The Capeman, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's roundly panned stab at theater, will close March 28 after only a two-month run, producers announced Thursday--a move that will likely plunder Simon and partners' $11 million investment.
(The musical version of Big was a history-making $10 million loser when it detonated in 1996.)
It was thought that the troubled show would try to hang on for this spring's Tony Awards, where Simon's lauded salsa/doo-wop score and stars Ruben Blades, Marc Anthony and Ednita Nazario would probably score high-profile nominations.
But lately, the show's weekly grosses were down to about $400,000--or about $60,000 less than the budget to keep the production running each week.
The cast wept when told of the closure, the New York Post reports.
"What I enjoyed the most, apart from the creative process, was the intensity with which the audience--in particular, Latino audiences--responded to the play," Simon said, in a statement.
What Simon could not have enjoyed were the reviews and the box office--both of which were terrible. The morning after its January 29 opening, the New York Times declared the show "a mortally wounded animal," and the death watch was on.
In truth, the musical--based on the life of Salvador "The Capeman" Agron, a notorious New York City crime figure who, in 1959, at age 16, knifed to death two teenagers--had been pegged as a bomb-in-the-waiting for months.
There was trouble behind the scenes (the show's credited director and choreographer were nowhere to be seen by the time the thing opened), and there was trouble in front of the theater, where protesters occasionally gathered to call Simon to task for putting a killer's name in lights.
"I'm thrilled that it's closing," said Nancy Ruhe-Munch of the support group, Parents of Murdered Children, on Friday.
Ruhe-Munch added that she hopes her members' vocal efforts played a small part in dooming The Capeman.
Simon, who resisted making contact with families of the Capeman's real-life victims, said his show wasn't about murder, but about redemption. As it played, critics and audiences saw a play that was "disjointed" and "scattershot" (Daily Variety).
After closing, the show will live on as a cast album and possibly a concert tour, producers said.
The Capeman is Broadway's second mega-expensive flop of the season. Side Show, a musical about Siamese twins, lost about $7 million when it split in January.