I wrote this blog post weeks ago on April 10 2015, the day Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown announced it was extending its original booking period from 9 May to 22 August 2015, when it would then close at the Playhouse Theatre. I suspected this it had been done as a marketing ploy to lead the public to believe the show was selling so well that it was extending its run. Today, 23 April, the show has announced that it will now close much earlier than originally planned on 23 May 2015.
When a show announces it is extending its booking period, it gives a (sometimes false) sense of security to the public that the show is selling well and so it must be worth spending money on a ticket to see.
This isn’t the first time this has happened in the West End. Viva Forever – the Spice Girls Musical originally opened in November 2012 and was booking until June 2013. In March 2013 the show announced it was extending its booking period by an amazing eight months (leading audiences to believe it was selling well and worth going to see). Sadly, just two months later, the show announced it would close at the end of June (around the same time it was originally booking up until).
Tim Rice’s latest musical From Here to Eternity opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre at the end of September 2013 and two months later announced it would close in April 2014. The show hung on for as long as it could but eventually closed a month earlier than planned in March 2014.
Around the same time as From here to Eternity, 3 December 2013, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Stephen Ward opened at the Aldwych Theatre and was originally booking until 1 March 2014. Despite then announcing the show would extend until 31 May 2014 it ended up closing just after the original closing date of 29 March 2014 (the same date as From Here To Eternity).
Shows announcing short extensions do not always mean they are doomed and will close. It can sometimes be a clever way to keep shows constantly in the media. The Book of Mormon for instance sells very well but regularly announces booking extensions of just one month. This gives them something to shout about in newspaper adverts and on billboards and keeps the buzz alive for the show. But sometimes when shows announce extensions like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown did, it sends alarm bells ringing as a cry for help. Sadly, it doesn’t look like anyone answered.
West End Wilma