Despite Turnaround, ‘Beetlejuice’ Being Forced Out of Theater

The $21 million musical will be hoping for a new home after the Shubert Organization made way for Hugh Jackman and ‘The Music Man.’

Comments: 25

  1. Scott Rudin - what a shocker.

  2. @JayNYC - It's fascinating that for years, Scott Rudin has had "exposé after exposé" written about him that he treated his assistants terribly, firing someone by throwing him out of the car in one story. Unless qualified people are masochists (I assume they're not), It became clear to everyone applying to work there: You have many places you can send your resume, and anyone who reads Page Six, is on clear notice as you apply that he treats people this way and you WILL likely have a tense exciting job just a few months. And yet, so many highly qualified people vie for those few months working for him. At some point long ago, they knew and still wanted their time. Maybe for someone who really knows their stuff, it's both a thrill ride and a place where they learn as much as they can while they can. (It feels analogous to the stories from Amy Klobuchar's office, so people now apply knowing what awaits, a boss saying everything bad is "the worst ever" - but I guess they still apply because of the times when it clicks.)

  3. Spent over $2k to come to NYC from DC for two days one night to see Beetlejuice. Will not even bother for ANOTHER revival.

  4. I won't be seeing another rehash of The Music Man, that's for certain, with or without Hugh Jackman. Best of luck to Beetlejuice.

  5. Like it or not, Broadway theater is a business first and foremost. Just look at ticket prices.

  6. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this has been a potential booking problem from the very beginning. I thought the original Sunday ad for THE MUSIC MAN ( in the Sunday NY Times back in September) listed the show originally for the Broadhurst, since MOCKINGBIRD at the Shubert would be occupied ad infinitum, especially depending on whether Ed Harris ( and the show itself) would continue to generate big ticket sales after Jeff Daniels left the show. Business there is still boffo, so MOCKINGBIRD is staying put. Also, maybe the Shuberts will adopt a wait and see situation--assuming that JAGGED LITTLE PILL might not fully catch on, so BEETLEJUICE could go into the Broadhurst in July. But it's too soon to tell. Maybe ego is calling: the Winter Garden theatre (with the worst partial view sight lines in that U-shaped mezzanine) is on a city block by itself, so Hugh Jackman will have one huge, street long billboard on Broadway all to himself, instead of a smaller marquee in the middle of West 44th Street in Shubert Alley.

  7. @Robert - regarding "the Winter Garden theatre (with the worst partial view sight lines in that U-shaped mezzanine)" And yet, that turned out to be great for seeing the staging of "Rocky," when the stage got extended into the audience. If Bette Midler on that walkway commanded $990 to be close to her in "Hello Dolly" for the title number, "Shipoopi" might as well be rewritten as "$hipoopi" already if they can get Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster out on a ramp. ( I like to think of that insane "Dolly" pricing as subsidizing the risks of "Shuffle Along," and helping investors recover from financial loss on "Carousel" that no one could have imagined). I'm sure the street-long billboard is not Hugh Jackman's ego, but marketing thinking. There's that old line by Gloria Steinem that now this is what 50 looks like. In Hugh Jackman's case, I guess that area blessed him along with his acting chops and other talents he was just born with, and that's what 51 looks like - he can get away with playing it as 35 or 40; how that works with Mrs. Paroo being the mother of both Marian and the 10-year-old Winthrop could be OK since Sutton Foster seems ageless, too.

  8. This is not the first time this contractual clause has been used against a show that had regained its footing.

  9. I saw Beetlejuice in DC during the previews and was not impressed. It was okay but nothing to write home about. I've been a bit bemused at the success we've though I heard they did fix some of the issues I observed in the DC preview. That said, it is highly unfortunate they are being swept aside by something that is a safer - potentially - revenue stream.

  10. Just say "Beetlejuice!" three times, and it'll reappear.

  11. Broadway is becoming like a high school drama club: recycling the same six or seven musicals in rotation over and over and over again.

  12. Yet another overblown reworking of a popular 1980's film is nudged aside for yet another revival of a safe (if excellent) old musical. Whatever best encourages people to spend hundreds of their dollars on a single ticket. As prices climb, so do the stakes. Scenes like this one are the inevitable outcome of greed and creative bankruptcy.

  13. Smells like greed to me. I can only hope that the immense and impassioned fan base this show has garnered continues to express their dissatisfaction as loudly as possible. I hope it haunts Scott Rudin for the rest of his career.

  14. @James It won't haunt Scott Rudin. How can you be haunted if you have no soul?

  15. Another case of the rich kids throwing money around and getting their way-- which is usually tired, played out, and boring.

  16. Was it Scott Rudin who threatened little theaters who had gotten permission to do an earlier version of To Kill A Mockingbird with a law suit if they went ahead with their productions ? And hadn't some of these theaters already built their sets and sold tickets and having to close lost a lot of money? He was worried about competition with his big Broadway show. And was it not rumored that that is why his version never was nominated for a Tony?

  17. @cheerful dramatist - regrading "And was it not rumored that that is why his version never was nominated for a Tony?" But to was also suggested in the reader comments back then that the nominators were not holding that against Scott Rudin himself, since he himself had four Tony nominations that same year. With the Best Play nominees being Choir Boy, The Ferryman, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, Ink, and What the Constitution Means to Me, since "Network" also wasn't nominated for Best Play, Maybe this particular nominating group decided not to nominate what were distinguished adaptations of famous work. I think they actually talk and bargain over these. It must take a rocket scientist to find a time when that whole list of nominators can be in the same room; maybe some are there on Skype or speakerphone. Also, my guess is they as a group didn't want "Gary..." to be forgotten, maybe even encourage more like that. So whatever anyone thought, leaving Scott Rudin out was not possible without also leaving out Taylor Mac. However harsh (to use a gentle word fro the manner) this producer is in maximizing profit, look at the risks his investors seem to be willing to take (so much inclusive work going way back!) to be in on the big successes. Even with "Waverly Gallery," they had to have known going in that there was not going to be a lot of profit since it was star-driven.

  18. Well, a contract is a contract. But to use grosses from May to trigger a stop clause when the show is doing well now is a little sneaky.

  19. Possibly the Broadway Theatre will become available in June which would be perfect for Beetlejuice.

  20. @Michael - Of course, right now "Music Man" creatives may be convinced they need the Winter Garden empty for three months before their first preview to be safe, but as time gets near, unless they're doing construction, they may be able to give "Beetlejuice" another month before it was to move - or maybe another theater will just become available earlier, as often seems to happen after Tony nominations, and "Beetlejuice" can grab it then. (They could also possibly have the re-design ready for the needs of their national tour, which might allow them to use a smaller house - and as Broadway saw with "Book of Mormon" and off-Broadway "Little Shop" is seeing, sometimes having fewer seats available actually helps demand.) PS. this news, just before the holidays, has gotten lots of tourists who might not have realized the extent to which "Beetlejuice" is now an audience favorite, people who might not even have thought they really should see it will now want to see it. - and that's got to be great for their earnings in the holiday rush. (Any chance announcing this now rather than January was asked for? Mr. Rudin never seems to mind looking like the bad guy as long as he gets to put on the art he wants to put on. But - Nah, Broadway people wouldn't do anything like that, LOL.)

  21. Loved “Beetlejuice”. Would never, ever go to antiquated boring “Music Man.” Never.

  22. @MIMA Have you ever seen "Music Man?"

  23. I don't understand the reason for this article. It's simply the way Broadway does business. There's no "ouster" here; nor is it an "eviction". Beetlejuice's lease is up in June and the theater owner has found another show to rent the venue. This is how it's always been and always will be. The theater owner has no obligation to retain the tenant once the lease term is finished. The fact is imply that the landlord has identified a replacement tenant that may prove more beneficial to the owner. Why report this as any different than any other commercial lease? That's all it is.

  24. @George Yeah, well you obviously have no idea how Broadway works. Beetlejuice's lease was NOT up in June. The show went under their stop clause amount in April/May. If the Shuberts wanted to trigger the clause and oust the show, that's when they should have done it. But no...they waited 6 months until the show turned around financially and then said "Oh by the way, remember when you went under the stop clause amount 6 months ago? We're going to trigger it now. Buh-bye." That is not a "your lease is up in June and we're not going to extend it" situation, it's a "Well, Scott Rudin has a show with Hugh Jackman and instead of moving Scott's (admittedly) successful play to another house (with sets and tech that are FAR more easier to transfer to another house), we're going to boot you...maybe we'll have another house for you, but it's going to cost megabucks for you to move" situation. It didn't have to be this way and everyone who actually works in the Broadway industry knows it.

  25. Not a very good musical.