Reprise Theatre Company cancels production of 'The Baker’s Wife'
The Reprise Theatre Company said Wednesday that it has pulled the plug on its February production of the musical "The Baker's Wife," citing weak overall ticket sales and donations. The company said it is contacting ticket holders to arrange for refunds.
"The Baker's Wife" had been scheduled to run Feb. 14-26 and was supposed to be the second show of the 2011-12 season. Reprise said that its production of "The Apple Tree," the third show of the season, will be performed April 17-29 as originally announced.
Christine Bernardi Weil, managing director of Reprise, said in a phone interview Wednesday that donations and ticket sales are weak for the company, especially coming off its recent production of "Cabaret." She said despite positive word of mouth, the company saw lower box-office revenue than it had expected for "Cabaret."
"Subscriptions in general were lower, and looking at how that show performed, it gave us a sense of what we could expect going forward," Weil said. "I think we're seeing more a reflection of the economy than we did last season and we have to re-adjust."
Reprise recently held a benefit concert starring Patti LuPone. The concert raised some money for the company but less than expected, according to Weil.
With the cancellation of "The Baker's Wife," she said Reprise should be able to move through the remainder of the season. The company usually stages its limited-run revival productions at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. Jason Alexander serves as Reprise's artistic director.
"The Baker's Wife" is a Stephen Schwartz musical that has seen many revisions since it was first staged in Los Angeles in 1976. Based on the 1938 French film by Marcel Pagnol, it tells the story of a small French town where Denise, the wife of the baker, observes the daily life of her neighbors.
"The Apple Tree" is by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, and is a collection of three short musicals. In 2006, the musical was revived on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth.
Reprise said it will be launching a fundraising effort "to help offset the loss of patrons and donors from the economy." The campaign will include a continuation of Reprise's single-night concert series, the company said.
-- David Ng
Photo: Jason Alexander and Stephanie J. Block perform in Reprise Theatre Company's "They're Playing Our Song," at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, in 2010. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times