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David Byrne-Fatboy Slim musical ‘Here Lies Love’ to close after poor ticket sales

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s Broadway musical Here Lies Love is to close later this month, due to low ticket sales.

The production, which depicts the life of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, is based on the two musicians’ 2010 concept album, debuted on stage in 2013 and began its current Broadway run in June this year.

Deadline reports that the final performance will take place on November 26. It will have played a total of 33 previews and 149 regular performances at the Broadway Theatre.

Fatboy Slim – CREDIT: Getty

The report continues that the show failed to attain a sufficiently high level of ticket sales to justify its relatively high weekly operating costs, which required the theatre to extensively renovate its setup to accommodate the show’s dance club setting.

In a statement, the show’s producers said: “When we started this journey to bring this bold and original work to Broadway, we asked ourselves: Can anyone produce on Broadway in a new way? Is there a new path forward? What does the template look like? Will audiences want something radically new? Who will those audiences be?”

“We have learned a great deal about the answers to those questions. Yes, new ways can work. Artistic excellence can be achieved. But the reality is, succeeding on Broadway means not only producing excellent work with artistic merit––it also means creating the audience for it. And how much time it takes to find and grow new audiences is out of sync with the tight timeframes for audience-building and awareness.”

“As an artistic, cultural, and commercial enterprise, we believe that Here Lies Love had to be presented on Broadway. We hope anyone who hasn’t seen the production will be able to get to the show before November 26.”

The production is estimated to have cost a total of $22 million (£17.9 million), but for the week ending November 5, only 79% of seats were filled, grossing just over $750,000 (£610,000). Last month, The Washington Post reported that the show cost $700,000 per week.

Before this current run, the show had been staged at London’s National Theatre, receiving three Olivier nominations, before moving to Seattle in 2017.

NME attended a preview of the Broadway incarnation in July, describing how the theatre had been “transformed into a retro club, with the orchestra converted into a standing-room-only nightclub under a towering mirror ball and fuchsia neon lights in homage to Studio 54”.

Before previews began, the show had already been courting controversy, when Broadway’s musicians union filed a complaint that the show was opting not to use a live band, in an effort to pay tribute to authentic DJ culture. It was later revealed by the New York Times that the producers reached a deal to use 12 live musicians.

Last month, Fatboy Slim confirmed details of a UK and Ireland headline tour that will kick off in June 2024.

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