Broadway in Bryant Park 2012: Ghost the Musical, Cirque du Soleil: Zarkana, Sister Act, Memphis & Wicked – July 19, 2012

Broadway in Bryant Park is a free event held for six consecutive Thursday afternoons in July and August which features performances from four to five different Broadway and Off Broadway shows, presented by 106.7 Lite FM, a local NY radio station, and hosted by one of their radio personalities. As it is a free event, and the fact that Bryant Park is a public park, there is no assigned seating (or formal arranged seating for that matter) and you would need to get there early to ensure you have a good view of the stage. Naturally (as my wont) I arrived at Bryant Park hours before the event started and set up my own chair as close to the stage as I could on the lawn (there is a gravel area in front of the grassy area where chairs and tables were set up for the press and reserved seating for the VIPs, which were usually contest winners or employees from the sponsors).

The weather was overcast and pleasantly breezy, a sharp contrast to the heat and humidity that had been lingering in the past few days. The chairs for the general seating area were set up shortly after I arrived, lined up in rows of six with space for walking aisles; thankfully where I had situated myself was compliant with the seat arrangement. By 10:30 the seats began to fill with families, couples and individuals, and the sound check commenced shortly before 11AM. As it was quite an overcast morning, the threat of rain was omnipresent; in fact there were a few minutes of misty rain, which caused the stage technicians to scramble to cover up the electrical equipment (thankfully the rain didn’t return until later on that evening).

The shows that were scheduled to perform were Ghost the Musical, Cirque du Soleil: Zarkana, Sister Act, Memphis and Wicked, and often at these events, the understudies, standbys or ensemble members perform, though occasionally the leads do perform. Each show performs a few songs from their respective shows (though in the case of Cirque du Soleil: Zarkana, the cast performed scenes from their show). The 106.7 Lite FM host was Christine Nagy.

106.7 Lite FM host Christine Nagy

First to perform was Cirque du Soleil: Zarkana, currently playing at Radio City Music Hall until September 2, 2012, and is about a magician in search of his lost love. As with most Cirque du Soleil shows, the performance featured flag throwers (Federico Pisapia, Vincenzo Schiavo, Giuseppe Schiavo and Marco Senatore) and a pair of clowns (Larry Wayne Wilson and Daniel Passer) performing a humorous sketch involving bouncy (and not-so-bouncy) balls. Several other cast members (Jason Nious, Jeremie Robert, Michael Duffy and Tom Cholot) and musicians (Keith Paraska, and Peter Fand) wandered about the crowds as well.

Cast of Cirque du Soleil: Zarkana:
Flag Throwers – Federico Pisapia, Vincenzo Schiavo, Giuseppe Schiavo and Marco Senatore
Clowns – Daniel Passer & Larry Wayne Wilson

Next to perform was Wicked, currently playing at the Gershwin Theatre, and tells the back story of Elphaba and Galinda, who would later be known as (respectively) the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. Standbys Donna Vivino and Kate Fahrner perform three songs: Donna Vivino sang “The Wizard and I”, Kate Fahrner sang “Popular” and both sang “For Good”.

Top (from left to right): Donna Vivino & Kate Fahrner
Bottom: Kate Fahrner & Donna Vivino

Next was Memphis, currently playing at the Shubert Theatre until August 5, 2012, and tells the story of Huey Calhoun, an aspiring white DJ and Felicia Farrell, an aspiring black singer in 1950s Memphis and how (to paraphrase the show’s marking tag line) his vision and her voice gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll. Ensemble members Kevin Massey and Dan’yelle Williamson perform three songs: Kevin Massey sang “Music of my Soul”, Dan’yelle Williamson, sang “Colored Woman”, and as this was be the last time the show would perform, both sang a medley of songs, which included “Steal Your Rock  ‘N’ Roll”, “Underground”, “Radio”, and “Love Will Stand When All Else Falls”.

Cast of Memphis: Kevin Massey & Dan’yelle Williamson

Next was Sister Act, currently playing at the Broadway Theatre until August 26, 2012, and is based on the movie of the same name. Standby Rashidra Scott, along with ensemble members Alena Watters, Lael Van Keuren performed two songs: “Fabulous, Baby!” and “Sister Act”.

Cast of Sister Act (from left to right): Alena Watters, Rashidra Scott & Lael Van Keuren

The final performance of the afternoon was Ghost the Musical, currently playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, and is based on the movie of the same name (and interestingly enough both Sister Act and Ghost the Musical both have Whoopi Goldberg in common).Leads Richard Fleeshman, Caissie Levy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph performed three songs: Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy sang “Here Right Now”, Richard Fleeshman sang a guitar-rich version of “Unchained Melody” (and had some initial technical difficulty with his guitar) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph sang “I’m Outta Here”.

Cast of Ghost the Musical: Richard Fleeshman, Caissie Levy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph

I don’t recall when the Broadway in Bryant Park concert series began, but it’s another great (free) way to listen and see a sample of shows that are currently on Broadway (though three of this week’s five shows are scheduled to close within the next two months)*. Sometimes upcoming shows are also included in the series, which gives those shows an opportunity to present a sample of what is to come next season. It’s also a great way to spend a lunch hour listening to great theatre actors sing great songs.

*Updated 07/24/2012 – It was announced that Ghost the Musical would be closing August 18, 2012.

It Started Out Like A Song: The Merrily We Roll Along CD Signing at Barnes & Noble – July 10, 2012

In the age of digital downloads, streaming audio, and mp3 players, purchasing a music CD from a physical store is almost an archaic thing to do – after all, hardly anyone carries around a portable CD player anymore, and CDs can generally hold up to 120 minutes of music per disc. Most mp3 players can hold up to (at least) ten times the amount of music a single CD can, and are much smaller. So why have music CDs (and the few stores that still sell CDs) not phased out entirely? One possible reason is the event that is the CD signing – where fans can have the opportunity to meet their favorite composers, musicians and singers and obtain (with purchase of the CD) their autograph.

I’ve attended several such events, most recently the CD signing for the 2012 Encores production of Merrily We Roll Along at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on the Upper East Side, for which composer Stephen Sondheim, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick and the principal cast members would be signing the newly released CD. As Stephen Sondheim is one of the greatest musical theatre composers (and some would argue he is the greatest musical theatre composers of all time), the CD signing event would draw a substantial crowd. Indeed, there had been a CD signing at the same Barnes & Noble bookstore for the recent revival of Follies seven months previously, which drew large crowds as well, but then again considering that the entire Follies cast was in attendance for that event, which included noted musical theatre actors such Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein and Ron Raines (to name but a few), along with Mr. Sondheim, it’s no wonder the store was overflowing with musical theatre fans. But that tale is for another blog. This blog is about the Merrily We Roll Along CD signing.

Merrily We Roll Along is about the trials and tribulations of three friends over the years, and told backwards in time – the Encores series (which puts on lesser known musicals in a short amount of time with a cast of well-known musical theatre actors) had the production of Merrily in February 2012, and the audience response and regard for that production had prompted requests for an official cast recording. The Barnes & Noble CD signing event also included a pre-event listening party and raffle drawing, so I made a point to be at the bookstore early to ensure a spot for the pre-event portion. I arrived at the Barnes & Noble early, and saw that there were already a handful of people already waiting outside for the bookstore to open. By the time it opened at 9AM there was at least a dozen people behind me (though I’m guessing some were waiting in line for the bookstore to open, and were not there for the CD signing).

Once the doors opened, the majority of the people waiting headed straight for the music section and dutifully bought a copy (or two – the limit was two per person) of the CD, and along with that came the (green) wristband for entry to the pre-signing listening party. After purchasing my CD, I made my way to the lower level, where the listening party and CD signing would take place and (as my wont) made myself comfortable just outside the doors (so I’d be the first in line). The great thing about having a CD signing in a bookstore is that you could pass the time reading books, and luckily for me, the genre of books situated on the shelves outside the event area were mystery and science fiction/fantasy. Not that I did get around to reading any of them – often at these events, I will strike up conversations with those also waiting in line, usually fellow theatre fans (and more times than not, I will have met them at previous CD signings). Not a bad way to spend a morning and afternoon. As the day went on, the line grew longer, to the point that the store employees had to weave the line between the bookshelves (so as to not obstruct those looking to purchase books).

A view from outside the event room.

At around 2:45PM we were instructed to enter the event room (single file) for the pre-event listening party, which was a first for me, as there would usually be either a performance from the cast members or Q&A session with the actors or composer; each person was also given a raffle ticket for the prize drawing that was to occur afterwards. The listening party basically consisted of those in the room listening to the first (of two) CDs of the cast recording, which was a bit odd, as there were some people chatting (in sotto voice) with one another, and others reading the newspaper or using their smartphones. The raffle prizes consisted of four items – signed copies of Mr. Sondheim’s books of annotated lyrics Finishing the Hat, and Look, I Made a Hat, a signed copy of the Folles cast recording, and a copy of the Merrily We Roll Along cast recording. The winning raffle tickets were drawn by Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of the cast members of Merrily (and an award-winning composer himself) – I did not win any of these prizes.

Then the event formally began with a brief introduction and the appearance of principal cast members Celia Keenan-Bolger, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Grupper, Beth Wolfe and Elizabeth Stanley (Colin Donnelly, another principal cast member, was unable to attend the CD signing in person due to a prior commitment, but was still present, albeit via Skype on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smartphone) and then the introduction of Mr. Sondheim and orchestrator Jonathan Tunick. After the brief photo-op for the (theatre) press, the CD signing part of the event began, with the actors and Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Tunick seated at the table, signing the libretto booklet (and each person had an assigned space to sign to ensure consistency).

From left to right: Jonathan Tunick, Stephen Sondheim, Betsy Wolfe, Elizabeth Stanley, Adam Grupper, Celia Keenan-Bolger & Lin-Manuel Miranda (with Colin Donnelly via Skype)

The line up for the signing was conducted in an orderly fashion (I was first in line), and the libretto booklet was signed and passed along down the table. Unlike my boldness in chatting with actors at the stage door, I remained relatively quiet as the libretto booklet was passed down; of course I was polite and thanked them all for signing the booklet. Organized as the event was, once Mr. Sondheim (to whom I especially thanked), who was last, but never least, signed the booklet, we were politely ushered out of the event room, so that there would not be a bottleneck. As I left the event room, I saw that there was still a good amount of people lined up along the bookshelves (there were probably about 30-40 people seated for the listening party).

As I am one of those who use an mp3 player to play music, I had to wait until I got home to listen to the rest of the cast recording (and to re-listen to the first act). The cast recording is amazing and does capture the essence of the Encores production, of which I was able to see during its short run. While it is possible to download a digital copy, the libretto booklet is not (to my knowledge) available to download, so it is well worth to invest in buying the physical CD, for the liner notes as well as the wonderful photos of the cast; and although it may be less expensive to purchase the digital download versus the actual CD, the value of having a physical copy (and an autographed one at that) is priceless.

Climbed The Ladder Up To Fortune And Fame: Spending the Afternoon at Jersey Boys – July 8, 2012

Spending an afternoon in a superbly air-conditioned theatre seeing a play or musical is quite possibly one of the best ways to beat the summer heat and humidity and be thoroughly entertained at the same time. The post-July 4th weekend (as opposed to the pre-July 4th weekend, as July 4, 2012 awkwardly fell on a Wednesday, the middle of a work week and on a matinée day) was especially hot and humid. As I made my way to TKTS in Duffy Square, I saw that, again, just about every Broadway show (aside from the few that are never there, and the ones that are dark on Sundays). I also noticed the vastly long lines for both the general and express play lines and I didn’t feel like waiting out in the middle of (a shade-less) Times Square, and unlike the last time I was at TKTS, I knew exactly which show I wanted to see: Jersey Boys.

So I made my way to the August Wilson Theatre and saw that there was already about a dozen people waiting under the marquee for the box office to open to purchase tickets; thankfully, I had brought along a printout of a discount code valid only for the 4th of July week. Needless to say, it came in handy, as the conversation with the Box Office Ticket Lady (BOTL) went something like this:

Me (showing the BOTL the printout of the discount code): What seats can I get using this discount code?

BOTL (typing on the computer keys): How many tickets?

Me: Just one.

BOTL (still typing): There’s a seat in the first row orchestra center…

Me: I’ll take it.

And that’s how I got to see Jersey Boys for the first time – from the first row orchestra center, which came as a total surprise, as those seats are usually held for the student rush. It was also my first time seeing a show at the August Wilson Theatre (previously known as the Virginia Theatre). Jersey Boys tells the tale of the origins, rise and almost inevitable implosion of The Four Seasons – Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi – each member taking turns addressing the audience to tell their side of the story. I’m not so sure why I had not seen this show sooner, (it’s been on Broadway for over five years now) but the impetus to see it now was prompted by the return of John Lloyd Young, who originated the role of Frankie Valli, to the cast. While I was familiar with most of the more famous songs, “Sherry”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)” etc. but I wasn’t really a fan. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and learned a bit too: for instance, I didn’t know that Joe Pesci (“yeah that Joe Pesci – who knew?”, as Tommy DeVito says in the show)  had, according to the narrative, played an early, integral role in the formation of the group.

As the signs in the lobby proclaimed (rather humorously), “Flashing strobe lights, loud gunfire and authentic, profane Jersey vocabulary are special effect used in this production of Jersey Boys”, there was an abundance of profanity, one instance of loud gunfire and some flashing strobe lights during the show.

Well, at least we were warned ahead of time.

There was not too much by way of scenic design – props and set pieces were brought on and off stage, and there was no visible orchestra pit, as the musicians were onstage. The current cast was amazing, especially John Lloyd Young was astounding, with a voice that has an uncanny knack of sounding almost exactly like Frankie Valli, and another standout performance was from understudy Miles Aubrey as Nick Massi, the self-proclaimed “Ringo” of the group (which got a good amount of rolling laughter from the audience near the end of the show) – who spent much of the duration of the show in the background, not saying too much, until a pivotal scene in the second act where he lets out a lengthy tirade that surely must have been bottled up for too long. Seeing the show right in the first row of the orchestra was quite a treat, though a bit of a strain on the neck (but nevertheless worth it) – from that vantage point, I could see all the raw emotion conveyed on their faces, see the creases in their suits, and even smell the hairspray and see the sweaty brows and spit spray flying  across the stage (and thankfully not towards the audience).

The stage door experience was great, as always – interestingly, the metal barricades were placed very close to the stage door itself (usually the metal barricades are at least two feet or so away from the door.). There was a good amount of theatre goers waiting at the stage door for the cast to come out; I was fortunate enough to meet all four of the main leads, who were all friendly and signed playbills and posed for photos. There was much cheering when John Lloyd Young emerged from the stage door (with copies of his brand new album “My Turn”, which he insisted everyone who posed for photos with him to hold in said photo.

Me and the Jersey Boys (clockwise from top left): Andy Karl, Quinn VanAntwerp, John Lloyd Young [with me holding a copy of his new CD] & Miles Aubrey

I’ve downloaded his songs from iTunes and they are amazing. John Lloyd Young will be in Jersey Boys until September 30th, so if you live in New York City or plan to visit during the summer, I highly recommend catching his performance (and getting a copy of his CD, which he will gladly sign). All in all it was quite an eventful and entertaining way to end my weekend.

Signed playbill (note that each of the actors who played the Four Seasons signed where their character is standing)

 

Early Morning Madness and the Magic in the Making: Explaining How My Love for Sunset Boulevard Created the Minskoff Theatre Curse

Speaking the actual name of the Scottish Play in a theater when not performing it. The presence of ghost lights on stage. Not wishing someone “good luck” before a performance. Over the course of theatrical history, there have been superstitions and stories of strange, inexplicable occurrences that have defied logic. Some may dismiss them as coincidence, while others may believe them to be fabricated or embellished; then there are those few who wholeheartedly believe in such things and adhere to the rules around how to ward off bad luck, to appease the ghostly figures that inhabit several Broadway theatres and also the Gods of the Theatre. I never really believed in all that, I thought it had to be sheer coincidence or just mischief-making to propel the veracity of such stories. The evoking of the Minskoff Curse, and the subsequent events that happened made me realize how wrong I was, and even though fifteen (!) years has passed since the Curse was first uttered, its lingering presence remains intact (albeit altered), making its home at the Marquis Theatre.

Before I impart the tale of the Minskoff Theatre Curse, a bit of exposition is required. First of all, for any of this to make any sense, I must mention that Sunset Boulevard is one my favorite musicals, and is in fact ranked third in my list of all-time favorite [excluding revivals] musicals that I have seen live on stage, (after Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera). I would listen to the cast recordings constantly, and talk about so much to the point that my nickname amongst my high school friends was (and still is) Norma. Sunset Boulevard was the first Andrew Lloyd Webber musical I aware of and followed in its development from the West End to Los Angeles to Broadway (I became aware of Phantom after the show already arrived on Broadway, and Aspects of Love seemed to have opened and closed relatively in short order) and I had also seen and enjoyed the 1950 Billy Wilder film. I still hold out hope that the musical will be made into a movie musical, but considering the recent Hollywood movies based on musicals, most with pretty, young bankable movie stars for the most part can’t do justice to the source material, I should know better. But then again the upcoming movie musical of Les Miserables gives me hope that casting of such projects should have trained actors who have some theatre experience.

But I digress.

Sunset certainly had its share of (presumably) unintended drama off-stage, particularly with its leading ladies. Glenn Close, having played faded movie star Norma Desmond in the American premiere production in Los Angeles, being slated to star on Broadway, despite the fact that Patti LuPone had been promised that honor (LuPone subsequently sued Lloyd Webber over this breach of promise); Faye Dunaway, who was to replace Close in the Los Angeles production was basically fired from the production for not being up to snuff to play the part (she also sued Lloyd Webber). So, even before the show reached Broadway, there was trouble brewing. Nevertheless, Sunset reached Broadway in 1994 with the largest advance tickets sales at the time, the critical reviews were for the most part favorable, and won the appropriate awards. Despite these accolades, the show was not a financial success, considering the production costs associated with the exorbitant sets and lavish costumes, which were amazing. I was only able to see the Broadway production three times (and the second US tour production once), as I was still in high school at the time of the production with little disposable income of my own, and there were not as many discounts for young theater-goers as there are now (had there been the programs and discounts for teens they have now back then, I would certainly have seen the show and many others…).

But I digress.

Again.

While I was unable to see Glenn Close as Norma Desmond, I did see Betty Buckley (twice) and Elaine Paige, who were both astounding. Most likely due to the high weekly production costs of the show, Sunset was also the first Lloyd Webber show of which I was aware to close (Phantom was and is still running, and Cats was still around). I was absolutely livid and quite distressed when I read the news of its closing on March 22, 1997 adding insult to injury, in my opinion, since that day is also Lloyd Webber’s birthday. I soon organized a group outing with a bunch of my friends to see the show one last time on February 20, 1997 (I was unable to attend the final performance due to a school-related activity that required my attendance, which ended up not happening, but by the time I knew that it was too late to get to the final performance). Anyway, my friends and I were seated in the rear mezzanine of the theater, and I was cheering quite enthusiastically, to the point that my voice was quite hoarse by intermission and just about gone altogether by the end of the show, which was not particularly a good thing; that evening was also the very first time I waited at stage door for the actors (Elaine Paige in particular) to emerge. While we waited, we spotted Julie Andrews leaving the Marquis Theatre stage door across the street (she was in Victor/Victoria at the time) and waved at her (and she waved back!) and I organized my friends to be standing in the area between where the stage door and Ms. Paige’s car (yes, I was that determined to meet her). When she did emerge from the stage door and signed our playbills, I had to have one my friends tell her how I enjoyed her performance and ask her if I could have a photo with her, as I literally could not speak to her, which I found pretty embarrassing. Thankfully, I got to meet her again years later at a book signing for her memoir Memories and finally got to speak with her.

My Sunset playbill, signed by Elaine Paige

Me and Elaine Paige, February 20, 1997 (I have no idea who the couple behind me were, but at least they’re smiling too!)

By the time we left the stage door, it was already past midnight, so we all headed to the subway to get home. If memory serves, it was during this subway ride home when I thought up of what will later be known as the Minskoff Theatre Curse, and a complex and specific curse it was. Here’s how it went: I had evoked that no musical that went into the Minskoff Theatre after Sunset that had the letter “S” in its title (either upper or lower case) would last more than three years there, as Sunset ran for just about two and a half years (don’t bother asking me how I did it – that is knowledge that can be dangerous if placed in the wrong hands). Now here’s where things get uncanny and made think that it was more than coincidence:

  • The next musical to play at the Minskoff Theatre was The Scarlet Pimpernel, which had problems of its own – the production played for about a year and a half (two different versions were presented) before closing briefly and moving to the Neil Simon Theatre, where it played under a year before the show closed for good.
  • The next musical to play at the Minskoff Theatre was Saturday Night Fever, which ultimately played a little over a year before closing.
  • The next musical to play at the Minskoff Theatre was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which only played less than a month, and interestingly enough, the marquee for that production stayed up longer than the production was open.

The Minskoff Theatre remained vacant for several months after The Adventures of Tom Sawyer closed, and it is at this point in time I’m convinced that the mythical Gods of the Theatre took offense at my curse-making and decided to take punitive action. That they did and on a grand scale, for the next musical to play at the Minskoff Theatre was Dance of the Vampires, which marked the Broadway return of Michael Crawford, of whom (as mentioned in a previous blog) I have an avid fan. When I had read about this, I was both overjoyed and worried: delighted at the prospect of seeing Crawford act and sing on stage in a musical (I had seen him in concert a few years prior) and also anxious about that “s” in the show’s title and where the theatre in which the show was to reside. Needless to say, the Gods of the Theatre had relished their machinations, as Dance of the Vampires received the most hateful, negative reviews I have ever read, to the point that the “reviews” were more like personal attacks on Crawford himself rather than on the qualities of the production (or about the other actors). Despite these hateful critiques, the production ran for three months (nearly two of which were in previews) – I managed to see the show nine times: twice in previews and the rest after it opened, and was the first show I saw both the matinée and evening performance, albeit they were the final two performances. The show was (and still is) one of the best musical scores I’ve heard, and was thoroughly entertaining; and to see and hear Crawford onstage in character was a thrilling experience.

After Dance of the Vampires closed, I sought out a way to rescind the Curse and make things right again with the Gods of the Theatre. The opportunity came out roughly a year later, when the next musical to play at the Minskoff was a revival of Fiddler on the Roof, which, while has no “s” in its title, just so happened to be the very first Broadway musical I ever saw (as a school field trip in 1990). I took this as a sign and my opportunity to show my sincerity and remove the Curse. So I then made plans to book tickets for February 20, 2004 and to also to attend the performance with one of the friends who had also gone to see Sunset that night. The Curse was lifted that night (again, don’t ask what I had to do to lift the Curse – it’s not something that can be shared). Suffice to say it worked – Fiddler ran for roughly another year, and the next (and current) show to play at the Minskoff Theatre? The Lion King, which is destined to have a long, long run.

Normally, this would be where the story ends, but another curious thing happened: after the expulsion of the Minskoff Curse, it seems to have regrouped, dropped “the letter‘s’ in the title” component and moved into the closest theater from its prior home: the Marquis Theatre. For the musicals that have played at the Marquis Theatre that were not limited or seasonal productions ran less than two years:

  • La Cage aux Folles: November 2004 – June 2005
  • Woman In White: October 2005 – February 2006
  • The Drowsy Chaperone: April 2006 – December 2007
  • Cry Baby:  March 2008 – June 2008
  • 9 to 5: April 2009 – September 2009
  • Come Fly Away: March 2010 – September 2010
  • Wonderland: March 2011 – May 2011

Currently at the Marquis Theatre is a revival production of Evita, which started its run in March 2012, so I’ll be closely watching to see how long this production runs, though there’s not too much I can do about this, as the phenomenon that currently occupies the Marquis is not the same Curse I had evicted from Minskoff. So I ask you, is this all purely coincidence or is there perhaps something other-worldly that exists in the world of the Theatre? Well, believe what you will; needless to say I’m now more careful with my critiques and thoughts about the theatre and equally careful not to anger the Gods of the Theatre, lest I incur their wrath again. I’ve learned my lesson the hard way.

Update: I know I should have updated this sooner, as it has already been announced that Evita will be closing on January 26, 2013, which (interestingly enough) is also the same date as the 25th Anniversary of Phantom of the Opera. The next production to play the Marquis is the revival of Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll & Hyde, though that production is (as far as it has been reported) scheduled to be a limited run, so it’s safe from this “curse”.