during the week ending June 2, which is 32 percent of its potential, according to the Broadway League.
And the audiences have been getting smaller over the course of its run — for seven weeks the theater was over 80 percent full, but last week it was at just 60 percent capacity.
The revival began performances at the Cort Theater on Feb. 28 and was scheduled to run until July 7. Instead, it will now close on June 9. At the time of its closing, it will have had 34 previews and 76 regular performances.
A spokesman for Mr. Rudin declined to comment on Monday.