The Broadway production of “Frozen” will not reopen when Broadway resumes, Disney Theatrical Productions announced Thursday.
Disney Theatrical says the closure is “a result of the industry-wide shutdown and resulting economic fallout,” citing the difficulty of reopening with three productions on Broadway. The production, which opened at the St. James Theatre on March 22, 2018, played 825 performances and 26 previews upon its final performance on March 11.
The news comes as Broadway shows will remain closed through at least Sept. 6., with many producers eyeing a reopening date in 2021. Many non-profit productions had already shifted production dates to next season and “MJ” and “Plaza Suite” recently announced rescheduled dates to March 2021. Two commercial productions, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” and “Hangmen” have already announced closure.
This is the first long-running production to announce closure, and a highly valued property in the Broadway landscape. The St. James Theatre was remodeled to accommodate the musical, which has a reported capitalization between $25 million and $30 million.
A month before the shutdown, Disney Theatrical revamped the production, implementing a new song, structural changes and choreography, alongside a new cast.
The musical regularly grossed about $1 million and maintained high attendance. However, its ticket prices slid from highs of $150 to under $100, and the show was subject to a highly seasonal audience.
All Broadway shows face an uncertain timeline for return, as well as the financial pressures of maintaining and remounting their shows. And with uncertainty surrounding the audience size and numbers upon returning, Disney Theatrical said it could not sustain “Frozen” alongside its other two other more profitable Broadway shows, “Aladdin” and “The Lion King.”
“In the summer of 2013 when ‘Frozen’ began its road to Broadway two things were unimaginable: that we’d soon have five productions worldwide, and a global pandemic would so alter the world economy that running three Disney shows on Broadway would become untenable,” Thomas Schumacher, president and producer Disney Theatrical Productions, said in the press release.
“Frozen’s” North American tour is still scheduled to continue performances, and productions in Australia, the UK, Japan and Germany are scheduled to open by 2021.
The closure of the long-running show, alongside the already announced closures, worried members of the industry, with Actors’ Equity calling it a “all hands on deck moment” for government officials.
“Decisions made in the days and weeks ahead will shape the future of the arts sector for years to come. Public officials at all levels must think much more boldly about supporting the arts or our entire economy will be slower to recover,” said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association.