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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 08:39 GMT 09:39 UK
La Boheme to close on Broadway
La Boheme
The opera was sung in its traditional Italian
Hollywood director Baz Luhrmann's production of La Boheme is to close on Broadway after running up losses of $6m (3.5m).

Despite positive reviews the show will close on 29 June after a seven-month run.

Luhrmann's updating of the Puccini opera, switching the setting from the 1840s to Paris of the 1950s, was seen as a bold production for the largely traditional Broadway.

But audiences stayed away, leaving the theatre just over half full for some recent performances.

"We just didn't reach the suburban, traditional musical theatre-going audience," producer Jeffrey Seller said.

"We reached the cognoscenti, we reached the kids, we reached the Baz fans, we reached art lovers in New York City, particularly Manhattan."

Do a limited season, and you will be red hot
Jeffrey Seller, producer

Although it will close on Broadway, it is due to transfer to Los Angeles and London for limited runs in 2004.

The production cost upwards of $8m (4.7m) to stage and recouped about $2.5m (1.4m) of this during its run.

"What drew Catherine Martin and me to mount our production of La Boheme on Broadway was not only the challenge to make Puccini's most popular of operas more accessible to a broader audience, but also the opportunity to live and work in our second home, New York City, and to be part of the Broadway experience," said Luhrmann.


Luhrmann is currently in his native Australia directing a film about the life of Alexander the Great, starring Nicole Kidman and Leonardo Di Caprio.

Lurhmann wanted Broadway to experience opera

Critics largely praised La Boheme, although opera experts were less generous.

But Luhrmann had already said he wanted to move La Boheme from the opera traditionalists.

Sung in Italian, with English surtitles, the opera was seen as a sexy, youthful show.

"The lesson is: Go to the major cities and do a sit-down (engagement) but don't overstay your welcome," Mr Seller said.

"Do a limited season, and you will be red hot. And, Lord knows, we were hot for a time in New York."

La Boheme missed out on the best musical revival Tony Award at Sunday's ceremony.

But designer Catherine Martin, who is Luhrmann's wife, did win an award for her lavish sets, adding to her double Oscar triumph for Moulin Rouge.

The 10 cast members of La Boheme were also given a special ensemble award.

The announcement of its closure follows the news that The Play What I Wrote will end on 15 June after just three months.

Baz's Broadway opera
07 Oct 02  |  Entertainment
Luhrmann's inventive career
07 Feb 02  |  Oscars 2002
Glittering start for Baz's Boheme
09 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
UK play closes on Broadway
10 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Hairspray wins eight Tonys
09 Jun 03  |  Entertainment

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