May 14, 2020 | 4:14pm | Updated May 14, 2020 | 4:39pm
Caissie Levy and Patti Murin in ‘Frozen’ on Broadway.
Alamy Stock Photo
“Frozen the Musical” will close on Broadway, Disney announced Thursday, making it the biggest theatrical demise caused by the coronavirus pandemic so far.
The $30 million musical becomes the third show to prematurely shutter during the crisis, following the plays “Hangmen” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” starring Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett. Those shows, however, were much smaller and had limited runs. Until Thursday, “Frozen” had no stated plans to close at the St. James Theatre.
Several other productions due to open this spring, such as the comedy “Plaza Suite,” starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, and the musical revival “Caroline, or Change,” have delayed their openings until 2021.
The “Frozen” cast was told the grim news by Disney Theatricals president Thomas Schumacher on Thursday.
The closure comes in the wake of the Broadway League making the unfortunate, if inevitable, announcement that all Broadway shows would remain dark through at least Sept. 6 — depriving productions of summer tourist business and, vitally for “Frozen,” kids on summer break. Most insiders don’t expect a butt in a Broadway seat till winter at the earliest.
“Frozen,” a billion-dollar franchise for Disney, did respectable business on Broadway, but it lacked the consistency and broad appeal of “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” — not to mention the reviews — and attendance often dipped dramatically during off-peak seasons. Having opened in March 2018, its run lasted just over two years. Disney is cagey about its finances, but “Frozen” most likely did not recoup its investment.
Plans are on for West End and European productions, however. “Frozen” is slated to reopen the newly renovated Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London in the fall. But insiders say reaching opening night on time is a long shot.