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Credits to roll early for 'Looped,' starring Valerie Harper, on Broadway

April 5, 2010 |  2:24 pm


Not even an aggressive Facebook and Twitter campaign from Valerie Harper could save "Looped" from the dustbin of Broadway.

On Monday, producers announced that the production will close on Sunday after just 25 regular performances at the Lyceum Theater.

The comedy had been playing to half-filled houses in recent days. For the most recent week, the play grossed $168,351, putting it near the bottom of Broadway's box-office rankings.

"Looped," which stars Harper in the role of Tallulah Bankhead, follows the screen star on a day when she shows up for a post-production session on her movie "Die! Die! My Darling!" to loop a line of dialogue.

The seemingly straightforward task proves increasingly challenging for the aging actress, who grows more intoxicated and uninhibited as the day progresses.

Written by Matthew Lombardo, the play received positive notices for Harper's turn as the soused Bankhead, but critics were less enthusiastic about the story overall.

The Emmy-winning Harper has been heavily promoting the show via social media, including posts that give Web surfers a behind-the-curtain look at visits from celebrity friends.

The show also has its own Facebook fan page. "This ...!! I had tickets for June," wrote one Facebook user on Monday afternoon.

"Looped" ran at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2008 in a production that also starred Harper. In his review, Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote that the comedy replays "the Bankhead tapes we've heard a million times already, but Harper proves the heretical wit hasn't lost its power to startle."

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from "Looped" at the Pasadena Playhouse. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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