Why Did the Broadway Musical ‘Leap of Faith’ Fail So Quickly?

leap-of-faithBroadway is a tough business, with many shows taking years to recoup their initial costs and others never breaking even.  One from this season that is likely to fall into the latter category is Leap of Faith, which despite four Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical) is closing after being open for less than a month because of poor ticket sales.  Based on a more-or-less forgotten 1992 Steve Martin movie, the New York Times did an extensive write-up analyzing why the show failed and the perils of Broadway productions.

It’s rare that a Tony-nominated play closes before the Tony Awards since the production will not only won’t be able to reap the publicity that comes from the nominations but also won’t be able to be seen by the awards voters.  That didn’t make a difference for Leap of Faith, which according to the Times was losing about $275,000 per week as a result of bad tickets sales that were blamed on awful reviews. 

Still, a number of high-grossing musicals do well despite negative reviews, so what was particularly wrong with Leap of Faith?

The Times argues that Leap failed on three important levels that help bolster the box office of a less-than-stellar show: it didn’t have the familiar subject matter (the 1992 movie certainly doesn’t top anyone’s “must see” list), it didn’t feature a major star (the lead actor, Raúl Esparza, is certainly popular, but not among the Broadway stratosphere), and it doesn’t have a “jukebox” selection of popular songs for a soundtrack. 

Leap of Faith also bumped up its premiere date from fall 2012 because of the failure of the previous tenant of the St. James Theatre, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, with producers concerned that if they waited the St. James Theatre would’ve booked another show that would leave Leap‘s premiere date in limbo.  Perhaps with more time to hone the show the producers could have created a more successful product, but the quick turnaround of Broadway took that option off the table.

Nonetheless, the failure of Leap of Faith is not out of the ordinary since every Broadway season brings both hits and misses.  Some of the producers of Leap of Faith, including Thomas Viertel, Richard Frankel, and Steven Brauch, have previously produced the Broadway mega-hits Hairspray and The Producers, so it’s not like the producers lacked Broadway experience.  But the business of Broadway being what it is, it’s no surprise that even a few negative associations with a show can totally derail it no matter how many awards it gets nominated for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/director-david-gordon-greene-nar.jpg
Director David Gordon Green Narrates a Scene From ‘Joe’
Director David Gordon Green narrates a sequence from his new film, Joe, featuring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan. In the video, he mentions his reasons why he likes to hire non-traditional actors. He likes people who have real skill-sets and not actors who have the skills on their resume. He also talked about this in […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/david-gordon-green-joe.jpg
Director David Gordon Green: “I find actors in unusual places”
I keep missing screenings of director David Gordon Greene‘s new film, Joe. I hear it’s really good so I’m looking forward to catching it at some point. Joe stars Nicholas Cage as ex-con Joe Ransom, who isn’t the greatest of role models until he meets a 15-year-old boy (Mud‘s Tye Sheridan). In this featurette, Green […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/judy-greer-i-dont-know-why-you-know-me-from.jpg
Please Don’t Say These Things To Judy Greer (video)
Judy Greer - who we love here at Daily Actor – has a new book called, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From (Confessions of a Co-Star), a series of essays about her life as an actress, friend and someone who everyone thinks they might know. Here’s a blurb about the book: “Want to […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Captain-America-SamuelNick-Fury.jpg
How Samuel L. Jackson Learns His Lines for the Marvel Movies (video)
Samuel L. Jackson stopped by Good Morning America earlier this week to talk about Captain America: The Winter Soldier – which is terrific, by the way – and he told Robin Roberts that for the first Cap film, he had trouble learning his lines. “I sat at home and I did all my studying, and […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/andy-karl-margot-seibert-rocky.jpg
Andy Karl and Margo Seibert Talk ‘Rocky: The Musical’ on ‘Today’
Andy Karl and Margo Seibert, the stars of Rocky: The Musical, talked to Today‘s Matt Lauer about the new Broadway musical. Karl talks about the final fight and taking on the iconic role. This is Seibert’s Broadway debut and she’s asked about her callbacks (9 in all!) and more. Check it out!