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Huey Lewis Musical to Close on Broadway as New Shows Struggle

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Huey Lewis Musical to Close on Broadway as New Shows Struggle
Huey Lewis Musical to Close on Broadway as New Shows Struggle

“The Heart of Rock and Roll,” a new jukebox musical powered by the songs of Huey Lewis and the News, will close on Broadway on Sunday.

The show is the second to announce plans to close in the wake of this year’s Tony nominations, joining “Lempicka” on the list of productions that could not find an audience during this jam-packed spring. “The Heart of Rock and Roll” opened on April 22 to better-than-expected reviews, but picked up zero Tony nominations. The show will have played 24 previews and 72 performances.

During a very crowded period on Broadway, the show was unable to break through: It grossed $272,051 in the week ending June 9, which is not nearly enough to cover the running costs of a full-size Broadway musical.

“The Heart of Rock and Roll” is a freewheeling romantic comedy about a young man (played by Corey Cott) working at a Milwaukee cardboard factory but feeling the tug of his old band and developing a crush on the boss’s daughter (McKenzie Kurtz). The show, directed by Gordon Greenberg, features a witty book by Jonathan A. Abrams and even wittier choreography by Lorin Latarro; there was a pre-Broadway production at the Old Globe in San Diego in 2018.

The musical, playing at the James Earl Jones Theater, features multiple Huey Lewis and the News hits, including “The Power of Love” and “Do You Believe in Love” as well as the title song. Huey Lewis, now 73, remains a nostalgic favorite for fans of 1980s culture, and he threw himself into promoting the show.

The lead producers are Tyler Mitchell, Hunter Arnold and Kayla Greenspan; it was capitalized for up to $19 million, according to a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, and that money has not been recouped.

The closing comes at a challenging time for Broadway, where production costs have risen and attendance has fallen since the coronavirus pandemic. There are now 32 shows running on Broadway, and many of them are losing money each week.

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