In a surprise turn of event’s Disney’s Broadway production of Frozen has become theatre’s first long-running casualty of the global COVID-19 pandemic and industry shutdown.
Producers announced the production would not return to The Great White Way when theatre’s re-open “as a result of the industry-wide shutdown and resulting economic fallout.”
Frozen opened on 22 March 2018 at the St James Theatre, and played its final performance on 11 March 2020, having played 825 performances and 26 previews. Directed by Michael Grandage, the show is based on the Disney animated film and features music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and book by Jennifer Lee.
Thomas Schumacher, President & Producer Disney Theatrical Productions said “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.
Over its two-year Broadway run, Frozen, which cost close to $35M to mount, grossed more than $150M, with total attendance topping 1.3M people. Despite often grossing 80-90% of its potential, Disney’s other two Broadway productions, The Lion King and Aladdin, consistently outperformed the show leading to Disney’ to choose this show to axe.
Disney does not disclose whether a show has recouped its investment, but the Frozen figures would not seem to suggest the musical had become profitable.
The Mouse House launched a North American tour of the show in November last year, which will resume performances when safe to do so, and has productions scheduled for the UK, Germany, Australia and Japan.