Last dive for Broadway's 'The Little Mermaid' set for Aug. 30
Ariel and her underwater friends have officially run out of air. Producers of "The Little Mermaid" on Broadway announced today that the musical will end its run Aug. 30 after 685 performances and 50 previews. A national tour is set to begin in fall 2010.
Based on the 1989 Disney animated film, "The Little Mermaid" opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in January 2008 to scathing reviews. The New York Times called it "charm-free" and added that "on Broadway, the Disney magic touch has gone numb." The show, directed by opera veteran Francesca Zambello, earned two Tony nominations (for score and lighting design) but lost both.
In a statement, Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions, said that "it would be fiscally irresponsible to our shareholders to risk operating losses with such a big show in the historically challenging fall months. We are closing the Broadway production to concentrate on the long future life of this title -- beginning with next year’s national tour and upcoming international productions."
"The Little Mermaid" has fared better than Disney's "Tarzan," which closed on Broadway after 486 performances. But the show did not perform as well as "Aida," which ran for 1,852 performances. Disney's biggest success on Broadway remains "The Lion King," directed by Julie Taymor, which opened in 1997 and is currently running at the Minskoff Theatre.
No word yet on which cities will be part of "The Little Mermaid" national tour, although producers said they have already begun work on this next phase.
-- David Ng
Photo: A scene from the Broadway production of Disney's "The Little Mermaid." Credit: Joan Marcus